The actor Buddy Duress, best known for starring alongside Robert Pattinson in the Safdie BrothersGood Time, has died at the age of 38.

The news was confirmed by his brother Christopher Stathis in a statement released to People yesterday (February 27), who confirmed that he died from a “cardiac arrest from a drug cocktail” in November 2023.

Duress made his acting debut in the Safdie Brothers’ previous film Heaven Knows What in 2014, after meeting Josh Safdie shortly after his release from Rikers Island prison in the Bronx, New York.

Duress, who was born Michael Stathis, met the director while he was on the run from a drug in-patient program at the institution, and completed the filming in 2013. By the time of the film’s premiere at the New York Film Festival in 2014, Duress had been caught by police and was back in Rikers Island.

“You know, I still look back at it. If I had went to that program, I wouldn’t have been in Heaven Knows What, and I probably wouldn’t be an actor right now. That’s the honest truth. I wouldn’t,” Duress later said.

After his subsequent release, Duress reconnected with the Safdies, who asked him to note his experiences down in a journal, which they later adapted into the script for 2017’s Good Time.

The film, which was picked up by the influential independent studio A24 and competed for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, starred Pattinson as a small-time criminal who tries to free his brother (Benny Safdie) from police custody, while attempting to avoid his own arrest. Duress played Ray, who becomes Pattinson’s character’s partner in crime as they try to retrieve a stash of LSD.

Duress’ other film roles included Person to Person (2017), Beware of Dog (2020) and Funny Pages (2022).

He is also set to star in the upcoming film Mass State Lottery later in 2024. The director, LowRes Wünderbred, paid tribute to Duress, writing: “This man was an absolute treasure. Without a doubt, Buddy Duress was one of the most entertaining people I’ve ever met and his stories were unrivaled. I remember seeing him in Good Time in 2017 and saying, ‘That is what the future of acting needs to be. That guy.’”

“He brought a certain authenticity and charisma to the screen that you just don’t see anymore. It was a dream to get him in Mass State Lottery, and I feel privileged to have been his director and his friend.”

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