*Robert DeNiro’s Philadelphia Eagles-obsessed character in the new film “Silver Linings Playbook” is likely suicidal over his team’s current 6-game losing streak and last place 3-7 standing in the NFC East. But thankfully, he’s just a character from a movie – a concept that’s apparently lost on the real NFL.
DeNiro’s co-stars Chris Tucker and Bradley Cooper were supposed to promote the Weinstein Company film on last night’s “Rich Eisen Thanksgiving Special.” The segment was all approved, had finished pre-taping, and Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson even tweeted a photo with Cooper at a practice last week and made a video with quarterback Michael Vick about game-day superstitions inspired by De Niro’s character.
But no one got to see any of it, thanks to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, whose office abruptly told the NFL Network on Wednesday to scrap the entire segment – all because De Niro’s character is also a part-time bookie.
“The segment was pulled because the movie included content related to gambling on NFL games,” an NFL Media rep confirmed.
Until yesterday, the “Silver Linings” interview was promoted online with the above picture of Cooper, Tucker and Eisen. It was replaced on Thanksgiving by a picture of Eisen and another guest, John Slattery.
Weinstein said, “We are deeply disappointed in the NFL’s decision, and we are quite frankly surprised. Pulling a pretaped interview with our stars is nothing short of censorship . . . [‘Silver Linings’] is not a film about gambling in the NFL. It’s a film about fathers and sons and football bonding a family together.”
He added that he’s a football fan and that his wife, Georgina Chapman, designs clothes for NFL charities and works pro bono.
In the movie, De Niro’s character, Pat Solitano, Sr., has been banned from the stadium for punching out a Dallas Cowboys fan. He wears the vintage jersey of ruthless linebacker Bill Bergey (No. 66), a star of the “Gang Green” defense in the 1970s. Pat Sr.’s other obsessions: holding a lucky towel and requiring certain player jerseys to be worn during games, believing that individuals sitting in specific chairs bring the team good luck.
Below, director David O’Russell explains what drove De Niro’s character to become a bookie in the first place.
In theaters now, “Silver Linings Playbook” is about the redemption of Pat Solatano Jr. (Cooper), who returns home to live with his parents (De Niro and Jacki Weaver) after being institutionalized for eight months. He has problems controlling his moods; he had brutally punched out the guy who was having an affair with his wife. Pat’s family lives in a blue-collar Philly suburb and, like everyone else in the neighborhood is obsessed with the Eagles. Watch two clips with De Niro below.