The Real Philadelphia Eagles Games Behind 'Silver Linings Playbook's' Football Obsession
This story first appeared in the Dec. 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
If Silver Linings Playbook continues its awards-season momentum, David O. Russell might want to learn the celebratory end-zone moves of DeSean Jackson before Oscar night. Between Bradley Cooper wearing the Eagles star's No. 10 jersey, Robert De Niro's Pat Sr. being banned from Lincoln Financial Field for life (it can happen) and Jennifer Lawrence's scene-stealing sports-geek monologue, Playbook features more football than ESPN. But don't expect to see busloads of Indian-American fans at games. The author of the original book, longtime Eagles fan Matthew Quick, says that was "completely fictionalized -- though I'd love to see that bus."
But how closely did the onscreen Eagles hew to real life? A major plotline hinges on a game against the Dallas Cowboys with the playoffs at stake. De Niro's character gambles big on the Eagles -- a twist that landed the film in hot water with the NFL and its network, which edited out an interview with stars Cooper and Chris Tucker from a Thanksgiving broadcast. "The segment was pulled because the movie included content related to gambling on NFL games," says a league rep. Harvey Weinstein cried censorship.
"The NFL is saying this is about gambling? They'd better see it," he told Reuters. In the movie, tension mounts with the teams tied 3-3. In real life, there was a tight 2008 game in which the Eagles beat the Cowboys to make the playoffs. But unlike the film, the Eagles won't have a happy ending in 2012: The team is lousy, and Jackson is injured. Where's the silver lining in that?