by Bennett Marcus, Vanity Fair
Robert De Niro didn't pick up any moves from watching his Silver Linings Playbook castmates Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence rehearse their dance routines for the film. But he was impressed by their stamina. "What I was thinking was, God, you know, Bradley and Jennifer have to work on that dancing, and they have to rehearse and practice, and it's work--it's physical work," De Niro told VF Daily at a Silver Linings cocktail party in New York. "They were tired, I know."
"And also, the only thing to their advantage was that they didn't have to be really good," De Niro added. "So that was great. It was just the right balance of not being really that great, but just kind of good and stumbling a little," he said, beaming.
De Niro has been lauded for his work in this movie, and, really, he proved he's a great actor, playing the Philadelphia Eagles fanatic Pat Sr. "I'm not into football," he said, chuckling. He likes tennis and a little basketball. His tennis game is "O.K.," but he prefers to watch a great game, with great players.
The midweek party, at Le Cirque in Manhattan, was part of the movie-awards promotional circuit, and De Niro, proud of the film, genially played host, greeting a slew of Hollywood types and old friends. We asked if the studio is dragging him to a lot of these meet-and-greets, and he shrugged good-naturedly and said, "A few of them. Not many, but a few."
The movie's director, David O. Russell, is refreshingly excited about the awards hoopla (unlike some people). "To do these things, I welcome it. I'm not cynical--I don't believe in cynicism," Russell told us. "I want to tell you that I am Mr. Guileless. So that's why my characters are guileless: Bradley and Jennifer are guileless heroes, and that's why I love them, because they make everybody cut the crap."
Russell also feels like he's at a great point in his career. "I'm preparing to shoot a movie in February with Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Jeremy Renner, and you get to a certain age where you hit a stride, and you find an area that works. And, you know, this is a companion, to me, of The Fighter, and I'm going to do it again in the next picture, and it's a blessing. So to be part of this, to be able to do the work, is a blessing."
Dr. Mehmet Oz also spoke at the party, addressing the mental-health issues raised in the movie, issues that have been brought to the forefront by the horror at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. Silver Linings Playbook, he says, uses humor to portray and to bring humanity to people struggling with such problems.
Dr. Oz also mentioned that he is originally from the Philadelphia area and an Eagles fan. His family loves to watch Eagles games, even though "they stink this year." "We call them 'the Beagles' because we don't expect them to win," he told us, which made us wonder--real Philadelphians call them "the Iggles."
More from Vanity Fair:
25 Years in the Life of Model Kate Moss
Lady Gaga, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston: Vanity Fair's Classic Nude Portraits
Royal Babies Photo Scrapbook
Vanity Fair's Exclusive Freaks and Geeks Reunion Photos