News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by A Martínez
Airs Weekdays 2 to 3 pm
Arts & Entertainment

Jacki Weaver of 'Silver Linings Playbook' talks Philly, DeNiro and show biz

Jackie Weaver and Robert DeNiro star in
Jackie Weaver and Robert DeNiro star in "Silver Linings Playbook."
Silver Linings Playbook

Listen to story

Download this story 19MB

The new film "Silver Linings Playbook" has already pulled in a slew of Spirit Award nominations for best indie film, as well as early Oscar buzz from the New York Times blog and others.

Bradley Cooper stars as Pat Solitano, a man suffering from bipolar disorder who was just released from a mental hospital into the care of his parents, played by Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver. He meets an equally troubled woman, Tiffany, played by Jennifer Lawrence, and the two develop a rocky friendship as she tries to help him reconnect with his estranged wife.

Weaver is somewhat of a new face in Hollywood, but the veteran Australian actress has spent 50 years in front of the camera. She's perhaps best known for her performance as a Mafia matriarch in the film "Animal Kingdom," which garnered her a Best Supporting Actress nomination.

Weaver joins the show to talk about "Silver Linings Playbook," working with Robert DeNiro and how she mastered the Philly accent. 

Interview Highlights:

On her role as Dolores in "Silver Linings Playbook":
"I think she's living in such a volatile household that part of her function is to keep the peace and keep everybody calm. With a husband who is obsessive compulsive and a son who's bipolar, and both of whom have serious anger management problems. I think she treads on eggshells and she's the peacemaker."

On how she mastered the Philly accent:
"That was what concerned me most. Being Australian, being able to be authentically Philadelphian. I had a great coach...who's a Philadelphian, plus the advantage of having Bradley Cooper a genuine Philadelphian. I met his uncle and I met his real-life mother, Gloria, from Philadelphia, so I had quite a bit of research going for me, plus the crew as well."

On working with Robert DeNiro:
"Acting with Robert DeNiro is nothing to be sniffed at. It's not that it wasn't a picnic, it was absolute joy, but he is an icon to not just my generation but everybody's generation. So there was a certain apprehension, but that disappeared within a few minutes because he's such a gentleman and so generous and sweet, and such a great actor. You're there acting with him and he's just another actor, but then you finish the take and you think, 'I just acted with Robert DeNiro!' You know they should have knighthoods in America, he would certainly be Sir Robert DeNiro, Lord of Greenwich Village."

On her acting style and working with director David O. Russell:
"Now and again actors aren't sure if I'm looking at them because I'm a little cross-eyed, so there's a terrible secret I've given away. David O. Russell is a very unusual character. He likes ensemble work, he had a handheld camera spinning around the room at all time so you cannot afford to relax. It's like being on stage you can't relax the whole time. To work with David O. Russell is to really step out of your comfort zone, not just for the young actors, but for the ones who have been around for years. It's terrifying, but its also brilliantly stimulating because its like being on stage and you're not quite sure what's going to happen next."

On how she uses her personal experiences to develop a character:
"In a love story and I think 'Silver Linings Playbook' is a very odd sort of love story on several levels, I think David O. Russell kept emphasizing that the Robert DeNiro character and my character, Dolores, are still very much in love after 40 years of marriage, and they're still very affectionate and sleep together and adore each other. The mother just loves her son so much and wants him to be well. So, everything that has happened in my life probably has contributed to my understanding and how I go about making a character work."

On what's next for her:
"I've just made a suspense thriller called 'Haunt' which is very scary. I also did another suspense thriller last year with Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska, two other Australians. Then I'm about to play another mother in a film called 'Parkland.' I'm playing Lee Harvey Oswald's mother, which is such an honor to be playing such an American role again. It's a story of JFK's assassination, told from the point of view of the doctors and staff in Parkland Hospital in Dallas, which in the space of 36 hours saw JFK come in and then Lee Harvey Oswald…At this really late stage in my career a whole lot of different things are happening to me, I can't believe my luck. 50 years last week I've been a professional actor."

Trailer for "Silver Linings Playbook:"