By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com September 27, 2011 at 2:24AM
In all honesty, two years ago, few outside of Australia had heard of veteran actress Jacki Weaver. Indeed, while she worked on a number of seminal films at home in the 1970s, winning two Australian Film Institute Awards and turning up in Peter Weir's "Picnic At Hanging Rock," she'd been mostly absent from the screen since, focusing instead on stage work in Oz (most recently appearing alongside Cate Blanchett in "Uncle Vanya").
But then she was cast as fearsome matriarch Smurf in David Michôd's excellent crime thriller "Animal Kingdom," and things exploded; the film was widely lauded at its Sundance premiere at the start of 2010, and she picked up a host of awards attention, finally culminating in a much-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. And since then, she's been in great demand, landing parts in two intriguing Hollywood projects: the Judd Apatow-produced comedy "The Five-Year Engagement," where she plays the mother of Emily Blunt's character, and Park Chan-Wook's thriller "Stoker" with Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode.
And now she's added one more to her dance card, as The Hollywood Reporter has news that the actress is in talks to play Bradley Cooper's mother in "The Silver Linings Playbook," David O. Russell's adaptation of Matthew Quick's novel of the same name. Cooper, who replaced Mark Wahlberg in the film, plays a teacher released from an institution after a bout of depression, trying to readjust to his life, who falls for an eccentric neighbor (Jennifer Lawrence). Robert De Niro is also on board in an unknown role; could he be playing Cooper's father? If so: Scariest. Parents. Ever.
There's no mention in the trade's report of Chris Tucker, who was said at the start of the month to be in talks to play a fellow mental hospital inmate of Cooper's. He was said around the same time to be circling the Ben Stiller comedy "Neighborhood Watch," for a part eventually won by Richard Ayoade. Has the actor dropped out of the running here too, and gone back to counting his "Rush Hour" residuals, or whatever it is he does with his time? We imagine it'll become clear in the coming days and weeks. Still, Russell's film is looking very promising; shooting starts soon, and The Weinstein Company will release it in the latter part of 2012.