Catching up with our former Philadelphia Eagle, a local comic rules TV's "Lipstick Jungle," and a Newark filmmaker branches out with "Leaf."
Our former Eagle hopes a film about his triumph over adversity will help others.
It wasn’t the thrill of Kevin Reilly’s victory that captivated the nation. It was the agony of defeat, when cancer cut short his promising NFL career.
A film about the former Philadelphia Eagle will premier this month on ABC’s “The Donovan McNabb Show.” The film will focus on Reilly’s religious faith.
“I was faced with the possibility of dying, and what came out of it was the importance of my relationship with God,” says Reilly, a Salesianum alum from Wilmington. “I don’t think there is anything that would endear you to your creator more than helping your fellow man. So not only is the film meaningful to me, maybe it’ll help someone else.”
Reilly became captain of the Eagles’ special teams in 1973. He was diagnosed with cancer two years later. “You go from experiencing ‘Monday Night Football,’ when we beat the Dallas Cowboys, a remarkable night in my life in front of our hometown fans,” he says. “Fast forward five years. I wake up out of intensive care, totally cognizant of changes in my body.”
Surgery saved Reilly’s life but took his left arm, a hunk of shoulder and five ribs. “It was unbelievably depressing,” he says. He found hope after a visit from Rocky Blier, who became a Super Bowl champion after a gun shot to his left leg and a grenade injury to his right foot in Vietnam.
Robert G. Alberino, vice president of broadcasting for the Eagles, has produced many films about former team members. To Alberino, Reilly’s story stood out.
“In the face of ridiculous adversity, Kevin found a way to enjoy himself,” Alberino says. “He taught me that 99 percent of the things we worry about are absolute BS. It’s the 1 percent that matters, like family and health.”
Reilly gives motivational speeches, advocates for the Special Olympics and is writing an autobiography. He also counsels wounded soldiers at the Walter Reed National Army Medical Center.
“I see these guys and I realize that if you had to lose a limb, you would choose an arm, and you’d choose your non-dominant arm,” Reilly says. “I’m probably the most fortunate amputee you can be.” —Maria Hess
Seth in the City
Our own Mr. Kirschner takes New York’s “Lipstick Jungle” by storm.
So, Seth Kirschner, what’s it like being on the set of “Lipstick Jungle,” the steamy, prime-time NBC drama in which you star alongside Brooke Shields and a cadre of extremely beautiful people?
“Everything is gold plated and people are waiting on me hand and foot and if I want a sandwich, they’ll bring me any sandwich plus any condiment you could imagine.”
A graduate of Mount Pleasant High School and UD, Kirschner, 25, is the goofily dressed, scene-stealing comic relief in an otherwise sexy and fashionable drama. He honed his comedic chops as a member of the Rubber Chickens, the popular improv-comedy group at UD.
“My character is probably not veering toward the sexiness of the show,” he says. “If anything, I’m more of a comic relief, which is good. There’s a lot of drama and sexiness. Why add more sexiness?”
Kirschner plays Josh, assistant to Brooke Shields’ Wendy Healy, a successful movie exec. “Lipstick” is based on the novel by Candace Bushnell of “Sex and the City.” It follows a trio of high-powered women in New York.
Kirschner also stars in “We Need Girlfriends,” an online sitcom about three babe-hunting buddies who comprise a geekier version of HBO’s “Entourage.” Producers are negotiating with CBS to develop the series. Unlike “Lipstick Jungle,” “We Need Girlfriends” allows Kirschner to flex his Rubber Chicken comedy muscles.
“The funny thing is I’m roommates with two other Rubber Chickens, and we’re in the same building with four other Rubber Chickens,” he says. “We all flock together. Oh my god, that was so cheesy. I can’t believe I just said that.”
Catch the season two premier of “Lipstick Jungle” September 24 at 10 p.m. —Matt Amis
A New Leaf
A local auteur’s biopic about a deciduously named ballplayer is a touchdown.
Newark filmmaker Tim Carr is on a roll. His film “Leaf” will make its local splash at the Newark Film Festival this month. As the reels turn, Carr will negotiate with major networks to acquire and distribute the film.
“‘Leaf’ is doing incredibly well at test screenings all over the country,” says Carr. In July the indie earned four awards at the Accolade Festival in Southern California, including Outstanding Feature Film.
Carr wrote, directed and played the title role of NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf, a No. 2 draft pick who fumbled a promising career.
“Leaf was a train wreck,” says Lyman Chen of Hockessin, who plays a sportswriter in the film. “But Tim is a very optimistic person in a very pessimistic business. He creates his own opportunities.”
Carr got his break when he landed a recurring role on NBC’s “Homicide: Life on the Street” in 1997. A succession of soap opera appearances, indie film roles and larger parts followed. In 2005 Sylvester Stallone cast Carr in “Rocky Balboa.”
Carr also recently acted in local director JJ Garvine’s “13th Grade” and Jack Knapp’s “Down With The Boogey.” Last year Carr nabbed a screenwriting nomination for the locally produced film “A Deeper Shade of Soul” at the Hypefest Film Festival in Hollywood.
Next up is Carr’s autobiographical “Mr. North America,” but he first hopes to enjoy some downtime at his famous house.
“I bought Ryan Phillippe’s grandma’s house,” he says. “Hollywood is a small, small world.” —Maria Hess
That’s why the Charmie Welch Invitational Open has raised millions.
The Charmie Welch Invitational Open is one of the state’s most successful charity golf events.
The tournament raised a record $170,000 for the Mary Campbell Center in Wilmington last year and has brought in $1.7 million over the past 11 years. The 27th annual open, the nonprofit center’s only fundraiser, is set for September 8 at DuPont Country Club.
“Part of the success is the group that puts it together,” says Carmen Facciolo Jr., president of Emory Hill Real Estate Services and a tournament co-chair with builder-developer Joe Capano. “Joe has a lot of contacts in the construction field. I’m in real estate. All the people on the committee have a lot of contacts.”
Sponsorships—which cost $10,000 for a team of eight to $350 for a single player—cover green fees, carts, cocktails and dinner. Local businesses such as Winner Automotive Group and Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson donate cars and motorcycles as prizes for holes-in-one, while other businesses chip in items for live and silent auctions.
Some of the 200 participants come for the golf or camaraderie, but most, says coordinator Joanne Arena, are there for the cause. The nonprofit Mary Campbell Center, named after the folks who donated the property, is a community of 66 residents with disabilities, along with staff and more than 300 volunteers.
The cause inspires center supporters—including former Philadelphia Eagles coach Dick Vermeil, who usually drops by for dinner—to return year after year.
“We have people who have been with us for all of the years,” Arena says. “You see some networking, but it’s more that people know about the center and this is what they do to support it.”
For more information, contact Arena at 762-6025 or email@example.com. —Drew Ostroski