For months, the people charged with promoting Hands of Stone — the Roberto Duran biopic which hits theaters Friday — have spent a ton of time and resources in marketing the film. Yesterday, they even sent the film’s star — notoriously publicity-shy Robert De Niro — to Bristol, Conn. to appear on a number of ESPN shows.
The trip, of course, included a stop by First Take, where the legendary actor sat down with Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman, and Molly Qerim.
The highlight of the awkward chat came about halfway through. When De Niro was asked for his opinion on the acting ability of Stephen A. Smith, who recently filmed a cameo for General Hospital. Approximately forty seconds of footage was played on the broadcast, and De Niro was forced to critique.
One problem: The clip didn’t have any sound.
After the muted clip played, DeNiro explained that he’d watched the footage with sound earlier, and he did his best to offer perfunctory praise for the would-be soap star Smith.
“It was good,” De Niro said. “You did a good job. I couldn’t complain. I don’t know where to complain.”
“I need a tissue,” Smith said, flexing those acting muscles again by pretending to cry. “This is a very touching moment for me.”
“Just keep hanging in there, kid,” DeNiro said. He added, “Don’t be disappointed, don’t give up.”
Watch the full, painful 10 minute segment here, via ESPN 2.
[image via screengrab]
Follow Joe DePaolo (@joe_depaolo) on Twitter
Have a tip we should know? email@example.com