Actor Carl Weathers has one last role to play.
The popular thespian, who made a name for himself in the “Rocky” movies and the Disney+ series “The Mandalorian,” among other projects, has long been associated with online sports-betting company FanDuel’s Super Bowl work. Weathers had appeared in teasers for FanDuel’s Super Bowl commercial, which will focus, as it did last year, on a live real-time look at former NFL great Rob Gronkowski’s attempts to kick a field goal. In 2024, that kick will take place just before game play starts, with a follow-up commercial to appear in the Big Game itself.
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Weathers died Thursday in his sleep, and FanDuel had subsequently indicated that it planned to make adjustments to its commercial. Weathers had been acting as a coach in teasers for the project.
The actor will still appear, according to Andrew Sneyd, FanDuel’s executive vice president of marketing. After consulting with Weathers’ survivors, the executive tells Variety, FanDuel intends to make some changes to its commercial that will be appropriate, but, Sneyd says, “the family has been very supportive that they would still like to see Carl in the work.”
That will require some adjustments, says the executive. “We need to change what we are doing in the Bowl. The live event itself carries forward and as is. Rob will kick the field goal and he will be even more inspired to make it. He really enjoyed meeting Carl and found him to be such an optimistic and energetic person,” says Sneyd. What will change is how Weathers is portrayed in the actual in-game ad.
“We had built a master. One is an edit if he makes the kick and we have an edit if he misses. That content we had in those masters wouldn’t be appropriate for us to do any more,” Sneyd says. “Since the news of Carl’s passing came, we have been working with editors to help us get back to something that does make sense.” FanDuel, he adds, is in contact with Weathers’ family “to make sure they are comfortable.”
Such work has been difficult, he says. “We have been viewing edits through tears. We really enjoyed the short time we had to work with him. He’s a wonderful man and he genuinely is an inspiration and had such a positive outlook on the world. We want to make sure we try to meet this moment with the respect it deserves.”
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