Before “Silver Linings Playbook,” filmmaker David O. Russell had written all the movies he directed. But when the late Sydney Pollack gave him a copy of Matthew Quick’s novel about a bipolar man moving back home after leaving a neural health facility, Russell immediately connected with the story.
In this excerpt from the Envelope Screening Series, Russell and actor Bradley Cooper talk about their personal connections to the film, as well as the reasons why they altered the film’s ending from what was in the book.
“I had a great motivation out of love for my son to make a movie about a world where he could say, ‘Hey, that’s me,’” Russell said, talking about his 18-year-old son, Matt. “And ‘I’m not alone with who I am. I’m part of my dad’s world and I’m part of a bigger world and I’m not that odd and there’s other people who deal with these issues.’ So, that was a very strong motivation for me. That was like a jackpot for me, really.”
Russell adds that he wasn’t the only one who could relate to the material. Robert De Niro, who plays the father of Cooper’s character in the film, has also raised a son with similar challenges.
“When he was reading the script at his house and I was talking to him about it, he was crying,” Russell said, “and that was when I knew we both had a very strong personal connection to the material.”