Bradley Cooper Interview For ‘Silver Linings Playbook’
Adapted from the best-selling novel by Matthew Quick, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ is a touching, one-of-a-kind comedy about love and second chances. Pat Peoples (Bradley Cooper) is a man always trying to look on the bright side of life – the title of the story takes it’s name from the expression that “every cloud has a silver lining.” Released from the hospital after losing his wife to another man, Pat believes this age-old adage is just the ticket to trying to win her back and get his life on track. Trying to remain resolutely undiscouraged, Pat moves back in with his parents and devotes himself entirely to becoming the man his wife always wanted him to be. But it’s an uphill battle. Until Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a beautiful young woman whose life also has not turned out the way she wanted. Together, the couple will try and navigate through their lives and stay true to who they are. Directed by David O. Russell, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ also stars Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Anupam Kher, Chris Tucker, Julia Stiles, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham and Dash Mihok. The film arrives in cinemas on November 21st.
‘Silver Linings Playbook’ is very romantic in a twisted sort of way. Pat tries to be an idealist but struggles to find the right path to realise his optimistic aspirations – hence the title….
Bradley Cooper: This movie is a very romantic move I think as well. It centers around these people that are quirky, that you really haven’t seen before. It’s sort of a mixture of this genre that you haven’t seen before because of the players in it. It’s this idea of how Pat wants to live his life, then I think it’s about what he finds – which is actually the same thing. He’s always trying to find a silver lining, and he’s always got a playbook by it. He’s like, “This is the way I’m going to live my life after leaving the hospital.” In recovering from this horrible thing that happened. The title encompasses a lot of the themes and the images of this movie. At its core it’s a movie about a guy who’s able to be set free of this trauma that has occurred in his life, through the love he feels for another human being. And in discovering that he finds a serenity and peace within himself and hopefully a path to love himself.
Can you tell us where we meet Pat in ‘Silver Linings Playbook’? He’s a man with an agenda….
Bradley Cooper: Pat’s a gym teacher, a High School gym teacher. On the day we meet him he’s released from the hospital – he plea bargained to have that sentence, rather than go to jail. Because Pat, he beat the hell out of his wife’s boyfriend. He caught them having sex in the shower in his home, in the afternoon when he came home early from school. And yes, he’s got an agenda (laughs), he’s going to read his wife’s High School syllabus, he’s going to get in shape, and he’s going to get her back. It’s very clear for him when we meet him (laughs). I loved diving into this character. Trying to make it very real and at the same time dynamic. For an actor, that’s heaven.
What sources did you use to help you dive into Pat? This vulnerable, unpredictable man with a tonne of heart.
Bradley Cooper: I followed David O. Russell’s lead. It starts with the script, then I really follow where the director wants to take me. Once we talked about doing it he threw a lot of information at me, stuff to read, stuff to look at. Then it was discussions and getting together to find the rhythms. Then it’s just modulating the character. The beautiful thing about doing a David O. Russell movie is your going to explore so many different avenues on set. And each different exploration takes you to a different place when you’re doing the next one. The end result is so far away because it’s really just exploration, going deeper and deeper. At the beginning of filming, maybe in the first week or two, Pat had a lot of different things going on with him. And we’re making a movie, we’re telling a story, those modulations are key because he’s the one who’s going to take you through the story and you’re going to meet these other characters. It was about finding the right balance, and that it was actually lived in, it was happening and we were learning as we were doing it. I love that because you’re not just doing it with your brain, you’re doing it with your body, your voice, your breathe. David O. Russell was the teacher in that aspect, because he’s right there with you, he’s in the trenches with you. It’s a very exciting process, you feel as an actor very safe with David – especially on a story like this we’re you are out of your comfort zone every day.
The father and son dynamic in the film is different to the book. Was that something you also found on set with Robert De Niro?
Bradley Cooper: Yeah. Pat Sr, played by Robert De Niro, he is much different from the book and their relationship is much different from the book. All of these things were explored on the set with David O. Russell, that’s the unique thing about making a movie with him – it is truly a discovery every day. And on set we discovered many things, it was certainly written that he was obsessive compulsive, and that he was a bookie. He had financial issues stemming from that. But the dynamic between he and his son was never fully experienced until we actually did it.
How was it working with someone like that in that capacity?
Bradley Cooper: It’s very easy to act with Robert De Niro, and these were not easy scenes – they were very difficult scenes that were really effortless because he’s just so good. He really is the best (laughs). And it was wonderful that he had a character to really sink his teeth into in this movie. He really mined every possible element with David O’Russell for Pat Sr.
Working opposite with Jennifer Lawrence, what it like when you were told she would be playing Tiffany?
Bradley Cooper: With Jennifer Lawrence, I’d never met her and I’d never seen ‘Winters Bone.’ But I was told that she was an incredible actress. There were a lot of women jockeying for that role, and she really wanted it. She’s young, she’s was only 21 at the time so I was like, “Wow, she’s going to play that character.” And I had one conversation with her on the phone and I knew right away that this was going to work, this dynamic was going to work. She’s special.
I loved your scenes with Chris Tucker, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ is his first non ‘Rush Hour’ movie in over a decade….
Bradley Cooper: Chris Tucker, what a coup man! He plays my friend in the hospital, and he gets out shortly after. First of all, he’s a great spirit of a human being. I was such a big fan of his before, even from ‘Dead Presidents’ and ‘Jackie Brown,’ stuff besides ‘Rush Hour.’ He’s a really, really talented great actor – and even more than that he’s just a great guy. We had a lot of fun on these scenes we had together (laughs).
Working on a meaty, complex character with a great filmmaker alongside a great set of actors, I can imagine that’s the reason you do this?
Bradley Cooper: Oh man, definitely (laughs)! All I really want to do is work with great filmmakers and great actors, it’s really very simple. There’s no plan like, “Let me do this, let me do this type of movie,” it’s nothing like that (laughs). For me David O. Russell’s one of the best American film directors, there’s not even a question about it. From ‘Spanking the Monkey,’ ‘Flirting with Disaster,’ ‘Three Kings,’ ‘I Heart Huckabees,’ ‘The Fighter’….the guy, he’s just incredible. You a know a great director when you can see a frame of their movie and you know that they’re the one who directed it. He really has that patent. It was an utter dream coming true working with him, I couldn’t believe he wanted me for the movie. My dream when becoming an actor was to be in the sort of movies that David O. Russell makes.
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