David O. Russell: "I made 'Silver Linings Playbook' for my son"

David O. Russell, director of the the eight-times Oscar-nominated film 'Silver Linings Playbook', has given an interview to 'The Telegraph' newspaper where he reveals that his own son – “who was diagnosed with autism as a toddler” – sparked him into getting it made.

David O. Russell (Credit: Wenn)


Producer-directors Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella gave Russell the book five years ago. "I never would have paid two seconds’ attention to it if I hadn’t been looking for a film that would make my son feel like he was part of the world. Because my son has wrangled with many of the same challenges as the Bradley Cooper character. To get it right, to not make it feel precious or… there were so many ways to get it wrong. Because mental illness shouldn’t be the whole focus of the thing, it’s really just a part of the fabric of life, and it resonates with how we all are.”

The film was originally planned with Vince Vaughn and Zooey Deschanel. The two stars Russell ended up choosing, Cooper and Lawrence, are familiar to audiences from enormous hits – 'The Hangover' in his case, 'The Hunger Games' in hers. Russell was keen to reinvent them both and surprise their fans

“It is a risk but I like it, it’s exciting. It’s like Amy Adams in The Fighter. Everybody was saying they wouldn’t believe it: “Amy Adams the 'Enchanted' princess, I don’t believe she could play a tough role.” Now it’s accepted, conventional wisdom that Amy Adams can be cast as a bitch, like in 'The Master'. With Jennifer, we saw her become a woman before our eyes in the film. At the beginning she’s like a messed-up girl, and by the end of the film I feel like she’s a woman. The fact that she goes off and orders a vodka, she’s not the girl from 'The Hunger Games' any more.”

Despite the prizes 'Silver Linings Playbook' keeps picking up –  Lawrence remains the narrow favourite to win the Best Actress Oscar – O Russell acknowledges it's  not to everyone’s taste. “The movie starts off in a very raw place, but it ends up in a very magical place. I liked both those aspects. You could almost say if you looked at the references that it’s like Scorsese on one end and Capra on the other.”

Russell  director of 'Spanking the Monkey', 'Flirting with Disaster', 'Three Kings' and 'I Heart Huckabees', says making his 2010 film, 'The Fighter' changed everything. “I had this weird intermission after 'I Heart Huckabees', during which time I was sort of re-framing-up. You always have to find inspiration. Then 'The Fighter' came along, which I really didn’t expect, and making that really drilled down into what I feel is my wheelhouse now, which is this music and this rhythm, and this very real emotional, sexual, immediate world.”