I didn't see Silver Linings Playbook, but boy, I sure want to now. There aren't too many actor/director interviews that make me super interested in the movie they're discussing, but Monday's episode of Katie was the exception to the rule. Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, and director David O. Russell sat down to talk with Katie Couric about the Oscar-nominated film they made together, and it's one of the most heart-wrenching promotional appearances I've ever seen. Maybe the only heart-wrenching promotional appearance I've ever seen, now that I think of it.
The thing that makes this interview really special is the fact that David Russell's own son has a mood disorder similar to the one portrayed by Bradley Cooper in the movie. Russell clearly has a deeply personal connection to the subject matter, but it's Robert De Niro's on-camera reaction that had me reaching for the tissues.
The first several minutes of the clip mostly involve director David Russell explaining his history with the film, from how he first heard about the story five years ago to the mood disorder his own son suffers from. (There's a powerful moment in this interview at 0:52 when Russell makes an involuntary arm gesture to help him get through the clearly painful statement that his son, at times when he was just 10 or 11 years old, found life so hard "he didn't know if he wanted to keep going.")
At about 5:00, though, Katie asked Robert De Niro if he felt a greater responsibility being part of a project "that David had so much personally invested in," but before De Niro could answer the question, he became completely overwhelmed with tears. Finally, he choked out,
I don't like to get emotional, but I know exactly what he goes through.
Russell went on to explain what happened when he first met with De Niro in his apartment about the script:
I thought he was having hay fever, and I realized he was having an emotional reaction. I sat there and watched Robert De Niro cry for 10 minutes and I said, 'Wow, he's really connecting with this material and this would be a beautiful thing if it could work out, because I think his heart would be there,' and it is there.
Here's the interview:
The reason this makes so interested in seeing the movie is that it seems incredibly rare in Hollywood for the actors and director to be this connected to the material. It's obvious all three of them care deeply about the subject and the film, and that makes me believe -- even more than the Oscar nom -- that Silver Linings Playbook is well worth seeing.
Did you see Silver Linings Playbook? Are you surprised by the background story to the film?
Image via Katie