Bradley Cooper Finds The Silver Lining

 By Debra Wallace

(PCM) When Bradley Cooper has a playbook it includes Robert DeNiro as his on-screen father and Jennifer Lawrence as the young widow that he romances under difficult circumstances. What more could a film lover ask for?

Such is the recipe for his latest film venture, Silver Linings Playbook, a new drama from The Weinstein Company, opening on November 16, which is already gaining Oscar buzz.

The movie also had a stellar premiere at the opening ceremony of the 21st Philadelphia Film Festival, an 11-day fall event.

This film led a line-up of dozens of riveting new movies, including Flight starring Denzel Washington, The Sessions with Helen Hunt, David Chase’s (Sopranos) Not Fade Away, Cloud Atlas, Wreck-It Ralph, Bill Murray in Hyde Park on the Hudson, and A Late Quartet, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Based on the best-selling book of the same name, in Silver Linings Playbook, Cooper, 37, comes home to Philadelphia to play a former teacher, Pat Solitano, who discovers his wife in the shower with a fellow teacher, snaps and ends up in a metal ward.

He moves back home with his mom and dad, played by Robert DeNiro, tries to reconcile with his ex-wife (despite a restraining order), and meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious young police widow, with problems of her own.

The motto of the character is that there is a silver lining out there – no matter how dire the hand you are dealt, and how all of your best laid plans get messed up. For Cooper’s character, Pat, life does not always go according to plan. Pat has basically lost everything – his house, his job, and his wife.

Now he is home with his parents after eight months in a state institution on a plea bargain, but he is determined to rebuild his life, and remain positive. All his parents want is for him to get back on his feet and share the family obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles football team. As things unfold with humor and emotion, Pat finds his silver lining and tells us there is hope….there is a silver lining out there for each of us.

Q: Why did you pick this movie – Silver Linings Playbook?

BRADLEY COOPER: For me, I just feel like I hit the jackpot with this movie. I mean, I can’t believe that I’m sitting here! And that I got a chance to work with [the director], David O. Russell. It’s an utter dream come true. I just can’t believe this guy wanted me to work with him.

Q:What’s it like when you go out to look for work, is your big reputation and the glare of that spotlight a challenge to live up to?

BC: I don’t even take that into account. It’s ephemeral. I mean, it’s an interesting thing. But yeah, it has nothing to do with what I’m doing.

Q: You play a mentally troubled man. What are you like on your bad days, and what do you do about it?

BC: You hope to be around people that are going to help you heal. You watch this guy go from one place, and end up in another. And he’s not a different character; he’s very much the same guy you met at the beginning of the movie. Yet he’s healed by his family, by love. And he’s lucky enough to have people like that in his life. And who are real too, and dimensional.

Q: Tell me more about this.

BC: Well, there are no bad or good characters in this movie. But I’ve been lucky in my life to have a lot of love around me. So when anything bad happens, I can relate to the movie that there’s healing in your family, and your loved ones. And I think that’s the great thing about this movie actually, is that this movie doesn’t end with a cure. This movie ends with healing.

Q: How do you get into a place where you’re a mentally unhinged person?

BC: The goal is to get to a place where you believe everything you’re saying. And it’s coming from deep. You hear your voice, and it actually feels like you’re talking normally. And in order to get to that place, it’s a myriad thing. It’s your imagination, it’s finding things in myself, people that I know. It’s always different things. But hopefully getting to a place where you just actually believe exactly what you’re saying. So that you don’t have to act.

Q: Your character was a teacher. Did you have a good or teachers growing up?

BC: I had great teachers throughout my whole life, actually. Wonderful teachers. From my Latin teacher in high school, to my French professor, to this director! Yeah, I’ve had teachers throughout my life.

Q: How did you come to this project, or any movie project?

BC: It’s really simple for me. My dreams as an actor were to be in movies. And so all I want to do is work with great filmmakers and great actors.

Q: Tell me about the musical sensibility of the story.

BC: Musicality is a huge part of this movie. And the musicality of the rhythm of the speech. And that’s sort of dictated by the myth becoming more and more softer, and having more contours to it. David gets every actor to a place where they’re out of their head. And they’re actually in the moment, interacting with the other person in real time. And because of the way it’s written, and the rhythms of each character, you sort of have this cacophony of voices that create this sort of jazz music. And it’s that rhythm likened to other movies of old. And yeah, that was exciting. It’s exciting to be a part of that.

Q: Tell me about shooting in your home town of Philadelphia?

BC: The book is set there. And one thing that David nailed, so often when films are set in Philadelphia, if you’re not from there, you just assume it’s some mirrored, small reflection of New York City! But it’s not at all. It has its own accent, and it’s own sort of very interesting mentality that I felt was very tangible in this movie.

Q: What do you mean by that?

BC: You know, just look at the house, the production design of it, is so accurate. And the way that everybody comes together. And you can walk into any household on the weekend, and you’re going to have five people sitting around doing various things. Like at the end of the movie, where people are playing cards, that’s how I grew up. And it’s nice to see that sort of real, embedded element in the movie.

Q: Why is that?

BC: Well, because from that, it’s so anchored that you can watch, and really feel like you’re living in this house, with these people. And walking on those streets. You know, there’s a lot of walking in this movie. There’s not a lot of driving in cars. And you know, like going to the diner, that’s a very neighborhood mentality. So that’s true. And it’s nice to see it in a movie too.

Q: Do you have time to go to the movies like everybody else?

BC: I’m a huge movie buff. That’s one of the things I love to do more than anything, is go into a theater and watch a movie by myself. You know, my life is very normal and I really enjoy having it that way.

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