After a six-year absence from both arthouses and multiplexes, filmmaker David O. Russell (Flirting with Disaster, Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees) returned in 2010 with The Fighter. The family/boxing drama received seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Director, winning for Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale) and Best Supporting Actress (Melissa Leo), and went on to gross $129 million worldwide.
Russell followed the success of The Fighter with the recently released Silver Linings Playbook, his most personal film to date. The film, based on the novel of the same name by Matthew Quick, follows Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper), home after a stint in a mental institution where he’s been coping with his bipolar disorder. His parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver) attempt to help Pat regain his life, but it’s Pat’s equally troubled new friend Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), whose ability to gently guide Pat out of his comfort zone, may be the key to Pat’s Silver Linings. I recently had a chance to speak with Russell in celebration of him being nominated for a Golden Globe (Best Screenplay), two Critics Choice awards (Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay), and two Independent Spirit awards (Best Director and Best Screenplay). Here’s what Russell shared with me about his first experience adapting a book, how his experiences with his son helped him find the emotional core of the film, and crafting Silver Linings Playbook.