David O. Russell, Son Open Up About Personal Struggles Behind 'Silver Linings Playbook' (Video)
Writer-director David O. Russell has spent months promoting his four-time Indie Spirit-winning and Oscar-nominated film Silver Linings Playbook.
But one of the film’s core inspirations -- Russell’s 18-year-old son, Matthew -- had an opportunity to share in his own words the impact his father’s film has had on his life and on those around him, in The Hollywood Reporter’s video lounge at the Spirit Awards Saturday afternoon.
The much-lauded drama based on Matthew Quick's novel, in which Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper portrays a man struggling to cope with bipolar disorder, was also strongly influenced by the director’s own challenges in managing Matthew’s lifelong battle with bipolar disorder.
VIDEO: THR's Independent Spirit Awards Diaries
Russell, who won best screenplay, best director and best feature at the beachside indie-film fete, was openly moved by the day’s events, and said specifically the outpouring of support he’s received since making his family’s own ordeal public has been the most rewarding part of the film’s success.
Matthew, an actor who appeared in Silver Linings (he’s the neighborhood kid who shows up repeatedly wanting to interview the family for a mental-health project he’s doing for school), said doing the film was so meaningful because he's been able to inspire “so many people who have these challenges.”
Matthew added: “It was a really big experience seeing myself onscreen with the legend Robert De Niro.”
Russell said the film’s blending of humor and intense dramatic moments was key to ensuring that audiences felt connected to the characters. (“Life is sad and funny -- that’s why it works,” he said).
And he also took a moment to thank Matthew’s mother for her help.
“Matt’s mom, Janet Grillo, did so much for the family. And this [award] is for her, too."