As David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook" expands to wider audiences this week, the film's Oscar buzz seems to be getting louder and louder. In a layered performance well beyond his "Hangover" persona, Bradley Cooper plays Pat, who finds himself back home after a state-mandated stay at the loony bin, still dealing with the bipolar anger management issues that landed him there. Enter Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany, a young widow with her own mental health fragilities. We all know Pat and Tiffany can only get better by coming together, but here's Five Facts about "Silver Linings Playbook" you may not know.
1. Aside from being a Philadelphia native-son and a long-suffering Eagles fan, Cooper also shares another trait with his character in the movie; like Pat, Cooper has battled demons of his own. Though you wouldn't have guessed it from Cooper's frequently blacked-out work on "The Hangover" (2009) and "The Hangover Part II" (2011), the actor has been sober for eight years. Cooper recently told the Hollywood Reporter he gave up drinking and drugs after realizing he was living way too dangerously: "I was at a party and deliberately bashed my head on the concrete floor -- like, 'Hey, look how tough I am!' And I came up, and blood dripped down. And then I did it again. I spent the night at St. Vincent's Hospital with a sock of ice, waiting for them to stitch me up."
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2. Jennifer Lawrence also shares some similarities with her character, Tiffany. For one, JLaw still lives in her parent's condo, just as Tiffany still lives in her parent's garage. Also, Tiffany has absolutely no inner filter, a troublesome quirk that Lawrence also suffers from: "I never know what's going to come out of my mouth, and it's horrible. I don't find it positive in any way. When I get older, I'll be more mature and poised. And I'll have control over my mouth. One day, I'm going to grow up," Lawrence told Elle magazine.
3. Writer/director David O. Russell and actor Robert De Niro, who plays Cooper's father in SLP, also related to the story on a very personal level. "If not for my son having issues of bipolarity, the book would not have grabbed me the way it did," Russell told the New York Daily News in regards to Matthew Quick's source novel. De Niro also has a child with special needs, and was similarly drawn to the story because of that. "If you're a father, you certainly understand what it's like to go through the worry about your kids, especially if they've got issues like Bradley's character has. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. It can be nightmarish and upsetting. There's nothing much you can do but deal with it." You can get a sense of how difficult such relationships can be in the trailer above.
4. The script originally called for an older actress to play Tiffany. Reportedly, Elizabeth Banks, Kirsten Dunst, Anne Hathaway, Blake Lively, Rooney Mara, Rachel McAdams, and Olivia Wilde were all considered for the role. Russell had very nearly made up his mind when he received a Skype from Lawrence, auditioning for the part from her parent's home in Kentucky. Suddenly, age didn't matter, as Russell explained to the Denver Post: "She can have an ageless quality to her, and she can seem much older than she is. And in some ways she is older than she is in spite of herself. Her age became a non-issue. She's a force of nature and that was that. She's a very special actor."
5. Apparently, Russell's set bred plenty of good will, as many of the main players will be playing together again soon. Cooper and Lawrence have since filmed "Serena," a Depression-era period drama slated for next year. Russell and Cooper -- along with Jeremy Renner and Russell's "The Fighter" star Christian Bale -- are collaborating on an untitled project about the FBI's late 70's Abscam operation, which led to the conviction of a U.S. Senator and five Congressmen on corruption charges. Furthermore, Cooper and Russell are developing a movie based on the autobiography of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL sniper. All this goodwill leads one to assume that Russell has put his pugnacious past behind him, a reputation the auteur earned after famously fighting with George Clooney on the set of "Three Kings" (1999) and verbally attacking Lily Tomlin on the set of "I Heart Huckabees" (2004).
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