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Bradley Cooper and David O. Russell meet with Vice President Biden to discuss mental health

Mark Deming
Movie Talk
February 8, 2013

While some stars are taking sides on the growing controversy over gun control – Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone offered differing opinions on the issue in recent days – nearly everyone agrees that more and better mental health resources are needed so people can get help before they turn to violence. Vice President Joe Biden is spearheading an effort to expand mental health services, and he’s getting support from a few high profile names.

Bradley Cooper and David O. Russell, the star and director of the Oscar-nominated hit “Silver Linings Playbook,” met with the vice president on Thursday to talk about mental health issues and increased access to treatment. Besides adding a touch of Hollywood glamour to the conversation, Biden’s visitors have plenty of substance to say on the issue. Russell’s son has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, and his experiences dealing with its effects provided the inspiration for “Silver Linings Playbook,” while Cooper plays Pat in the movie, who is struggling to put his life back together after a stay in a mental hospital.

Vice President Biden’s office released a photo of his meeting on Twitter, captioned, “VP Biden, Russell & Cooper agree on the importance of acceptance, understanding, and access to treatment for those with mental illness.”

In addition to meeting with Vice President Biden, Cooper and Russell were in Washington to raise awareness of the Excellence In Mental Health Act, a bi-partisan bill recently introduced to Congress which is intended to increase availability of mental health treatment.

At the premiere of “Silver Linings Playbook,” director Russell told a reporter, “It’s very personal to me. My son, I’ve been through this with my son and his friend, and that’s why I did the movie. So when it’s personal, you know that you’re coming from the right place.

You’re not coming from a reckless place. You’re coming from a very careful place. I’m 18 years deep with this kid, so I’m very invested in him and his friends.”

With both Cooper and Russell nominated for Academy Awards for their work on “Silver Linings Playbook,” they should have plenty more opportunities to talk about the film and the mental health issues it addresses as Hollywood goes into the final stretch of Award Season.

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