Silver Linings Playbook’s Bradley Cooper and David O Russell meet with US vice president Joe Biden to show Hollywood’s support for mental health care reform
Bradley Cooper and David O Russell, the star and director of Silver Linings Playbook, have visited US vice president Joe Biden to help introduce a new mental health act to Congress.
The meeting, first reported on the Politico website, was documented by a photo released by Biden’s office. The star and director of Silver Linings Playbook are shown with Biden, discussing the Excellence in Mental Health Act, a bi-partisan bill that aims to improve access to mental health services in the US. It is part of a package of legislation Biden has recommended in response to the Newtown shootings, which saw 27 people – 22 of whom were under ten years old – killed by gunman Adam Lanza in December last year.
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The pair’s visit follows a press conference in Washington in which a number of celebrities, including Chris Rock, singer Tony Bennett and actor Amanda Peet, gave their support to the Obama administration’s plans to tighten gun control and improve awareness and treatment of mental health issues. “Even with improvements to our mental health system a troubled few will slip through the cracks,” said Peet. “But what’s the alternative? Doing nothing will fail. Doing nothing has failed.”
Since the shootings the entertainment industry has been debating what role – if any – film and video game depictions of guns have to play in tragedies like Newtown. Last month film industry groups including the Motion Picture Association of America, the Directors Guild of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners, pledged to help confront “the challenge of gun violence in America”. “This industry has a longstanding commitment to provide parents the tools necessary to make the right viewing decisions for their families,” said the association in a statement. “We welcome the opportunity to share that history and look forward to doing our part to seek meaningful solutions.”
Silver Linings Playbook, which sees Cooper play a former high school teacher with bipolar disorder, is nominated for eight Oscars, including a best actor nod for its lead. The film has been challenged by some critics for its simplistic depiction of mental health issues, although Russell – who wrote the screenplay based on a book by novelist Matthew Quick – drew on his own experiences of living with his bipolar son for the story.