Writer Matthew Quick attends Tribeca Teaches Benefit: 'Silver Linings Playbook' Premiere at Ziegfeld Theatre on November 12, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
(USA TODAY) -- For Matthew Quick, the author of Silver Linings Playbook, there was a long dark period before the hit film starring Bradley Cooper brightened movie screens.
started off beautifully in 2007 when The Weinstein Co. optioned the
film rights to Quick's 2008 debut novel, then in manuscript form. The English Patient's Anthony Mighella and the legendary Sydney Pollack both expressed interest in directing.
Then Minghella died in March 2008 and Pollack in May of that year.
felt cursed," says Quick, 39, reached at the Massachusetts home which
he shares with his wife, novelist Alicia Bessette. "Waiting for this
film, it was like waiting for a sunrise."
Still, the eventual film
adaptation directed by David O. Russell (who also adapted the
screenplay) has become a sensation. It's been nominated for eight
Academy Awards and has earned $100 million.
the movie, Cooper plays a bipolar man, obsessed with his estranged
wife, who returns home after his mom gets him released from a
psychiatric hospital. Jennifer Lawrence, a troubled but sexy neighbor,
is the unlikely love interest.
Quick was not involved with the
film, spending only a day on the set. Although the movie differs from
his novel, Quick "loves" Russell's adaptation and is happy that it has
encouraged more openness about mental illness.
Is he going to Los Angeles for the Oscars? "My wife says we're going!" says Quick.
her encouragement, Quick might be still be teaching English and
coaching soccer and basketball at a highly competitive public high
school in New Jersey.
While he encouraged his students to follow
their bliss, "I polished the bars of my prison," Quick says. Instead of
pursuing his dream of writing fiction, he kept thinking about how he
"had tenure and a house in a great neighborhood."
Why didn't he write while teaching?
time, says Quick, who remains in touch with many former students.
Between classes, practices and games, he was leaving the house at 6:30
a.m. and coming home past 11 p.m. most school days. Weekends were
devoted to correcting papers written by 80-plus students, all aiming for
top colleges. "Teaching there, you had to perform at a very high
Quick's decision to quit "was a last-ditch effort to save
myself," he says. His wife arranged for them to live with her parents so
he could do nothing but write. "It was a scary time," says Quick. "I
was raised in a blue-collar town where you don't take handouts."
Like his characters, the New Jersey native was and remains a
Philadelphia Eagles fanatic, who, along with his siblings, still attends
every home game, commuting 10 hours round-trip. "My book is about the
universal language of sports and fathers," he says.
Quick's novel received admiring reviews when it was published in 2008,
it's the movie that put the book on USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list.
Released in October 2012, the movie tie-in edition hit the list on Jan.
3, 2013. The novel is currently No. 12, its highest ranking. There are
171,000 copies in print; 100,542 copies of the e-edition have sold.
In addition to Silver Linings, Quick has written three novels for young adults.
His second adult novel will be published early next year by HarperCollins. The Good Luck of Right Now tells the story of an isolated man in his late 30s in search of a new family after the death of his mother.
And yes, for Matthew Quick, at least, history does repeat itself: DreamWorks already has optioned the novel.
Deirdre Donahue, USA TODAY