Matthew Quick Interview: Finding the Silver Linings- Part 2
By Lisa Minzey of The Reel Critic.com
PFF: After reading the book and watching the film, each on its own are fantastic. One scene that was left out of the film that was in the book was the scene at the beach. Do you know why such a poignant scene didn't make the final cut?
MQ: That was my favorite scene of the book. I think when you make a movie, there’s all kinds of constraints. The had planned to film on the Pennsylvania side of Philly, but the beach is on the New Jersey side, so I’m not too sure. You would have to ask David why, but thank you for saying that.
PFF: In the literary world versus the film world, have you found it easier or more difficult than the film development process, in terms of getting to the finished project?
MQ: It’s different. There is more at stake in the film world, given that David’s budget was $26 million dollar, which in Hollywood terms, is not an extraordinary budget, but it would be unheard of in New York to have a book budget that large. In New York, things are done on a much smaller scale, but there is more books published than films produced in L.A., so it’s hard to compare. The Weinsteins have sent me out on tour, which is great. I love coming out to talk about the film and book; this is getting a lot of PR out there. That’s not as typical in the book world; you’re networking is more intimate (Librarians, Schools, etc.) so it’s more of a long term plan, but they both have their pros and cons about the process.
PFF: If you had to identify with one of the characters from Silver Linings, who would it be and why?
MQ: I think there’s a little of me in many of the characters. Obviously, Pat is someone who is trying to reinvent himself; especially Pat always working out in the basement (book version); I was writing my novel living in a basement, so there’s definitely some things people can pull. I’m a huge Eagles fan; Pat’s a huge Eagle’s fan, but I think Tiffany as well. Tiffany has this explosive quality about her; she’s not embarrassed about that. She’s very volatile and loyal at the same time. I’m incredibly loyal, but I expect a lot from people – I’m not afraid to push. She’s messy; part of my personality is like that too Dr. Cliff… I counseled troubled teens for a long time. He’s a guy I would want to do therapy with – sign me up, absolutely! That’s not a conscious thing – I’m just trying to be me, telling a story. Your conscious is always at work. There’s other books (of mine), now when I listen [recorded version] to them now, I’m surprised, and I wrote them! I don’t remember that part. One of the characters will say something and it’s like, wow… it’s a bit of a mystery, fiction writing. I do get frustrated with writers who say “No, no, no, I was in control the whole time; there’s nothing mystical about the process.” I really thing it’s a disservice you do for a lack of a better word, channel the stories. If I had to now sit down and write Silver Linings, it would be a completely different book. It is a snapshot of my psyche at that time in my life and I couldn't do that again because I’m a much different person now. The work that I’m doing now is a reflection of where I am now and what’s going on in my psyche/ subconscious. What things I’m interested in; what’s happening in my life – that’s what comes out.
PFF: Do you ever hear back from old students feedback on Silver Linings Playbook?
MQ: Yes! Those are some of my favorite emails. Last year I received a glowing review from the New York Times, I would trade for student emails any day. When I hear from a former student after they've read my stuff, actually I received one last night in fact, a student I hadn't spoken to in 10 years said, “Mr. Quick, I see what you’re doing and it gives me hope – you’re living what you told us in class.” She is someone that is pursuing the arts as well. “All that stuff you said all those years, you weren't lying. You really believe it.” At my Boston screening, some students showed up and said they had read the book and said, “It’s so you! It’s like being in your class again!” Right now, I’m mentoring a former student who is writing a novel, who attended the Philly premier with his family.
Whenever I hear back from students, it means a lot to me. I was quite attached to my students, as I don’t have children of my own. When I was teaching, people would ask if I had kids and I would tell them, “Yeah, I have a thousand of them.” I really took teaching as a responsibility. There’s a saying Latin where it says something to the effect “You’re the parents in the absence of the parent.” I took that very seriously, so when I hear from those kids, it means the world to me, and it really does.
I’ll say this on record anywhere to get the message out there. Teachers have the hardest job in the world. I did not know that to be a High School English teacher, to do a good job, you are asked to wear so play so many roles. Parent, college prep adviser therapist; they all work so hard. A thank you letter to a teacher, you have no idea how much fuel you give that teacher. I know when I was teaching, every time I got to my lowest point and couldn't face the day, almost serendipitously, I would get a letter from a student and think, “OK, wow, I’m doing this.”, and walk back into the classroom. Reach out to your former teachers and let them know they’re doing good work out there. They need all the fuel they can get, so please thank them.