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The Battle Over Guns; Super Bowl Sunday; Casey Anthony's Life Now

Aired January 31, 2013 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Yes, it's a fascinating town hall there, Anderson. I mean, the takeaway for me was one of your guests said a very interesting thing, I thought, which to me gets to the heart of this. If, as the NRA would like us to believe, having more guns makes America a safer place, then how do you explain the fact that America has 300 million guns in circulation and has 20 times the gun homicide rate of any developed country in the world?

You know, the math is very simple here. America has too many guns. And it has too many gun murders. Too many gun suicides and too many Americans hit by gunfire. And the one thing I never hear from the NRA is any plan whatsoever to try and reduce the number of weapons in circulation and to make it less easy for criminals or for crazy people or whoever it may be to get their hands on these weapons.

And the reason they don't do that, in my view, and perhaps they can correct me and I've been trying to interview them, I have had no luck. The reason is because they make money from the sale of guns. They are -- they are funded by gun manufacturers and ammunition manufacturers.

And until this deadly cycle is broken, America will carry on having more and more guns and more and more gun murders.

ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR, CNN'S AC 360: Well, as you know, their argument is that current laws, especially on background checks, need to be enforced. The fact that you have felons who have applied for guns, been caught lying, legally trying to get guns, and then are able to walk out the door and not be apprehended, not be prosecuted, is ridiculous.

And I think that's certainly one of the areas of common ground between, you know, gun advocates and gun control advocates. But, you know, no doubt, we'll continue to have this debate on and on, Piers.

MORGAN: It raises a lot of issues, Anderson. And I applaud you for taking a neutral stance on it. I find it extremely hard to do, I have to say, but it was a -- it was a great debate.

COOPER: Piers, thanks very much.

MORGAN: Nothing underscores the importance of the issue of guns in America quite like a story today. A shooting outside a middle school in Atlanta. Two students -- bear in mind these are middle school students -- got into a fight. One pulled out a gun and shot the other in the head. The victim, just 14 years old. He is in the hospital, but is apparently going to survive. The alleged shooter is in custody.

Joining me now is Van Jones, the president and co-founder of Rebuild the Dream and a CNN contributor. Also Republican strategist, Kellyanne Conway.

Welcome to you both.

Van, a fascinating debate there that Anderson had with all sorts of voices on all sides of this. But as I said to him -- you know, I can't help feeling everyone is missing the point of this debate. The point is the gun, isn't it?

VAN JONES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, PRESIDENT, REBUILD THE DREAM: Well, I think that is a big -- a big part of it. What I saw was a sort of tug of war between two almost theologies. And from my point of view, outsider looking in, seeing a lot of violence on the community level, really both maybe missing the point.

There's this theological article of faith that I think gun control folks have that it's all about the background check. I think the people in the neighborhood level are, like, listen, the guys we see with guns, they probably are avoiding that. At the same time, you know -- and also there's concern about the assault weapons. They're only talking about assault weapons, more handguns. So I think from a community level, the conversation seems to miss the point.

But then on the other side, this commitment to guns at all costs, guns with no controls at all, what struck me as almost irrational arguments that, you know, yes, we don't want the guns in the hands of the wrong people, but we won't do anything to make sure they don't get there.

MORGAN: Well --

JONES: That -- that, I think, is very alarming.

MORGAN: I agree. And let's watch a clip here. This is David Wheeler. He was at this Connecticut hearing that they had with lots of Sandy Hook families giving testimony. He gave particularly powerful testimony. He lost his child at Sandy Hook. Listen to what he had to say about this issue.


DAVE WHEELER, FATHER OF BENJAMIN WHEELER: The liberty of any person to own a military-style assault weapon and a high-capacity magazine and keep them in their home is second to the right of my son to his life.


MORGAN: Kellyanne Conway, do you agree with him? KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, Piers, I have four children ages 3 through 8. And when you drop them off at school every day, everybody watching can appreciate you expect to pick them up at the end of the day, so our grief and our empathy for these families really will never end. None of us can imagine being in their shoes and it's tragic.

The question of whether this is about guns or not is really just -- to me it's incomplete because it's about who is using the guns and how they obtain the guns, and if there's any proposition on the table, whether it's by President Obama or Senator Feinstein, or you, that would actually work, I think we've got to stop talking about what makes us feel better and what maybe -- and what actually works or what sounds good because when the emotions are this raw for all of us, we all want to, quote, "do something," but we have to do something that works.

And the fact is in the three massacres that we're talking about -- Aurora, Tucson, and Newtown -- these guys had their guns legally. I mean -- I hate saying their names so I'll just say the Tucson -- the Tucson shooter, he passed an instant background check and the assault weapons ban had it even still been in place, the guy in Aurora still would have had the other two weapons that he used to commit his crimes.

MORGAN: OK, but look. Look. But, Kellyanne, you've skillfully avoided my question --

CONWAY: No. I did not.

MORGAN: -- which is do you agree with that Sandy Hook father's premise that the right of his child's life supersedes any rights under the Second Amendment to own a high-powered magazine or an assault rifle?

CONWAY: Well, I believe life is the most precious right. That's why I'm also pro-life. If you want to have a show about that. But I believe life, including his son's, is the most precious right. We have something called the Second Amendment. And if politicians out there don't like it, they're going to have to amend the Constitution. You're not going to get very far, Piers, because we have -- as you say, we have 300 million guns in this -- in this country and people --

MORGAN: OK. Let me bring in Van because Van is champing at the bit to get in.

JONES: Well, I mean, here's -- here's, I think, the big tragedy. So many of the funerals that I go to where there are young people in the casket and older people like me and you in the pews, that pain, that suffering, that loss of life isn't in the discussion at all. Nothing stops a bullet like a job. You have one person who was speaking about what it would take to actually get a lot of the violence stopped. And what they said was, basically somebody who these kids will listen to.

That's cheap, but we don't spend the money making sure that -- that young people who do not have good role models in their home, actually get a chance to have some mentorship. We talk a lot about the violence in the media. You make the point really brilliantly. There's violence in the media and other places but you don't see the violence.

You have the guns here and you have something else. What's not present in the media are male role models who don't use violence, male role models who are responsible for these young guys who don't have enough of that.


MORGAN: I mean, you're talking about, I guess, the gang situation that you have.

JONES: Yes. And in fact it's not been discussed enough.


MORGAN: I agree.

CONWAY: Thank you. Yes.

MORGAN: To me -- to me -- I agree but I totally agree. You know, people say, what about Chicago? I couldn't agree more.

JONES: Yes. And we do have that young woman whose name has not been talked about, Hadiya Pendleton.



JONES: Who was this young African-American woman.

MORGAN: Who performed at Obama's inauguration.

JONES: She was a majorette at the -- she was gunned down, a stray bullet. Now here's the thing, if we're going to start talking about violence, I am 100 percent for the background checks. I am very concerned about the assault weapons, but it's a bigger question and what -- my big concern now is you have these two theologies --

MORGAN: It's a cultural question.

JONES: It's a cultural question. You now have two theologies. One says, you know, background checks. It is article in state. They will solve every problem. This other theology that says we can't trust America's government. We're so afraid of America's government and disdainful of America's government that we won't give them any power to protect our children. Those two theologies, neither one are going to solve the problem. That's my problem.

MORGAN: Listen, I don't think any of these things are going to solve the problem. The game plan is to try and reduce the problem.


MORGAN: Kellyanne, I mean, unless I'm mistaken, you share the view that the NRA put out, which is that you don't solve the gun violence problem in America by reducing the number of guns?

CONWAY: Well, I just first want to say thank you to Van Jones because I couldn't have said it better myself, and I agree with everything he said. There are too many people looking for the easy fix here. First of all, there is no easy fix and secondly, he wants -- he's willing to talk about the societal and cultural problems. He talked about the gangs, I'll talk about the guy up in Newtown playing video games basically 24/7 in his mother's basement with nobody paying attention.

MORGAN: The big question to me is, who is actually going to stand up and realize the more guns you have out there, the more gun violence?

JONES: For me, that is also a no-brainer. I am for a reduction in the amount of -- amount of guns that are out there. I think that right now we are in Washington. As we agree, we have 310 million people and 310 million guns.

MORGAN: Ridiculous.

JONES: It's a little bit crazy. But I'm tired of going to funerals. And I think that America -- you know, we see some funerals on TV, we don't see a whole bunch of other ones. And I'm so glad that I think there are Republicans who are willing to come across and look at a bigger section of the problem.

We do need the background checks, we do need the assault weapons ban, but we also need to be much more attentive. Nothing stops a bullet like a job. Nothing gets a young man to act like a young man --

MORGAN: No, I don't disagree with that.

JONES: -- by having good mentorship and good role models. We should be focused on that, too.

CONWAY: Good for you.

MORGAN: I totally agree.

Van and Kellyanne, thank you both very much.

When we come back, we'll go live to New Orleans to something I know a lot about, sibling rivalry and sport.



MORGAN: Well, that was the real thing. Beyonce today singing the National Anthem at a Super Bowl press conference. She said there will be no lip-synching on game day this Sunday. There are more than 100 million viewers who'll watch the 49ers and Ravens face off in New Orleans.

We have the perfect person covering it all for us.

Welcome to my new colleague, CNN sports reporter and anchor, Rachel Nichols. Rachel is live at the Superdome.

And Rachel, we are thrilled to have you at the CNN family. Congratulations on joining us and may you be here a long and fruitfully successful time.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN ANCHOR AND SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, thank you so much. Your producer, Jonathan, had a hand in me being at CNN. So we'll see how I do on the rest of this appearance. If I do well, maybe he'll get a bonus. If not, maybe he'll get fired before the end of the show. And you'll have to finish by yourself.

MORGAN: Well, exactly. He'll wait and see how you do. And he'll claim more the credit if you're successful. And if it's not, then obviously he never heard of you.


Let's turn to -- let's go through Super Bowl story by story here. Because Beyonce, I thought, was an amazing moment today. This is a woman who's under huge pressure because it turned out she lip-synched to the inauguration. And she came out in the press conference expecting to get questions on this. What better way to respond than to just immediately burst into a live rendition of the anthem and sing it beautifully? What did you make of that?

NICHOLS: Yes, I certainly thought that that was -- sports are about competition, right? And if somebody hits you, you want to hit them back harder. She certainly showed the ability to do that, and she talked about what she's going to do during the Super Bowl.

She said that she's been rehearsing a lot. She said that was the difference between what happened at the National Anthem where she said she didn't get a chance to rehearse with the orchestra and she didn't want to mess up and do anything to take the attention away from the president.

Of course she did end up getting a lot of attention for lip- synching. But she said this time there is no question, she will be performing live. In fact, she said this is what I was born for. So I guess that's a relief now, we know what Beyonce was born for. And I don't know if you are born for this.


But we feel that she is going to give it her all on Sunday. We'll see how she does.

MORGAN: Well, she's fabulous. And I thought that was just brilliant today. So if you're watching, Beyonce, I know you like to watch, well done.

Let's turn to the titanic battle on the field. The Harbaugh brothers, Jim and John, of course, dueling away here. It's quite a unique situation. Now you've interviewed Archie Manning, who, of course, father of two of the great quarterbacks, Peyton and Eli.

Tell me about that because there's a particular resonance, I guess, for him watching these brothers go at it on Sunday. He has to watch his sons go at it.

NICHOLS: Absolutely. Archie has watched Peyton and Eli played twice. That hasn't gone very well for Eli. Peyton has won both times and says it's a lot harder to watch your son lose than it is to watch your other son win. And it's difficult. So he placed a couple of calls to Jack Harbaugh, the patriarch of the Harbaugh family, and said, hey, we know what you're going through.

Take a listen to what he told me today.


NICHOLS: Jack Harbaugh, Jim and John's father, said that you told them, hey, at least when the boys play each other, we can root for Eli on offense and Peyton on offense. You've got two coaches where both sides of the ball matter.

ARCHIE MANNING, FOOTBALL LEGEND, FATHER OF PEYTON AND ELI: I don't know what they do. I mean, it's -- everybody thinks it's so great. It is a great story for everybody else, but it's not. That game is not fun for them. I mean, it just --


NICHOLS: I'll give you the tic-tock. What is it like as you're sitting there? And you know the cameras are on you.

MANNING: You've just got to endure it. You know, just kind of get through it. You know, after the first game they played in -- that was in the old Giants Stadium, remember? That was their first Sunday night game.


NICHOLS: The first game of "Sunday Night Football," it's a big deal.

MANNING: When they got -- when they got football back. And I told them beforehand, I said, you know, those cameras are going to be on us.


NICHOLS: Difficult for sure. And not just a nice visit with Archie today, but last year, I actually got to go to a Harbaugh home, spend some time with Jack Harbaugh and his wife Jackie, and they were telling me stories of the boys. And one thing that was pretty fun is that, hey, those guys are 15 months apart. They used to do what a lot of kids do at that age, put a piece of tape down the middle of their shared bedroom because they were fighting so much over whose space was whose.

John Harbaugh, the older brother, did tell me that he made a key mistake in that battle. He said that he let Jim, the younger brother, put the tape in a place where the radio was on Jim's side, so Jim got to pick the tunes for their entire childhood.


Not a wise move. We'll see if he has better strategies for the Super Bowl.

MORGAN: It's going to be great. I love a bit of family tension like that. It can only add to the spice of the event.

Let's turn to two other big stories about the Super Bowl. One is this apology today from San Francisco's 49ers corner back, Chris Culliver, over these homophobic remarks. He said his comments were ugly and he's not that kind of guy.

I mean, the problem it seemed to me is he clearly is that kind of guy. That's why he said it in the first place.

NICHOLS: Yes. I mean, he came out and he said this. He thought that he was being baited a bit, but whether he was or not, it was something he said. He said today that it was the first thing he thought of, but it's not what is in his heart. He also revealed that he has a few gay family members and that he talked to his mother. Sort of seemed as if his mother was one of the many people who gave him an earful over those comments and certainly expressed his support of the gay community in San Francisco.

This has been a topic that's been bubbling to the surface more in the NFL over this past year. The other team in the Super Bowl, the Ravens, there's two players who have come out very strongly, one for, one against gay marriage. So it's an issue that I think is going to get more attention in sports in this country over the coming year or so. And it is an interesting societal study, because race in America, really sports took the lead on that. You saw Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier and so many others in other sports.

In this issue, sports seems behind. We'll have to see how it catches up to the rest of the country.

MORGAN: Yes. I don't -- you know, he can have a view on gay marriage, it's acceptable, but he was just blatantly homophobic, and shame on you, Mr. Culliver. I'm glad you apologized.

The other big story is this advertisement for Volkswagen that features a white Midwestern man feigning a Jamaican accent, and people have accused it of being racist. Again, my view of it is, a lot of fuss about nothing. Because even the Jamaican tourism minister says he found it not only funny, but brilliantly Jamaican. Because, A, it's a very cool accent, and secondly, it makes out that Jamaica is a happy, positive thing. I mean, is that the worst thing that could be said about a country?

NICHOLS: Well, it's certainly good to hear that from the Jamaican government. I know I as an American is happy to wake up in the morning and realized you haven't offended another country since that does seem to happen. But I think that there is something about having controversies at the Super Bowl, Piers. Everybody wants to have one.

And look, they've got to be loving it over at Volkswagen because Super Bowl ads, $4 million nearly to get 30 seconds. We've probably done about 30 seconds here and you and I are giving it for free. So they've got to be happy. They say they haven't gotten a lot of complaints, and we're giving them free advertising. So all's well, I guess, that ends well.

MORGAN: Yes. Well, Jamaica is a very good place. I've got lots of good friends there, including Usain Bolt, the sprinter. And I'm sure they all thought it was just a bit of -- a bit of fun.

Well, it's been great to talk to you, Rachel. This is your debut, I think, on CNN. I think you know you've really cracked it, though, when I hear you giving a big report on cricket. So the sooner you get yourself over to England, can get stuck into some cricket, the better.

NICHOLS: Well, I heard there was a legendary match in 2008 that you were involved in. So I'm going to look into that a little bit. heard there was a legendary match in 2008 you were involved in. I'm going to look into that a little bit. I'll bone up on my cricket and I'll get back to you.


MORGAN: Rachel, it's a great pleasure to have you on the show and to welcome you to the network. Thank you very much.

NICHOLS: Thank you.

MORGAN: This Sunday Rachel Nichols and Ernie Johnson host "Kickoff in New Orleans," a CNN and "Bleacher Report Special" at Saturday, 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

And coming up, my exclusive with Casey Anthony's attorney, J. Cheney Mason.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To the charge of first-degree murder, verdict as to count one, we the jury find the defend not guilty. As to the charge of aggravated child abuse, verdict as to count two, we the jury find the defendant not guilty. As to the charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child, verdict as to count three, we the jury find the defendant not guilty.


MORGAN: The verdict that shocked America. Casey Anthony found not guilty of murdering her daughter, Caylee. Today, Casey is unemployed and bankrupt. Also appearing more in public. So what is life like now?

With me now for an exclusive interview was the attorney for Casey Anthony, J. Cheney Mason.

Welcome back to you, Cheney Mason. How are you?

J. CHENEY MASON, CASEY ANTHONY ATTORNEY: I'm fine. Nice to see you again.

MORGAN: Lots of developments since we last spoke, and obviously last time, I got a chance to speak privately, not on camera, to your client. And she was clearly at the time feeling pretty vulnerable. She was in hiding. She insisted to me, I -- obviously I didn't kill my daughter, she said.

Since then, the developments have been that two of her four convictions were vacated by the Court of Appeals and you had said we will keep fighting. Secondly, she was declared bankrupt last week. "L.A. Times" said she's close to $1 million in debt.

What can you tell me about those developments?

MASON: Well, we won in the appellate court, a reversal of two of the four misdemeanor convictions, and Miss (INAUDIBLE) and I are preparing, even started today, we will be filing some more pleas in the appellate court seeking further relief to dismiss all of those remaining two charges.

As to the bankruptcy case, that's not something that I am involved in other than as counsel to Casey. We have a bankruptcy lawyer who has filed because clearly she has no money, she has no assets, she has no job, she has no business. And there are people trying to sue her for lots of money for reasons best known to them. Perhaps self-aggrandizing and publicity, but Casey is insolvent. That is a test for bankruptcy under United States law.

MORGAN: There's been a big Lifetime Original movie in the last couple of weeks made about Casey. It starred Rob Lowe and it's called "Prosecuting Casey Anthony." I interviewed Rob about this. And he said the following.


MORGAN: Would you have personally convicted Casey Anthony from what you now know about the case? ROB LOWE, ACTOR, "PROSECUTING CASEY ANTHONY": It's my personal opinion that she absolutely had something to do with her daughter's death. I don't know if it was an accident or if it was premeditated. That I don't know to this day, but there's no doubt in my mind at all that she's responsible.


MORGAN: Rob Lowe there, he played the prosecutor in the case. And what was your view of that? Did you see the movie? Did Casey see the movie?

MASON: I did watch the movie. And certain amounts of humor. It was a distortion of the truth. That's why I didn't participate in it. I had been contacted by the moviemakers at the very beginning and asked to participate and comment, and they told me it was a story to espouse the prosecutor's view.

I refused, and I never had anything further to do with it. And I wouldn't now. It was a distortion from the truth. My view is indeed that the character personalities were distorted, and you know, as you earlier led in, talk about the verdict that shocked America, and America wouldn't have been shocked if the truth had been presented.

America wouldn't have been shocked except for the media hyping it for their own advertising and rating purposes. The case was fairly simple, frankly. After all the things we had to go through, there was no evidence saying Casey killed that child, period. And I don't care what movie plot is dramatized, personal (INAUDIBLE) of somebody else. That's the bottom line.

The jury saw it, and the lawyers and the judges around the country have seen it. And I'm seeing a great shift in people, starting to understand. You're right. They didn't prove the case. Because they didn't have a case.

MORGAN: And did Casey herself see the movie, do you know?

MASON: You know what, I don't -- I spoke with her. I know she was not intending to watch it because she knew that it would be what it is. She may have seen reruns of it by now. But, you know, I'm sure the position is the same.

MORGAN: How would you describe her state of mind? Obviously, she's got a lot of problems. And obviously, the movie will have done nothing, I guess, to change many Americans' perception that she must have had something to do with her daughter's death even though she was, as you say, cleared in the court of law of having anything to do with her death.

How are you going to try and work through this in terms of client management and changing public perception?

MASON: Well, I guess there's so many things we have to worry about changing in society. During my almost 70 years, we have watched people change attitudes and opinions on racial questions, political questions, economic questions, military questions. Everything that affects our lives. There are people who are never going to accept the reality. There are those who are committed to believing in spire of the absence of evidence that Casey killed her child and must have had something to do with it. I can't change those people. They're just going to have to die off of old age.

The bottom line is that people sometimes get so cast in positions based on what they read, see and hear from sound bites and short media presentations that there is no objective intellect to do evaluations. They just go with it.

We're seeing the same thing in your main program earlier, which I have been watching. How do you change people's mentalities about some things that they're just married to?

MORGAN: I mean, one of the ways, of course, could be that she gives an interview, perhaps to me on this show, and speaks honestly for an hour about her experience and tries to communicate with the American public who still doubt her innocence.

MASON: Well, you know, look, Casey has been besieged by people, a lot of whom -- some lawyers, some others involved, I would characterize as being the moths that get to close to the fire. Just can't resist staying away from something for their own self-promotion.

Casey did not kill her child. And I don't care how many people want to believe otherwise and say I'm just a defense lawyer. I'm a defense lawyer. I have been one for 42 years. And I have handled quite a few homicide cases. You have to deal with facts that are truthful whether you like them or not. You have to deal with the evidence. That's why we have rules of evidence.

And we had a case that was hard fought. We didn't have a judge that was helping us. We had a judge that was very stern in that courtroom about his rulings. We had all of the media hype in the world, as you well know, everybody condemning Casey, proclaiming her guilt until the jury came in and, as you said, shocked the world.

My gosh, they looked objectively at it and they came out. Those people who choose not to believe that are not going to change their minds because they have watched Piers Morgan and Cheney Mason saying that. I understand that. All I can say is stop and question. Question authority. Question the facts and say, OK, what did we miss that the jury got? This could go on forever.

MORGAN: What is Casey's relationship now with her family? Obviously, the case, the trial tore them all apart, but has there been any repairing of the damage there?

MASON: I don't think so. I know Casey would like to have a normal life, if there is such thing ever available in her future. It's not likely to be with a family that prosecuted her. It's not likely to be with someone who went to a grand jury and testified against her to help get her indicted. It's not likely to be family that did all they could to try to help the state kill her.

I should never forgive those in the family that did that, and I don't think Casey will either.

MORGAN: She's lost her daughter. She's lost her relationship with her closest family members. She's got no money. She clearly, I would imagine, continues to feel vulnerable, frightened. You know her state of mind better than mine. It's a pretty awful place to find yourself, particularly, if as that jury concluded, she was innocent of anything to do with her daughter's death. How is she coping with this on a human level?

MASON: The best way I can describe it is with anxiety. Casey wants to have a normal life. She wants to be left alone. She wants lawyers to quit suing her in meaningless, non-meritorious lawsuits that can only be characterized as being done for their own publicity and aggrandizement, without merit. She needs to be left alone. And that's why she filed a petition for bankruptcy, so the federal bankruptcy court can help her be left alone. And people just quit trying to profit off of her and her emotions and the tragedy. It's going to be a long time for her.

MORGAN: Does she have much exposure to meeting members of the public? And if she does, what is the kind of reaction that she gets?

MASON: She does not have current exposure. I can tell you that there are members of the public still today who when they see me and/or some of the other lawyer team, like Liz Fryer, confront and question and are argumentative. However, there are also substantially more now that are saying, you know, good job. I understand. I now know. I think the jury was right. You know, they should not have convicted her.

So along that process is Casey. She's sitting back there where she can't go out for fear of retaliation. Her personal safety is continually at risk. There are plenty of cowards out there that would try to confront this 105-pound little girl and challenge her because of their ignorance. That's not going to go away anytime soon.

But her team of lawyers that I helped assemble, and we put together to do this, are going to continue to fight for her, to protect her and help her try at some point to have a normal life. I don't know when that's going to be since we have media doing such cute things as saying she is the most hated woman in the world. How can she go do anything like that? How can she walk down the street of Manhattan or Miami or Orlando or Houston, anywhere else, without people pointing and whispering and some wanting to get their few minutes of fame by assaulting and threatening her?

We're doing our best to prevent that from happening. So she will remain in seclusion as long as it takes.

MORGAN: J. Cheney Mason, thank you very much indeed for joining me.

MASON: Thank you.

MORGAN: When we come back, the movie that's getting lots of Oscar buzz, "Silver Linings Playbook" and the real life issue of mental illness. I'll take to director David O. Russell. And Jennifer Lawrence is racing to my studio at high speed and may or may not make it. This is actually quite dramatic. I hope she does.



ROBERT DENIRO, ACTOR: It might have made you feel worse about your behavior, but I had -- I didn't know anything. I didn't know how to handle it. I mean, (inaudible) about but us spending time now.


MORGAN: Scene from "Silver Linings Playbook," the multi-Oscar nominated film that has critics and fans raving. It's funny. It's powerful. It's moving. It's inspiring. Here now, the man who made it all happen, Oscar nominated director and screen writer David O. Russell. Welcome to you, David.


MORGAN: So we have this drama unfurling of Jennifer Lawrence speeding her way here. She may or may not make it in time. If she doesn't, viewers, we're going to interview her after the show and run it tomorrow night. So either way, you will get some lashings of Lawrence.

But you're the guy who --

RUSSELL: She's true to her character in the film.

MORGAN: A diva.


MORGAN: I would expect nothing else. If I'm -- if I was as talented as she is, I would be a diva, too. Let's talk about "Silver Linings Playbook." It is a real labor of love for you. The reason being that obviously the character played by Bradley Cooper is a bipolar character. He has mental problems. And the movie takes you through this journey as he comes out of it on the other end.

Your son suffers from very similar issues. And it was a very personal thing for you. Tell me about that.

RUSSELL: When you're the parent of a child with a mood disorder, it takes over your life. And it did with me and my -- Matthew's mother Janet. And you find yourself in a maelstrom of doctors, because they have moods that can turn your house upside down like in moments, in a simple conversation. It is very different than what I think many people would expect normally.

And I was very inspired when -- the whole thing to me is to make these people feel loved and supported and embraced. You would do anything for your child, wouldn't you?


RUSSELL: I would do anything to help my child feel a part of the world. So I thought how wonderful it would be if you could make a movie that could be a great story, it would be funny, it could be real and it would be emotional, and it would be about people like this, people Jennifer and Bradley play.

MORGAN: What I like about it, it doesn't sugar coat the illness aspect. It doesn't try and enter some sort of fantasy world with it. It's real, it's there, and it has to be dealt with. It's how the characters -- quite uniquely, I think, all four of the lead characters in the movies have all been Oscar nominated. I can see why, because they all play such vital roles in this journey of the mental illness becoming not accepted so much as dealt with in the proper way, not stigmatized.

And that's the key message I drew from the movie, that the way to deal with this -- you know, 100 million Americans suffer from some form of mental illness, depression or whatever. You can't have that number of people in America feeling stigmatized. You have got to do more to help them embrace it and deal with it.

RUSSELL: I couldn't say it better than you said it. The embracing aspect of Jennifer and Bradley's character is everything. I have had so many people come forward to me since the film has been out and say, thank God. I myself -- someone comes up and says, I'm bipolar and I will never again not take my medication. Or thank you, I was never able to talk about it. I would never talk about it. Now I feel I can talk about it.

And this is how we as a society end up dealing with it, only when it's a crisis, which is nuts. I mean, you know, I personally felt stigmatized being the only one often, very often, at a school or in restaurant, anywhere, with our son facing these challenges. The other parents at the school where he goes, the Glenhome School, have meant everything to our family, because you become a community and you know. You know each other.

But to embrace it and remove the stigma and not regard it as other gives us a chance to begin to embrace it and know it and treat it and not ignore it or push it aside.

MORGAN: Well, I hope anyone who suffers from any mental illness or who is related to somebody who does goes and sees the movie, because it will give them, I think, the inspiration for how it should best be dealt with. We're going to have to take a break here, because we have breaking news. Jennifer Lawrence is in the building. The diva has arrived. So she will join us after the break.



JENNIFER LAWRENCE, ACTRESS: I want to thank David. You made a movie that was -- you made a movie for your son, so that he wouldn't feel alone and so that he could feel understood. And I think I can speak on behalf of most of us in saying that you helped more than your son. You helped so many sons and daughters and husbands, wives, everybody.



MORGAN: Back with director David O. Russell. That's Jennifer Lawrence's heartfelt speech for winning the SAG award for best actress. Jennifer is outside my studio, isn't coming in yet. Not quite sure why. Can you shed any light on this, David?

RUSSELL: I think it's all mysterious.

MORGAN: Has she had another wardrobe malfunction?

RUSSELL: Yes, I think so.

MORGAN: Tell me about Jennifer Lawrence as an actress, since she's not coming out to tell me herself.

RUSSELL: You know, we -- I wrote this script five years ago and I tried to make it five years ago. And I was frustrated, Piers. But it turned out to be my silver lining, because Jennifer Lawrence was in high school five years ago. So she's -- I think there's something very special about her. She was the first Skype audition I ever did, from her parents' home in Kentucky. She dressed up like the character. She knocked it out of the park.

She's very authentic and unpretentious and un-precious about herself. She has a confidence that is very much like the character in the film. She at one moment -- but she can still be very vulnerable. In one moment, she seems like she's 40 and the next she seems like she's 18.

She showed up for the film, she looked a little starved from her first two pictures, "X-Men" and "Hunger Games." I said, gosh, why don't you eat? I want to you look like a real woman in this. I don't want you to be starving yourself. And she said, oh, my God, no director has ever said that to me before. And she went out and got a deep-fried Philly cheese steak. And that opened up her spirit to the whole picture, I think, in a way.

She felt very comfortable and she jumped into the role and gave it a lot of herself.

MORGAN: Like I said, having four stars all getting nominated, in all the categories, pretty unique. It probably has been done before. I can't remember it in modern times.

RUSSELL: It's been 31 years.

MORGAN: It's been 31 years, right. So a great achievement. It must, from your point of view, be almost like a holy grail of achievement, isn't it? It's like the ultimate thing that you would wish for? RUSSELL: I'm very proud of it. That was what I had most hoped for. I was the happiest that Robert Deniro and Jackie Weaver and Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper all were nominated, because our film is about performance. It's about personality. It's about emotion. It's not about really anything else but humans struggling in their family every day.

And so to have each one recognized -- we created a world and a home, Piers. We were in a home in Philadelphia with Italian food cooking for the 32 days of our shoot. And for them to be acknowledged for everything they crafted -- I mean, Bradley Cooper had to create a character who was bipolar. When is he lucid? When is he too much? He had to craft that. It's very specific. Jennifer had to craft --

MORGAN: Wait. She's approaching at high speed. That's what I'm talking about.

LAWRENCE: Sorry. I was doing Kimmel and I got pulled of Kimmel.

MORGAN: Nevermind Kimmel.

LAWRENCE: Apparently late. I'm so sorry.



MORGAN: This is as good as it gets, the world's hottest actress, better late than never, young lady.

LAWRENCE: I had no idea I was late.

MORGAN: How are you?

LAWRENCE: Hi. I'm good.

MORGAN: You look fabulous.

LAWRENCE: Thank you.

MORGAN: How was Kimmel? I don't care. Don't answer that.

LAWRENCE: It ran late, apparently.

MORGAN: Now I want to read you a quote. This is from "Rolling Stone Magazine." And the review said that you were some kind of miracle. "She's rude, dirty, funny, foul-mouthed, sloppy, sexy, vibrant and vulnerable, sometimes all in the same scene, even in the same breath. No list of best actress Oscar contenders would be complete without the electrifying Lawrence in the lead. She lights up the screen."

LAWRENCE: Oh, my God.

MORGAN: I mean, wow.


MORGAN: Do you plead guilty to all those descriptions?

LAWRENCE: I'm going to have to read over them again but --

MORGAN: Let's go through them. Are you rude?

LAWRENCE: Well, unintentionally, yes, unfortunately.

MORGAN: Are you dirty?

LAWRENCE: Well, I mean -- I'm not dirty. What does that mean? No, I am not dirty.

RUSSELL: In the best way --

LAWRENCE: I'm not afraid of dirt.

MORGAN: That's a good compromise.

LAWRENCE: There we go.

MORGAN: Are you funny? We know you are funny.

LAWRENCE: I'm hilarious.

MORGAN: Are you foul-mouthed?


MORGAN: Are you going to try and change that?

LAWRENCE: Yes, I am working on it.

MORGAN: Are you going to try to be better?


MORGAN: Are you sloppy?

LAWRENCE: Yeah. This is horrible. Why did I even rush here.

MORGAN: Are you sexy?


MORGAN: You don't think you're sexy?


MORGAN: Really?

LAWRENCE: No. I mean -- well, I mean, no.

MORGAN: What do you think when you look in the mirror?

LAWRENCE: Well -- I -- I just -- I'm just trying to figure out what to do with what I got. It's like, all right.

MORGAN: Are you vibrant? I think you're vibrant.

LAWRENCE: I can be colorful. I can be loud.

MORGAN: Vulnerable?


MORGAN: What have you got to be vulnerable about? You're the best actress in the world right now?

LAWRENCE: Thank you. Well -- well, I think everybody has their own, like -- it's a very -- it's a very easy place to be vulnerable. Everybody kind of seems to know everything about you and so --

MORGAN: What I loved about you, I loved your speeches. I love your acting, obviously. But let's move on to more fun stuff. You speeches are hilarious and sort of completely different to most speeches, because they actually make me laugh and they seem very sincere. And you don't seem to mind if you slightly ruffle a few feathers.

But I also love your brilliant recoveries from wardrobe malfunctions. Let's take a look at this. This was from the Globes the other day. Because this was genius. Every woman I know --

LAWRENCE: Oh, God. Don't do it. Don't play it.

MORGAN: I think we've got it.

LAWRENCE: Oh, my God. Oh my God. I haven't seen this yet. No.

Oh, god.

Here it comes.

RUSSELL: What happened? What happened?

LAWRENCE: My pants fell off.

RUSSELL: What? Your pants fell off?

LAWRENCE: Well, wait, somebody trips me on the way. I remember that.

RUSSELL: Your pants?

LAWRENCE: Yeah. I got tripped. Yep. There it starts to fall off. And then I'm keeping it together, keeping it together. And then my pants fall off again. Oh --

RUSSELL: What pants --

LAWRENCE: Yep. Oh, God. Oh, God.

MORGAN: We're going to take a break and get your clearly shocked reaction.

LAWRENCE: It was a tiered dress.

MORGAN: Save your reaction. We'll be back in a moment.


MORGAN: So this is a TV cliff hanger. Jennifer Lawrence has been persuaded by my seductive British charms to stay here. And after this show finishes, we're going to carry on the interview with her and David O. Russell. And we're going to run it all tomorrow night.

So you get a double dose of the hottest actress in the world and indeed the hottest director. So thank you for joining me. It's been a wonderfully chaotic evening. And tomorrow will be a little bit more measured. And we'll talk Oscars and fame.

But that's all for us tonight. You two stay here.