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Ed Koch: The Final Interview; Super Bowl Preview

Aired February 1, 2013 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, his final interview.


ED KOCH, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: God gave me a very good hand to play over my 88 years. I have no regrets.


MORGAN: The late great former New York mayor, Ed Koch -- as brash as the city he led.


KOCH: I changed the city of New York. I gave people back their morale.


MORGAN: On his own words, a true American original.

Plus, game on.

Our Super Bowl preview, the big game, the big hits. CNN's Rachel Nichols and Pat O'Brien cover it all.

Also, this just in. Jennifer Lawrence --


MORGAN: Wait, she's approaching at high speed.

DAVID O. RUSSELL, FILMMAKER: That's what I'm talking ability.

MORGAN: Thank goodness. This is breaking news.



MORGAN: After Thursday's electrifying entrance, the two-time Oscar nominee brings back the drama and her director, David O. Russell.


LAWRENCE: I have been incredibly blessed.


MORGAN: And she reveals what she really thinks of me.


LAWRENCE: We were just texting earlier with Russ. Like I had to tell him that I was going to be here tonight. And he was like, what are you talking about? I said, I'm going to be on Piers Morgan with you, and his reply was, "Ooh, we're going to be so cool."




MORGAN: Good evening.

On a day of a deadly attack on a U.S. embassy in Turkey and rising protests across Egypt, with the changing of the guard in the State Department, we paused tonight to pay tribute to great American, Ed Koch, an untiring politician, the former mayor of New York died of congestive heart failure at 88.

He was colorful, controversial, charming and honest. He ran the city he loved for three terms. And after leaving his office, he never slowed down and always spoke his mind. Ed Koch was really one of a kind.

I sat down with him just three weeks ago in what turned out to be his last ever TV interview. We covered a lot of ground, including a new documentary about him fittingly called "Koch".

We want to bring all of my conversation with the great man tonight and a tribute to his extraordinary life and legacy.


MORGAN: It's an honor to have you here tonight, Mr. Mayor. How are you?

KOCH: I'm in good shape.

MORGAN: New York's a fascinating story, I think, because when I first came here, I think in the mid-'70s, it was pretty rough. I mean, I felt pretty intimidated walking around as a young 13 or 14 year old in Central Park.

KOCH: Reasonable to feel that way.

MORGAN: Yes. And there's been an extraordinary transformation under a succession of mayors, starting with you. When you look at what's happened to this city -- and you made the documentary. Obviously, it's a key part of that. How do you feel? How do you feel your legacy --

KOCH: I will tell you frankly. I believe that I created the foundation. I changed the city of New York. I gave people back their morale. I built 250,000 housing units and affordable rentals and a whole host of other things.

And it created the climate for what ultimately others after me, David Dinkins and Rudy Giuliani and the current mayor, Mike Bloomberg -- particularly him -- have done. We are once again the capital -- international capital of the world. I honestly, truly believe that.

MORGAN: When you look at what's happening in the gun debate in America, clearly New York took a real stand about this and was very successful. New York is becoming a pretty safe city by -- certainly by comparison to places like Chicago.

What is your view of this debate right now and what should be done?

KOCH: I believe we need a constitutional amendment to really address the issue. Because when we're doing it, as we are currently doing it, a little bit at a time, and then the United States Supreme Court has a tendency to strike down what we do -- Washington, D.C. banned guns. The United States Supreme Court said you can't do it.

The only really true way of handling it is a constitutional amendment. But until that happens, because it's difficult, you want to do what you can. And what's currently on the table are semiautomatic guns, to ban them. And as everybody says, you don't shoot a deer with a semiautomatic.

MORGAN: The gun rights people -- I had a very animated one on last night. They said you can't do this. Under the Second Amendment, I'm entitled to have a semiautomatic firearm if I want one.

KOCH: Now, we don't -- we don't think so. The court will have to ultimately decide that, but as far as I understand it, none of the cases have said that you're entitled to a semiautomatic.

Under his theory, he's entitled to a canon.


Does it depress you that even following a massacre as we saw at Sandy Hook School, there are still so many Americans who want no change at all?

KOCH: Well, you know, they're not evil people. They're not evil people. Some are, but most of them are not. And they've now been inculcated with the idea that if you any reduction of any right at all, it's a slippery slope. They're wrong.

But I can understand that they've been brainwashed by their leadership who, in my judgment, are evil. And --

MORGAN: The NRA you're talking about?

KOCH: Yes, I'm talking about the NRA.

MORGAN: Why are politicians so cowed by the NRA?

KOCH: Because they marshal money for the opponents, and they have been successful in defeating candidates.

MORGAN: When you look at America in totality, with the huge financial crisis that's obviously enveloped the country and the other issues that it's had to deal with, where do you think the country is right now? Where does it need to get to quite, do you think, to maybe get back on its feet properly?

KOCH: Well, I believe that we're not doing enough to deal with the national debt. There had been talk about raising, over a 10-year- period, $4 trillion and cutting the expense budget three dollars for every dollar in revenue. They haven't done anything like that.

I believe that if people stand up -- and there are lots of people who want to stand up. I'm only sorry that Mayor Bloomberg didn't run a third party.

MORGAN: I mean, he is, to me, one of the most impressive people in American politics.

KOCH: Yes, he is. To me, too.

MORGAN: I wouldn't say wasted, because he's doing a fabulous job as the mayor of New York. But he's somebody that has the personal financial clout. And he has the independence of mind and the courage, I think, to really make a difference.

KOCH: Right, right. And he didn't --

MORGAN: I don't see many Bloombergs in Washington right now.

KOCH: You're absolutely right. They're all cowards.

Mayor Bloomberg made it on his own. I mean, this is not inherited wealth. And I believe that the areas of his interest -- gun control and obesity and other things of the nature that help the public, that he's done an enormously fine job.

And he has brought New York City to the point where now, under me -- because remember when I came in, we were on the edge of bankruptcy. So I'm not responsible for A, B, my predecessors and those who really killed the city, including the municipal unions who really took such advantage of us. But the high of murders when I came in, 2,500 a year. Now, it's under 400 or about 400.

MORGAN: When you saw the appointment of Chuck Hagel, you were pretty outspoken.

KOCH: Yes.

MORGAN: Why were you so animated?

KOCH: Well, firstly, I want to say this: I don't think he's anti-Semitic. I have no basis for saying that. I do believe he's hostile to Israel, but he has a right to his position.

What was interesting to me was Tom Friedman, his first sponsor that I read, his column said that he is not mainstream. This was Tom Friedman who is advocating Hagel. And then his opponents say he's not mainstream.

Well why would you want a guy who is not mainstream in charge of one of the most important agencies, the Defense Department? He's opposed to sanctions against Iran. He's also opposed to war.

Well, if you don't believe in sanctions and you don't believe in war, what do you think we should do as it relates to stopping Iran from getting the nuclear bomb?

He believes that there should be much greater light, distance, separation between Israel and the United States so as to make the Arab countries more friendly to us.

They want to kill us. They want to kill Christians and Jews. And they say you're going to convert either voluntarily or by force. And that's been their history.

So why would we want to jettison -- which is really the way I feel he's acting -- the only democratic state in that area that we can rely on, Israel, in exchange for having the sheikhs and the kings and the presidents in Egypt and Lebanon and Syria and Iraq toasting with orange juice Hagel's appointment?

MORGAN: In terms of the Israel/Palestine situation, do you think that any kind of lasting peace settlement can be achieved without --

KOCH: Yes, but in your lifetime, not in my. I'll tell you why.


MORGAN: You don't think sitting with Hamas --

KOCH: Not in our lifetime.

MORGAN: Really?


MORGAN: Isn't that very dispiriting?

KOCH: You want me to tell me the truth or do you want me to stroke you?

MORGAN: No. KOCH: OK. There are two people who are quite important in the Arab areas of Palestine. One is the leader of Gaza who just a week ago said we will destroy Israel; we will never sit down; Tel Aviv belongs to us, Jaffa, Haifa, Jerusalem. In their charter, they say every Jew came to mandated Palestine after 1917 must be expelled.

So how can you do business with him? You can't. He wants to kill you.

Then, you have Abu Abbas, who is the nominal leader, I call him, president of the Palestinian Authority, who hasn't wanted to sit down with the Israelis, who have said let's sit down around any table, no conditions; let's not leave the room until we have peace.

He's afraid if he entered into a peace treaty with Israel that his own people would execute him. They don't want a peace. What they want is a single state where the Jews will be submerged and the Arabs will impose Sharia or whatever else their Islamic religion requires.

MORGAN: But when you look at the obvious oppression of nearly 2 million Palestinians on the Gaza Strip in particular, it's a terribly depressing --

KOCH: Sure.

MORGAN: -- soulless, helpless situation.

KOCH: And they can change it. They can change it.

MORGAN: Can only they change it or do the Israelis have to also give a little bit?

KOCH: Of course, the Israelis --

MORGAN: Is everything about compromise.

KOCH: Of course, the Israelis have to give, and they will. And Olmert, who was the prime minister, said he was within a hair's breath of dealing with Abu Abbas. But it's the fear that the Palestinian leadership has that if they enter into a treaty with Israel, they will be murdered.

MORGAN: When you see the political rhetoric being deployed not just there, but in Washington in particular, it's so vicious now.

KOCH: It is.

MORGAN: You went through a bit of this yourself, very personal in nature.

KOCH: Right.

MORGAN: When you see it now, is it as bad as it's ever been, do you think?

KOCH: Worse. I enjoyed my stay in the Congress. Most people do not. And too many people who have been elected really don't understand the nature of government.

Government is compromise.

MORGAN: Hmm, doing a deal.

KOCH: Doing a deal.

MORGAN: With always in the back of their minds the national interest, not their own personal interests.

KOCH: Correct.

MORGAN: Your speculation about who may be the next president, because President Obama is in his last four years now. Hillary Clinton? Could we be facing our first female president?

KOCH: I am for Hillary. I think she is beloved as a figure today. And I believe that if she runs, and I think that she will, she will be our president. And I'll be delighted to --

MORGAN: You get two for the price of one, don't you? You get Bill back in the White House.

KOCH: And you get me as an advancement.

MORGAN: See, people -- exactly -- see people talk about the Second Amendment, the First Amendment, the one that was a terrible mistake was the Second Amendment.

KOCH: Two terms.

MORGAN: Yes, absolutely. Bill Clinton would still be president, wouldn't he?

KOCH: Well, I am for term limits, but I'm for three terms.

MORGAN: Right. Who would be the next mayor of New York?

KOCH: Well, I am for Christine Quinn, but it's a wide open race.

MORGAN: Pretty tough act to follow, isn't he, Michael Bloomberg?

KOCH: Very, very tough.


MORGAN: More of the last interview with Ed Koch coming up, including what he said about the gravestone he had already erected years ago.



KOCH: I knew that the city was in dire peril when I ran. I also knew that of all those who were running or thinking of running, I knew more than they did.

How am I doing?




MORGAN: The documentary, it's a fascinating film in many ways. What I loved most of all was that you've already done your own grave.

KOCH: Yes, I have.

MORGAN: You made it. You've got the tombstone. We have a picture I think of it here. There it is, "Here lies Ed Koch." So you're in a unique position of writing or verbally espousing your own obituary.

What do you say?

KOCH: It's on a subway stop, too.

MORGAN: Is it really?


KOCH: It is the --

MORGAN: What was the thinking behind that?

KOCH: It is the only operating cemetery in Manhattan. I wanted to be buried in Manhattan. And the Trinity Church has a non- denominational cemetery, which is what this is. And it's the only functioning one.

The one down in Wall Street, you have to be incinerated. I don't want to be incinerated.


MORGAN: When you look at your own grave, which is something that very, very people ever do, Mr. Mayor, what do you think when you look at it?

KOCH: Well, I want to tell you, I -- I'm secular but I believe in God. I believe in the hereafter. I believe in reward and punishment. And I expect to be rewarded.

God gave me a very good hand to play over my 88 years. I have no regrets. MORGAN: What have been your greatest achievements and your --

KOCH: To be mayor of the city of New York.

You know, here I am 22 years out of office, I walk down the street, people who were 8 years old when I was mayor know me. The motto that I had, "How am I doing?" --


KOCH: -- everybody knows that. And I first uttered it in 1969.

New York, the people have given me so much. On my gravestone, I say I fiercely love the people of the City of New York.

MORGAN: Is that what it says?

KOCH: Yes.

MORGAN: I thought it might say, "How am I doing? Not very well."


KOCH: No. It's not on there.

MORGAN: What would be, when you're honest about everything -- and the documentary is very brutally honest in parts.

KOCH: Yes.

MORGAN: What has been your biggest failure, do you think?

KOCH: I'll tell you. The biggest fault, if you will, is when we closed Sydenham, which was a hospital run by black doctors. And every mayor going back to Wagner --

MORGAN: That was in Harlem, wasn't it?

KOCH: Yes, it was.

Every mayor going back to Wagner said they were going to close it -- Wagner, Lindsey, me -- because it gave terrible service and it cost more per patient than the best hospitals in New York. But you were risking your life going there.

And so, I said I'll close it, because that's what the experts told me to do. But what I didn't realize was the psychological pain and attachment that the black community had, understandably, because it was the first hospital that admitted black doctors when other hospitals would not.

Now, I didn't appreciate that. I wanted to do it on the merits.

What is interesting is that under Governor Cuomo, they're going to close -- they were going to close some state hospitals. And Steve Burger was the chairman. And they asked me -- I had a question. I was in the audience.

And I said -- my question was, do you think I did the right thing in closing Sydenham. Of course you did. And I'm saying to myself, jerks. Don't you ever learn?


MORGAN: Mr. Mayor, it's a terrific documentary. Lovely to see you.

KOCH: Thank you so much.


MORGAN: The late, great Ed Koch. What a life he led. As "The New York Times" put it, "He is survived by New York itself."



ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: This Super Bowl matchup has it all. The Harbaughs, Ray Lewis, Colin Kaepernick, Joe Flacco, the Pistol offense, and the list goes on.


MORGAN: The NFL commissioner on Sunday's big game. More than 100 million viewers will watch the Super Bowl in New Orleans where the Ravens and 49ers, call it an East Coast /West Coast thing.

CNN anchor and reporter Rachel Nichols joins me again.

Now, Rachel, make me excited about this. As a kind of rookie myself in the world of Super Bowls, why is this one going to be special, as the commissioner seems to suggest?

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN ANCHOR & SPORTS REPORTER: This is a great Super Bowl. This is going to be a close one. There's been games in the past that have been blow-outs, they get boring. Everyone is watching the third and fourth quarter just for the commercials.

This is one where we expect to come down to maybe the final two minutes, maybe a final field goal, something like that. These are two teams that are well-matched. If you look at the experts picking games, a lot of them are coming down on each side, there isn't an overwhelming favorite.

And there's some excitement, too. The San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick is a new style of quarterback. He's a running quarterback in a way, but also throws, like he's just on a shot close line down the field. He's exciting.

And then, on the other side, you've got Ray Lewis, a veteran, one of the most visible players in the NFL retiring after this game and certainly would like to go out with a win. So, we're going to see a lot on both sides, and, of course, the brothers.

MORGAN: What else should we be looking out for? What are the big issues surrounding the Super Bowl that you think America will be talking about?

NICHOLS: Yes. Well, Roger Goodell, you guys just showed a little clip of him, and the biggest issue with him is player safety. Even the president of the United States, Barack Obama, called out the commissioner and called out the NFL on the idea of player safety. Barack Obama said, if I had a son, I'm not sure I would let him play football. That caused a huge ripple effect now. Of course, unless there's something Mrs. Obama is not telling us, this is really a moot point. He's not going to have a son. This is not going to be an issue.

However, this is America's game. It's been that way for so long. We do have two brothers here competing as head coaches in the Super Bowl because their father got them into this sport.

And now, so many parents around the country are wondering, is it safe for my kid to play football?

So, Roger Goodell today answered President Obama's words. He said that he -- while he welcomed the president's interest in this and that he, too, wants to make the game safer, he said that his own time in playing as a youth is something that he would never give back for any reason. And he brought up some of the things that the NFL is doing to trying to make the game safer, talking about the fact that they're now bringing independent neurologists, have those guys on the sideline. So, they're not associated with the team and they'll be able to tell players whether they think that they should be able to go back into the game.

He also talked about the idea of increasing the fines and suspensions for the kinds of hits and acts on the field that are going to be causing some of these issues. But I've got to tell you, Piers, there is controversy out there. The players don't think the moves that Goodell is making are really the right moves.

There was a survey recently within their own players association that nine out of 10 of the players in this league do not trust their own medical staff. That was very shaking to the NFL, and the idea that they basically think Goodell and a lot of the NFL is taking this showy road to sort of show people, fend off the lawsuits they're facing from former players -- that hey, we're worried about this. Hey, Mr. President, it's OK -- when in fact in training rooms and behind the scenes, they're not doing the kinds of things that would actually improve preventative care for these players.

So, a lot of controversy. There's a lot of back and forth between the guys on the field and the guys in the front offices will have to see how this all shakes up. But it affects parents out there, for sure.

MORGAN: Yes, of course, it does. Yes.

Now, I've got my fried chicken on order and my beer, my six-pack. What else do I need to really be an American watching the Super Bowl on Sunday?

NICHOLS: The beer is very important. Chips, pretzels, all that kind stuff, big chip and dip. You have to decide, are you a guacamole person, are you a salsa person?

What do you see? What's going to be in the Piers Super Bowl celebration here?

MORGAN: Well, guacamole reminds me of mushy peas, which we have in chips in England, so maybe I'm a guacamole kind of guy.

Rachel, a pleasure, as always. Good luck on Sunday. I will be watching with a kind of mystified eye, but I will try to enjoy myself.

Let's bring in a guy now who has covered many Super Bowls over the years, Pat O'Brien, the host of FOX Sports "Primetime."

Pat, how are you?

PAT O'BRIEN, HOST, FOX SPORTS "PRIMETIME": I'm fine, Piers. How are you?

MORGAN: Very good.

You're the perfect guy to ask. Where does this rank in terms of excitement, intrigue, plotting? Where do you put this one?

O'BRIEN: Well, the Super Bowl in America is -- should be a national holiday. By the way, Piers, this is real football, not the kind you play in your country.

MORGAN: Well, the one where they all have to wear helmets and padding, right?

O'BRIEN: I know. I did the first game at Wembley back in the day, and all of your citizens asked me, what are the -- why do they have pads? Why do they have helmets?

No, but it's a huge day. I mean, you can't imagine one day in any country being like this where everything just literally shuts down. And from the cities who get these Super Bowls, I was talking to Mayor Landrieu the other night, he told me maybe $340 million comes to this city here. That's a lot of hurricanes from Pat O'Brien. I'll tell you that. .

MORGAN: And that's great for New Orleans, actually, isn't it? I mean, it must be buzzing at the moment. Really good for them, for the economy there and for putting it back firmly, squarely on the American map after some pretty tough times.

O'BRIEN: Yeah, I mean, this is a city that has had the Super Bowl 10 times. They missed it the one year of Katrina, but they have also had the first Super Bowl after 9/11. But you can still walk around and see some signs of Katrina. But certainly they're not done here yet.

MORGAN: Now the big story really is these two brothers, the Harbaugh brothers, who are going to go at it. At the moment, they're pretending to be best buddies. But I've got two brothers, and when push came to shove, if we were up against each other in a Super Bowl or sporting contest of this magnitude, we would want to rip each other's throats out.

What is really going on between these two?

O'BRIEN: I think you're exactly right. I have a little brother. He does -- he's afraid of me. And Jim Harbaugh is afraid of John. America is afraid of Jim. But the chances of two brothers coaching in this fantastic football game -- the chances are almost like if you and I ended up coaching in this game. The idea of having two brothers from a football family go all this time and suddenly here they are across from each other at the Super Bowl, it's crazy.

MORGAN: Which of the two teams do you really fancy to win this one? I know, in the end, it's a bit of a lottery, the Super Bowl. But where are you seeing this one go?

O'BRIEN: Well, I used to like the 49ers a lot until I got here. Now I see the Ravens as a sort of team of destiny. Everything has gone right for them. And all these things kind of go in place. It's Ray Lewis' last year. And they're in my hotel, by the way. But they have been hidden away.

If you're a 49ers fan, by the way, the big story is Kaepernick, this quarterback who came out of nowhere. This is his 10th start in the NFL, is a super bowl, who is going to be the next big star. But I think I kind of lean towards the Ravens.

MORGAN: In terms of the nature of NFL at the moment, I suppose one of the biggest issues is the concussion issue, the impact issue. What is your view on that? And do you think people are overreacting or is it really time that the sport got to grips with this and did something about it?

O'BRIEN: No, I mean, the -- Yeah, good question. The president, of course, brought it up this week by saying, you know, he would think twice to let his son play football. But it's a real issue, Piers. It's a real issue.

Yesterday, we had -- Warren Moon came in and brought this new helmet that has all these things in it to prevent your brain from sloshing around. But it's a violent sport. And the thing about these players, they know what they signed up for.

But year after year, I was telling my producer, we see more and more guys coming in to the radio area, around town, that are crippled. They can't walk. A lot of them can't think straightly. So it's a real issue. And now there's over 1,000 lawsuits to the NFL. But the bottom line is it's what they signed up for, so there you go. MORGAN: If you were running it, would you bring in any new regulations to try to limit the impacts?

O'BRIEN: There's only so much you can do. They're protecting the quarterbacks. They have a zone now to hit somebody. Without taking away completely the game -- and the fans here are like your fans, like soccer fans or football fans in Europe, they're really passionate about the way the game is played. And a big hit is as good in this country as a catch.

But Roger Goodell, in the wake of what Obama said, has said we'll do everything we can. But you know what? It's still a game of violence.

MORGAN: Listen, I know what this game means to America. It's going to be a hell of a day on Sunday. I shall be glued to it, as always. I love the whole entertainment. I love the commercials. I love the football. I love the fact that it's such a huge part of American culture. And may the best team win.

Pat O'Brien, have fun down there, and thanks for joining me.

O'BRIEN: Hey, Piers, I'll see you soon. Thank you.

MORGAN: Pat O'Brien can be heard on his radio show, Fox Sports Prime time Featuring Pat O'Brien.

Coming next, Jennifer Lawrence's show stopping turn on my show. The Oscar nominated actress joins me to talk movies, wardrobe malfunctions, the whole lot and more. It's part two.


JENNIFER LAWRENCE, ACTRESS: Tonight, Piers, we were just texting earlier. I was like, I had to tell him that I was going to be here tonight. He said, what are you talking about? I said, I'm going to be on Piers Morgan with you. His reply was, oh, we're going to be so cool.




LAWRENCE: You are afraid to live. You're a hypocrite. You're a conformist. You're a liar. I opened up to you and you judged me. You're an ass. You are an ass. Get off of me. Get off. You're harassing me. He's harassing me.


MORGAN: Jennifer Lawrence in her SAG and Golden Globe winning role in "Silver Linings Playbook." She's up for an Oscar in a few weeks. Here is Jennifer herself, along with David O. Russell.

So we left viewers on cliffhanger, because you were a little late.

LAWRENCE: But it wasn't my fault.

MORGAN: I am not blaming you. It's just a fact. You've been rushed in, complete chaos. But I very generously decided to allow you to stay on my set, on the pretext that we could run it tonight.

LAWRENCE: And then we get to say my side later.

MORGAN: Exactly.

LAWRENCE: Then we get the truth.

MORGAN: OK. The cliffhanger we left the viewers was the brilliant recovery you made from your wardrobe malfunction at the Globes, where it appeared to me, as a casual viewer, that your entire dress was collapsing as you walked up to get this great award. Tell me what you were thinking as it began to fall apart?

LAWRENCE: I didn't feel anything, which is actually a lot worse because then I had this like blank look on my face.

WILLIAM O. RUSSELL, DIRECTOR: What is this that is happening?

MORGAN: Is it actually ripping?

LAWRENCE: No, it's a tiered dress, which I didn't understand until I was like, why can I see my thighs. Yeah, that's just the design of the dress. I guess if you put it on somebody with the coordination of my level, that's what's going to happen.

MORGAN: What I loved is the picture there of Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman and others just sharing the horror, as a woman, never mind anything else, of what could have been catastrophic. You just dusted yourself down and got on with it.

LAWRENCE: Yes. Just move on. Your pants fall off and you just keep going.

MORGAN: Talking of moving on, let's move on to your career, because it is -- to call it sizzling is to underestimate I think the impact you're having now. This is the second Oscar nomination for you. Can you quite believe it? You're 22 years old and this is exploding for you.

LAWRENCE: I know. It's absolutely incredible. I mean, I've -- yeah, I've been incredibly blessed.

MORGAN: When you were a little youngster, what was the dream for you?

LAWRENCE: I had a million dreams. I was going to be a doctor. That was -- I'm sorry, you hate it. I keep bumping David in the chair. I'm killing him. Look at him. I'm going to keep doing it.

MORGAN: I don't think he minds. LAWRENCE: No, he does.

Yeah, I was going to be a doctor, but I -- basically, I was always putting on shows. I would like put on an outfit and go and knock on our front door and be like, my name is Judy and my car just broke down. Can I use your phone?

So nobody -- yes, it was like I was always an actress. We just didn't really realize it until I became an actress and we were like, oh, that makes sense.

MORGAN: Tell me about your family, because I don't know much about you. You have sort of suddenly arrived in this blaze of glory. But tell me about your upbringing, your family, and what they make of all this?

LAWRENCE: I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. My whole family still lives in Kentucky. When I wanted to do this when I was 14, my parents weren't going to let me do it. And my brothers called and said, you guys followed us through the World Series. You guys have been all over the country with us. And you would do this for us if it were sports, and this is her baseball diamond. And you have to let her do it.

So it was because of my brothers that I was able to just get the chance. They were going to let me try it for the summer.

MORGAN: How do they feel now?

LAWRENCE: Now they're very relieved. They don't really think like I could have done anything else. So relieved and proud.

MORGAN: What does it take to be a great actress? Because that performance in your movie is a great performance, I think, by any yardstick. What does she have, Jennifer, that takes it to that kind of level?

RUSSELL: I think there's a soulfulness that's immediately there. You're not -- it's right there in her eyes and in her face, and in her -- the way she talks. I don't know how to express it except to point to her performance. I mean, she has a soulfulness that comes from her, and there's -- I don't want to embarrass her or sound -- I just think -- we were concerned she was too young for the role. I said, she almost has a timeless quality to her, which I do feel.

I feel like sometimes she feels like she's 18. Sometimes she feels like she's 40. And not only that, a realness. There's a lack of preciousness. There's not a frame around what she's doing. It's raw, and it's real. And it comes from part of her soul. And she just channels it right out there. And she's not afraid to jump in and do it any number of different ways.

And she has very good instincts. She'll tell you when she feels something is false and when she would like to find another way to do it. It's a great gift to a director to have an actor who has so much emotion readily available on their face. It's authentic emotion. It's from her. And it's a part of her.

And I hope -- I just don't know, it's a blessing to have someone channel that.

MORGAN: When he calls you and says, here is the deal. You're going to do love scenes with Bradley Cooper. And by the way, Robert De Niro is going to be here to give you acting tips. How many seconds did it take to say yes to that kind of thing?

LAWRENCE: About half a second. Yeah, I always wanted to work with David. He's my favorite director and has been for years.

MORGAN: And he's no shrinking violet. You have been very polite and nice with me. But you are known as a kid of enfant terrible of Hollywood. You have fallen out with people. You have feuded with people. You're known as being on the edge. And that gives you, I think, this brilliant edge as a director. But, you know, you don't suffer fools. You're not a shrinking guy, are you?

RUSSELL: What me?

LAWRENCE: I can't, because David, we're the same person. If we just -- David has this amazing quality, like tonight, when we were just texting earlier, where I was like -- I had to tell him I was going to be here tonight. He was like, what are you talking about? I was like, yes, I am going to be on Piers Morgan with you. And his reply was, oh, we're going to be so cool.

His thought process is almost like a child's, where it's just so pure and honest. And he's a genius. And he just has such a pure way of looking at the world. And he also is very visual and is brilliant. And -- and he's the sweetest person that I have ever met and the warmest person that I have ever met.


LAWRENCE: I have never met somebody who doesn't deserve a reputation more than David.

RUSSELL: Let me put it this way --

LAWRENCE: He's my little monster.

MORGAN: My God, this doesn't get any better?

RUSSELL: Let me put it this way. I would characterize some of the -- some of the unfortunate missteps of the first half of what I would call my career, I feel like I'm in the second. I had a wilderness period that separated the two, kind from "Three Kings" and then "Huckabees" and then there was a six-year period where I didn't really make films. And I think I lost my way of it.

And you know, I -- I think it humbled me and made me a better filmmaker, frankly, Piers. I don't -- I'm not glib about it, to be honest with you. And I don't -- you know, I want to have a warm set where everyone's in it together and happy. I never want to have any of that. And any of those things, I think, were just made me want to be more real on a set.

So that's the truth. And it humbled me and it made me make this movie and "The Fighter." I see "The Fighter" and this picture as companion volumes. It brought me closer to the characters I'm directing. I feel if the characters themselves are struggling and are humbled and want to be known and want to be respected, I know what that feels like.

And they want a third or fourth chance. I know what that feels like myself. And I appreciate it in a very real way. It's not academic or distant. It's real. So that's the realness I want to put into these families and that Jennifer brought to life.

Jennifer also is an extremely hard worker. And she loves it. So she works so hard and is relentless, and willing to try any number of ways, and give you any number of choices. And about dancing, she was not a dancer. The woman was not a dancer. And she getting to know Bradley Cooper that way, I think made them both more vulnerable and open emotionally, because they were pressed together and dancing, and neither one of them were professional dancers.

So they had a week of being thrown together that way.

MORGAN: Let's take a break. Let's come back and talk about the Oscars, about Harvey Weinstein, the rascal, as I believe he's known, and also, Jennifer, your penchant for guys with a British accent. Let's just leave it there.


MORGAN: I'm back now with Jennifer Lawrence and David O. Russell. Let's talk Oscars. Harvey Weinstein, who obviously is one of the brains behind this project, is one of the greatest Oscar grabbers I've ever seen. If anyone can lead you to glory, it will be Harvey. He's known as the rascal, I believe.

Why the rascal? Maybe Jennifer, you could explain to me why Harvey's a rascal?

LAWRENCE: I don't know. That was just the only -- it was either that or nincompoop. Oh, God, what are these pictures?

MORGAN: You and nincompoop.

LAWRENCE: Yes. I love Harvey. He's been, like, a dad pretty much to me, a Hollywood father. He's -- he's really taken all of us under his wing and just kind of -- he has a way of just making things happen. And he also stands behind films, films that he believes in.

MORGAN: What I like about him is he just has an absolute love and passion for movies and Hollywood.

LAWRENCE: He does.

MORGAN: And he does it in the old-fashioned way. He throws great parties. He celebrates. He wants to win Oscars. He loves the whole thing. There is no cynicism with Harvey.


MORGAN: It's all just, he wants to win things, make good films, you know, have great actors. In terms of acting, who are your great inspirations?

LAWRENCE: Well, Meryl Streep, obviously. And Gina Rowland was a huge inspiration to me when I was -- and Charlize Theron when I was younger. I remember watching "Monster" when I was 13, 14.

MORGAN: I think she's seriously underrated, Charlize Theron. I thought she had a real intensity.

LAWRENCE: Yes, I loved her.

MORGAN: Yes, really fascinating.

LAWRENCE: Yes, she is a fascinating person and an incredible actress. I think Kate Blanchett is amazing. Yeah. I have lots of --

MORGAN: -- the men.

LAWRENCE: Of the men? Well, there -- God --

MORGAN: Can you get past Bradley's good looks?

LAWRENCE: Yeah. Well, Robert De Niro, obviously, is the best. I mean, he's --

MORGAN: Did he give you any tips? How does it work?

LAWRENCE: He gave me tips once of -- on trying to stand my ground more and try to be like, no I want this. I -- because I kind of get a little bit too OK. I end up staying in the Day's Inn.

MORGAN: He's more like, you got to be ruthless.

LAWRENCE: Yes. So, yeah. He gave me a good talk about that. Nothing really with acting, though. Mostly I've learned from example with him. He's just very calm and nice and just gets it done.

MORGAN: Who do you think, David, is, pound for pound, the best actor in the world right now?

RUSSELL: That's a horrible question to ask a director.

MORGAN: That's like choosing your favorite baby?

RUSSELL: That's like asking your favorite baby. I can tell you some who I think are fantastic actors. I loved everyone in the cast of "The Fighter." I loved Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg. Talking about actors and actresses?

MORGAN: Yes. RUSSELL: Both sexes. Wow, that's a big category. In the spirit of that, these characters in the film are my favorite kinds of people, like my son, because they're unfiltered and they cause everyone around them to be less filtered and to be more real. So they go to a dinner party and they're talking frankly about their lives and their medications. And everybody at the party is uncomfortable. And pretty so, everybody is opening up.

His best friend opens up as a result of that. So that's a very refreshing thing. I think that's something we share in common, safe to say. What do you think?

LAWRENCE: Yeah, I agree.

MORGAN: I can't let this end without asking you, Jennifer, about this feeling I'm getting that you just have a bit of a thing for the British accent. Am I right?

LAWRENCE: Every girl loves a British accent.

MORGAN: Isn't that true?

LAWRENCE: I also love England. London is my favorite city.

MORGAN: You've spent a lot of time there, haven't you?

LAWRENCE: Yes, I have. We filmed "X-men" there. So I lived there for about six months.

MORGAN: You eat fish and chips?


MORGAN: It's been a complete delight. Thank you for staying and giving us a little bit more. It was very gracious of you. And best of luck with the Oscars. I have a feeling you're in for a great night. I think you should be. I think it is an amazing movie.

And I think more importantly, it has such an important mission statement to it. You know, mental health is one of the great issues in America right now. And I think this is something that everyone should go and see. Thank you both very much.

RUSSELL: Thank you, Piers.

LAWRENCE: Thank you.

MORGAN: Lovely to see you.

And we'll be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I was young, I heard about global warming and I knew there was huge consequences for this huge problem. I got together with my friends and we found out that you could actually turn waste oil into bio diesel fuel.

Because many families in my own town couldn't afford to heat their homes, I thought what if we could recycle waste cooking oil to heat the homes of these local families.

We made a difference. So can you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were just worried about keeping our kids warm and having heat and hot water. It was a major relief.

ROSWELL COOK, TOWN COUNCILOR: I was trying to talk about biodiesel and just could not get anywhere with it. So she came along and did it, to get restaurants to recycle their grease.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our goal will also promote the use of alternative energy.

COOK: The fact that it was coming from kids made it hit home a lot harder. The child shall lead them sort of thing.

She set the example for the town. And it is great that westerly has a person that we can be very proud of and tell the rest of the country, hey, look what we're doing in little Westerly, Rhode Island, on the shore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If everyone just gave a little something back and took a little time out of their day to do something for others, the world would be a better place.