Dodging what must have seemed to him like more than a few nervy questions during this conversation for The Words, Bradley Cooper was apparently ready to rumble with the press today, though always with a dash of devilish humor.
1. I wanted to talk a little with you about the pros and cons of being voted the sexiest actor around… Does bragging about the sexy title get you more roles in movies? Huh? Oh me too, I wanna talk about that! No, look. It’s very shocking. I think somebody may have made a mistake! But, yeah. It’s, you know…fun! I start every conversation by saying, you do know…! It hasn’t really reaped the benefits yet. But I’m hopeful! And I set up a website about the title. And a blog too. And we’re having a retreat for it. Next Sunday! If you wanna come, just leave your address.
2. Where do you go inside yourself to play a slimebag? In what movie?! Well, god. I don’t see…Maybe I failed you, then! Because I don’t see Rory as a slimebag. At all. I see Rory as a man who’s not really a man. And grappling with what it is to be a man. And I think his Achilles heel is his impatience. And the thing I really liked about this movie, and the hook for me, was the fact that he actually is a good writer. He’s not a poor writer who’s just looking for any way to get success. He’s a writer that has talent, and that’s revealed in the scene with Ron Rifkin as a publisher. Who tells him that, and the audience learns that. But he’s just so preoccupied with living up to some idea of who he thinks he should be. And that’s his fatal flaw. And I don’t think that makes him a slimebag.
3. Are you anything like this flawed guy you play in the movie? You know, I was very scared that I was gonna fail, when they asked me to do it. And I said yes, just because I would do anything for them. I mean, Brian is my best buddy since childhood. And then a week before shooting, he knew I was worried too. And that I didn’t really get Rory. And then I read it again, and just sorta got the hook. Which I can’t really remember exactly what that hook was!
4. What do you like about the script? I loved the fact that he was a good writer. Otherwise, he was just so delusional. Do you know what I mean? But I just loved the idea that he was so impatient. Yeah, that was it. He’s just impatient. Because of the fact that he’s so delusional. But that’s what I like about the script. It’s complicated. It’s not like he set out to plagiarize at all. He just wanted to see what the words would feel like, washing over his fingers. And he’s seduced by that. But he’s not man enough to say, that’s not me. And then the publisher says motherfucker, you gotta deal with it. So it’s much more complicated, than just a plagiarist who wants success. His goal is not to be, you know, a famous writer. His goal is to meet the expectations he has, of himself.
5. Does the big thrill that gets you past the anxiety? I think excitement superseded any nervousness. I don’t know, sometimes you have a feeling. Like I remember the most nervous I’ve been, was getting to meet Christopher Walken during Wedding Crashers. But talk about a guy who puts you at ease. I mean, I just kinda fell in love with him. And the same thing with Robert De Niro, and Jeremy Irons. And Liam Neeson. It follows suit completely. All these sort of icons that I’ve had the honor to work with, they’ve all had one thread. Which is normalcy. I mean, Jeremy is a very normal guy. As normal as somebody that awesome. Just that voice! But he was great. And everybody felt that way. Like Jeremy showed up, and he made everybody feel completely at ease. And he could have just come in like a wrecking crew. And you know, destroyed everything. And he didn’t. He was quite the opposite. And it wasn’t like, let me take my time and like figure out where I want to sit on this bench. It was like, no. We gotta do this. Boom. And he was game. Everybody was game. Which is why the movie works.
6. What did you finally figure out about this complicated character, to bring him to life off the page? I didn’t think about it at all, actually. I just played Rory, not as a fictionalized character in his book, or even as a reflection of him at all. So I just let him be his own person. Yeah, I just played him as the fullest character I could.
7. Any qualms about returning to Phil for The Hangover a third time, and are there any new things you think you can discover about him? About Phil? Yeah, there are always new things to discover about Phil. But I love it, I just got so lucky. And they’re all great actors. And we’ve got great new actors coming on board this one too. And I love Phil, I love that guy, yeah. So I can’t wait.