Bradley Cooper on Oscars and Silver Linings Playbook
Bradley Cooper has risen to the upper reaches of the Hollywood A list after receiving an Oscar nomination for best actor for his role in the comedy-drama Silver Linings Playbook.
It is the first movie for 31 years to have Academy Award nominations in all four acting categories. Cooper plays Pat, whose split from his wife leaves him struggling with his bipolar disorder.
It is a breakthrough role for Cooper, who was previously known for playing Phil in the outrageous comedy The Hangover and as Face in the 2010 big screen A-Team remake.
He talks about his nomination, who he is taking to the Oscars and his plans to head to Broadway.
You presented an Oscar last year - what are the Oscars like?
It's pretty surreal. I grew up watching the Oscars. I don't think I've missed one. I'm 38, I've probably seen 30 Oscars. So the fact I'm going to go as a nominee, especially in this category, and taking my mum with me, I'm really going to relish the night.
Is that a long-standing promise to your mum?
Yes it is. Early on, I remember she said: 'If you ever get nominated are you bringing me?'
What do you remember about watching the Oscars when you were young?
I remember that the Oscars always seemed larger. The older I get, the smaller it seems. When I was a kid, it seemed like it was in the Colosseum or something and they were all 10ft tall.
Was it a big event in the Cooper household?
It was a huge event. We were a very cinematically minded family and everybody was around the TV for the Oscars.
Did you say 'one day I'm going to be up there'?
I definitely felt like I wanted to be in that world, yeah, for sure, 100%.
How do you feel about going up against Daniel Day-Lewis for best actor?
I don't even really feel like I'm up against him. I feel like I'm allowed into the conversation, which is a wonderful thing, to be even talked about in the same breath as these four actors. It was a win for me to get the nomination.
There's no question - I want to direct movies”
Are there any actors whose career paths that you have admired?
There are so many. The minute you try to compare or emulate someone's career you're in trouble. That said, somebody like Tom Hanks, who started in [1980s sitcom] Bosom Buddies, and then won two Oscars for best actor, that's a wonderful trajectory. He's produced and directed and is able to go from comedy to drama.
Some people describe Silver Linings Playbook as a romantic comedy - do you feel that's doing it a disservice?
I do, yes, unless it's redefining what a romantic comedy could be. I don't mind it, but I think it's a testament to what David [O Russell, writer and director] was able to do, which was invigorate the genre, mix it up a little bit and redefine it.
Movies that do that help the genre and maybe it will cause other movies to come out, toe the line a bit less and be more daring in terms of jumping from drama to comedy.
Have you had any response from people who have been through similar things to Pat?
Yes, a lot of response. More than 100 people have come up to us and said, finally there's been a representation that's authentic of what I've experienced in my life. Or they've said, I know somebody who has this condition, or I do, and I understand it better and I feel like there's hope for me.
It happens every single time we do a Q&A after a screening - at least three or four, sometimes 10 [people], and you really believe that they mean it.
I'm not a big fan of remaking great movies”
What are you working on next?
Another David O Russell movie. We were slated to start the day after the Oscars but I think we're going to push a week. That's a very cool movie with Christian Bale and Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner.
Then I'm going to do a Cameron Crowe movie in the fall with Emma Stone, and in the new year I'll do The Elephant Man on Broadway for about six months.
When I saw the Elephant Man movie that David Lynch directed when I was a kid, it solidified my need to become an actor. Joseph Merrick was so heavily, heavily deformed and the cards were so heavily stacked against him. He's similar to Pat in that he has a lot going against him and yet he still finds an utter joy in life.
Would you make a new version of that film?
I think that's a perfect movie, the David Lynch movie. I think it would be criminal. I'm not a big fan of remaking great movies.
Are you planning to do any directing?
Yes, but I've got an opportunity right now in terms of roles and being able to work with great directors, so I don't want to take myself out to direct a movie right now. But ultimately, for sure, there's no question. I want to direct movies.
You have also filmed The Hangover 3 - is it definitely the end?
It's the end. That's it. It's over. We switched up the formula a bit. There's no ticking clock and lost night, none of that from the first and second [instalments].
All the characters are back. We went back to Vegas and it was fun. I feel very, very lucky that I was part of that. But I've played Phil Wenneck enough. I've had my fill. Of Phil.