Capone chats with Bradley Cooper about nursing THE HANGOVER, and those pesky GREEN LANTERN and A-TEAM rumors!!!
Hey folks. Capone in Chicago here.
About three weeks ago, I happened to be watching WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER again. I hadn't seen it in many years, and recent discussions about "The State" and encounters with Paul Rudd over the last couple of months while covering I LOVE YOU, MAN had made me eager to revisit this film. While rewatching it, I caught a glimpse of a very young man in the cast, and I said, "Is that Bradley Cooper?" I reversed the DVD, and sure enough, a child-like manifestation of Cooper was revealed. It really freaked my shit out, because I had no recollection of him being in that film (his first, it turns out). When I brought up the film with him again in the midst of our talk about his latest film--the supremely demented and funny THE HANGOVER--Cooper kind of lit up remembering how much fun he had being a part of a movie like that. It was a nice unguarded moment from a really nice, generous guy who I'm guessing was pretty exhausted from having just flow to Chicago after four straight days of press in Las Vegas.
Cooper has been bouncing around between television and features pretty much nonstop since WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER, having starred or been featured in such works as "Alias," "Jack & Bobby," "Kitchen Confidential," WEDDING CRASHERS, FAILURE TO LAUNCH, YES MAN, MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, and "Nip/Tuck." Earlier this year, he had a key role in the very strong HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU, and before the year is out we'll see him in three more films, including NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU; ALL ABOUT STEVE; and CASE 39. Perhaps most interesting have been the rumors that Cooper was the front runner to play both the title character in THE GREEN LANTERN and Faceman in THE A-TEAM movie, both of which he dismisses as internet rumor. The evening before our interview, I moderated a post-screening Q&A with Cooper after a showing of THE HANGOVER, and I said something to the effect of, "Well, after seeing all of the borderline-legal behavior in this, I think the only question I can ask you is, 'So, are you playing Green Lantern or what?'" The dude looked a little blindsided by the pseudo-joke question, but when the topic came up again courtesy of an audience member, his response was, "I really can't talk about it," said with a big smile on his face. That ain't a denial, folks.
I was determined not to barrage him with the same old questions regarding these rumors, so I took a slightly different approach. Cooper was a really fun interview, and he was exceptional with the crowd the night before. It goes without saying that he is so strikingly handsome that it makes me very unhappy. But more importantly, the guy can be really funny when given the chance. Check out highlights from his "Saturday Night Live" host job from earlier this year, or his hilarious "10 Chick Flick Cliches That Are Not In HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU" promo video with Justin Long and Kevin Connolly. Great stuff. So here's my 15 minutes with Bradley Cooper, a guy you're going to be hearing from a lot more of in 2009 and beyond…
Capone: First off, I actually didn't mean to blindside you with that first question about GREEN LANTERN last night.
Bradley Cooper: Oh, no. It's fine. I've been getting that all the time. Isn't that where the story broke, Ain't It Cool?
Capone: That's the first place I read it, but I couldn't swear that's where it broke.
BC: Or maybe it was the Faceman [from THE A-TEAM] news that broke on Ain't It Cool.
Capone: Could be. And here's my way of not asking the question again: the fact that your name is even being tossed around the rumor mill so readily has got to be hugely satisfying for you, right?
BC: It's fantastic. I don't know if it's depressing or cool, but if I had the career that the internet seems to think I do…let's just say it's not my career [laughs].
Capone: Still, it's got to be flattering that people aren't hearing your name and generating campaign against your name as Green Lantern. People seem cool with that notion.
BC: To be honest with you, I haven't read any of it; I've just heard it from friends. I just learned recently to try and not read anything, because it's never going to do you any good. Because if it's favorable and it makes you feel so good, it's going to kill you when it's not favorable. I learned that early on with "Alias"; I used to read all the message boards about the character I played, and, man, it just killed me. I mean, kiiiiiiled me.
Capone: J.J. Abrams practically invented and certainly invented that level of discussion and speculation on message boards--him and Joss Whedon.
BC: He did. There was an article in the New York Times, I remember, back during the second season of "Alias" citing how much people didn't like my character, quoting their message. And I was like, "Oh my God. I can't believe that's in the New York Times."
Capone: But it shows you that people are paying attention enough to hate your character.
BC: On that level, it's nice. Anything that can allow me to work with great filmmakers and great actors is fantastic.
Capone: Not to mention that you've been able to work consistently over the last few years with some of the best-looking women in filmdom.
BC: Yeah, how about that? It's crazy.
Capone: Now, the VALENTINE'S DAY movie, that's for real, right? That's not a rumor.
BC: Yeah, but I literally think I'm working two days on that. It's a very small role with Julia Roberts. We just play two people on a plane together. I don't know anything more about it other than it's two days. I go in to do that in the beginning of June.
Capone: I'd forgotten about this until I started doing research for this interview but that "10 Chick Flick Cliches…" promotional video you guys made for HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU was great.
BC: Really? Thanks man. We had a ball making that. We did that in one day at Nancy's house, the producer of the movie. And that was the first time I'd ever worked with Justin [Long], and after that we said, "We've got to work together."
Capone: Were you much of a Vegas guy coming into THE HANGOVER?
BC: No, not at all. We've all become one by nature of shooting the movie there. I feel like a Vegas guy after living there for a month and a half in the casino, and not many people can say that who don't actually live there. Or maybe too many people can say that. [laughs] And I had to put it aside for a while, I'd been back one time until the junket the other day, but we never left the hotel or walk outside for four days. It takes a toll on you; it's surreal experience.
Capone: I'm sure the staff and security got used to seeing you guys walking around in your bathrobes.
BC: Yeah, all banged up, it different states of disarray. There was a complete indifference to our state of being. No one cared.
Capone: How many times did you actually have to handle Mr. Chow's naked flesh in that scene where he pops out of the trunk.
BC: A lot. We probably did that in 30 or 40 takes, with him jumping on my back. And I wasn't kidding last night when I said that my hand always seemed to land right in his ass crack every time.
Capone: There must have been gallons of hand sanitizer used that day.
BC: [nods his head with a disgusted look on his face].
Capone: Obviously, there have been dozens of films about Vegas and bachelor parties over the years. When you and the other actors and [director] Todd Phillips got together, did you talk about some of the cliches you all wanted to avoid or things you wanted to do to make this film different?
BC: Certainly, whenever you make a comedy, you try not to repeat yourself or repeat what's been done. I think the quality of the jokes are such that you haven't seen them before, everything is just a little bit off. The nature of the comedy, there's a crudeness of it and then there's also a cerebral quality to it. You have both. There's the Holocaust ring joke and then there's the jerking-the-baby-off joke. You get your "Office"/"30 Rock" humor, but you also get the raunchy humor too. It's hard to do, but I feel like this movie does that. Todd is really able to do that.
Capone: And it's a lot different than some of the other R-rated comedies that have been coming out over the last couple of years.
BC: Very different, yeah.
Capone: Was it exciting watching Zach [Galifianakis], whose not much of a known quantity as an actor…
BC: Although he's done a lot of movies.
Capone: But most people who know him, know him for his stand-up work.
BC: Well, that's where his roots are, and he still tours all the time. Right now, he's touring.
Capone: Was it fun to watch him come into his own in a lot of ways with such a high-profile role? And quite frankly, the guy scares me a little after watching him in this film. I wouldn't let him near a playground.
BC: Don't forget, that's Alan [the character Galifianakis plays]. He would hate to hear you say that, because he is one of the sweetest men I've ever met, actually. He's a great human being. It's a gift and privilege to be moving this movie at a time when he's being exposed to a wider audience, who I feel are going to fall in love with him the way his fans to now.
Capone: It reminded me of seeing Jack Black in HIGH FIDELITY, in that a lot of people knew who he was before that film, but that was where he really exploded in a strong supporting role.
BC: Yes, absolutely. He pops off the screen here.
Capone: The mystery aspect to THE HANGOVER is maybe the biggest difference between this movie and other Vegas films. Was that something that you liked in particular, that pieced together of a lost evening?
BC: Yeah, I loved the idea of a big comedy revolving around a narrative that's a mystery, and a whodunit set in Vegas in the daytime, so it's going to be gritty. It makes a great engine that propels this comedy that a lot of other comedies don't have. They just wade in the pool of the movie, as opposed our whitewater river adventure [laughs].
Capone: Do you think your character comes out of this experience a little wiser and more mature? Because I didn't feel that he did, at least not as much as some of the other guys.
BC: You mean like when he says he gives the marriage six months? With him, I don't think it's so much that he grows, but that the audience gets to know who he is. You think he's one person in the beginning, and then you realize his bark is a lot bigger than his bite. He does love his family; his friends are the most important thing. He's actually a really good guy, and he's the kind of friend you want on your team, for sure. I think the audience gets to discover him. And I think he does think that his friends marriage will last more than six months--he smiles a little as he's giving him shit. He's the older brother, and of course he's happy for him.
Capone: We talked a little bit about working with Mike Tyson on this film. Were there any surprises that you learned about him or from him?
BC: I guess you could say it was a surprise that I wound feel how much I have in common with him. He's a very relatable guy; I didn't think that would happen. I didn't think I'd get as close as I did to him; he's very relatable and able to talk to you and share his life. And then seeing James Toback's documentary, I was able to say, "Oh, that makes sense." He's a great guy.
Capone: You talked a bit about some of the improvising that went on. Are there any particular lines or moments that you're particularly proud of coming up with?
BC: The one thing I do like is that I pitched for Mr. Chow's first name to be Leslie. I don't remember if everybody remembers it, but I remember it because I remember saying to Ken [Jeong], "I think you should be Leslie Chow." And other names were going around, and I was hoping that Todd would land on Leslie and let that be the name, and he did. And they had to get permission because there actually is a Leslie Chow, so they had to call her and have her give permission to have her name released. I just love that his name was Leslie.
Capone: We talked last night about how I'd just watched WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER with absolutely no recollection that you were in it. What do you remember about that experience, making your first film?
BC: That was a watershed moment comedically, because it was the first time I'd been around people who thought what was funny was the same thing I thought was funny, we had a similar sense of humor. And they were all so great at it. And it was the first time I felt like part of a comedic troupe in a way, with a lot of guys from "The State" and UCB [Upright Citizens Brigade], and it was really my indoctrination into the whole sort of comedy scene in New York City. So it was wonderful.
Capone: I've loved following those guys from "The States" over the years.
BC: Oh yeah. And also the UCB guys. They all went on to do "Stella" and other stuff. They're fantastic.
Capone: Let's talk quickly about some things we can confirm you have coming up. CASE 39, which is a horror film. The trailer has just started to play.
BC: Yeah, that's a horror film. I haven't seen the trailer yet. How is it?
Capone: I've only seen it once. That's with Renee Zellweger, right?
BC: Yeah. Ian McShane is in it as well. I think it's only being released in Europe in August, and then maybe an American release. I shot that about three years ago, but I really enjoyed that. I have one of the most difficult death scenes I've ever done. It's an insane scene; that's why I wanted to do the movie. It's a great scene.
Capone: And you mentioned ALL ABOUT STEVE last night.
BC: Yeah, that's a comedy with Sandra Bullock and Thomas Hayden Church…and Ken Jeong, who plays Mr. Chow. That's coming out on Labor Day. And then on October 16, I believe, there is this collection of shorts called NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU--it's done the same way as PARIS, JE T'AIME.
BC: The short I did was with the Hughes Brothers and Drea de Matteo; it's just the two of us. The Hughes Brothers are the best.
Capone: I've been waiting for this one for a while, because I know it's been in the works for more than a year. Glad to see it's finally coming out. Well, it was good to do that thing with you last night and see you again today. Good luck.
BC: Yeah, that was really fun. Thank you.
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June 1, 2009, 9:48 a.m. CST
June 1, 2009, 9:57 a.m. CST
June 1, 2009, 10:49 a.m. CST
He could be GL Kyle Rayner, but not Hal.
June 1, 2009, 10:53 a.m. CST
by Monkey Butler
June 1, 2009, 11:07 a.m. CST
by dr fractal
June 1, 2009, 11:25 a.m. CST
He'd be so awesome for it. He can do the action (we saw it in Alias), and he definitely can crack wise. Whatever he does, I just hope he has a big career ahead of him, cuz he's good people from what I know of him.
June 1, 2009, 11:40 a.m. CST
That trailer showed how cool a Green Lantern movie needs to be. The movie will disappoint after seeing that awesome trailer.
June 1, 2009, 11:41 a.m. CST
And no Jensen Ackles as Guy Gardner will fail too.
June 1, 2009, 12:01 p.m. CST
but not right for ateam or green lantern.
June 1, 2009, 12:34 p.m. CST
there can be no other.
June 1, 2009, 12:47 p.m. CST
also citing..unless it's spelled differently in the states. fillion would be retarded as GL. let me guess you want summer glau and kristen bell in the film as well. for the record i like fillion but he ain't GL
June 1, 2009, 1:34 p.m. CST
This movie looks like the demise of American cinema and culture personified. Although I'm sure Bradley would be glad to know the fucking retarded gangsta teens sitting several rows behind me ate it up with a spoon. Of course, they all clapped after Terminator Salvation, so that can't be a good sign...
June 1, 2009, 1:46 p.m. CST
He ain't good looking enough.
June 1, 2009, 1:46 p.m. CST
by andrew coleman
I just can't see it. Chris Pine though might actually work I heard that name and went "Yeah maybe". I'm not sold on Fillion but if he got it I'd love it. He's like Bruce Campbell to me... They are Gods.
June 1, 2009, 2:01 p.m. CST
Fillion would be a PERFECT green lantern. and yes, Kristen Bell should be in EVERY movie, and I like Glau as well.
June 1, 2009, 2:10 p.m. CST
Now that you mention Kristen Bell I'd say she would be a perfect Arisia.
June 1, 2009, 7:59 p.m. CST
where was that final scene in the trailer from? the part where the guy is all like captain tightpants super hero bullshit?
June 1, 2009, 9:10 p.m. CST
it's fucking next level hilarious, but I almost wish I hadn't seen the "not at the table, Carlos" part. save it for the thaters, Will. dammit!
June 2, 2009, 12:44 a.m. CST
Seriously I've had a massive crush on this guy for over seven years now. I thought Will was a great character, especially once they gave him stuff to do that was relevant to the show. I gotta say, after he left Alias people actually started to like his character. That sounds kinda sad, but I remember people being excited on the few occasions he came back. The Hangover though? I like every actor in it, but the trailer (aside from one or two scenes) looks awful. And I like Nathan Fillion and all, but it seems like people bring his name up for half the roles out there. He can't be perfect for everything.
June 2, 2009, 3:23 a.m. CST
Literally. No one's asked him about it. He's a douche. Period. And he SUCKED on SNL.
June 2, 2009, 4:09 a.m. CST
you...you're really awesome..that show was...was awesome..remember that time..when like..you were going to play Green Lantern..that..that was awesome
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