Imagine having Wedding Crashers as your first big role, The Hangover as the movie that made you a household name and The A-Team and Limitless as blockbusters that you headlined. Well, unless your name is Bradley Cooper, you’re definitely daydreaming. Only this 36-year-old, Philadelphia-born actor can put all those flicks on his resumé. And being Hollywood’s current resident lady’s man – He was recently named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive – it’s no surprise that, in 1999, Cooper made his showbiz debut in none other than “Sex and the City.” We recently got the chance to attend a press round table where folks from the media were able to chat with the actor about his latest Blockbuster hit, The Hangover Part II, released on December 6, just in time to fill stockings everywhere. Here’s what went down.
Q: So, the first Hangover film was awesome. And you guys did that for very little pay. How did you change that this time around?
A: Watch yourself, that was a lot of money for us. Are you kidding? We were over the moon about it. We were just happy to have a job. Q: Public perception is an amazing thing. When Wedding Crashers came out, you were Bradley Cooper, but then you got this lead in The Hangover [the first installment] and boom – off to the races.
A: You know, thank you for saying that. Not the case I gotta say. It certainly provided more opportunities, everybody that was a part of that movie, because it was so financially lucrative, benefitted from it. But you know, I still put myself on tape for movies, and trying to get roles, you know it’s the same. Yeah it’s the same. I mean look, doors have been opened for sure, but it’s not like I sit back with a cigar on Monday morning and go through the scripts that have been offered. No, that’s not
the case. Q: I’d love to hear about your experiences in Bangkok.
A: Bangkok? Incredible. I love it. I love it. I absolutely love it. But I didn’t get sick there, a lot of people did. A lot of people got sick.
You know, it’s the land of 1,000 smiles and that’s sort of tied to the fact of how low and morose it can be, because you think, ‘Oh, this is all good fun.’ But it’s some pretty dark [stuff] that goes on in Bangkok. But, that said, I absolutely loved it. I loved how foreign it felt, I loved that I felt like I was in Blade Runner a lot of the time. The food’s incredible, the Chao Phraya River is beautiful, you know, it’s a really special place. I had never been to a Buddhist culture, which you know it’s half Muslim, but that’s a really interesting aspect. I loved just the pageantry that goes along with the culture … and all that stuff. It’s really interesting. I mean everyone loved it.
That said, it was one of the hardest shoots I’ve ever done. I mean just logistically to get from point ‘A’ to ‘B’ is difficult, and the bureaucracy of getting things done and there are always tons of people around the set. Todd [Phillips] loves a lean set and it was the opposite, so watching a director deal with that, especially when it’s Todd Phillips, was interesting. Q: Working with Todd Phillips and the rest of the cast again, was it just like showing up on the set again, or had you all evolved personally and professionally?
A: We all went through so much after the first movie. We all were a part of this thing that ... had an impact on culture in a way, the first Hangover. So we really went through that together. That was a bonding process … We’ve all grown, and then to re-visit those characters was a really interesting experiment because, well, I think the second one is better than the first one and I think the characters are much more grounded than in the first one. You get to know them and the dynamic is very interesting.
We made a decision early on, I remember we did this photo shoot for Vanity Fair, I remember that’s when we first talked about a sequel in a realistic way. We were all in the room afterwards and saying, ‘Here’s the choice: Do we stray from the structure or do we run straight for it?’ And we all agreed, no question about it, we haven’t earned the ability to take these three guys out and put them in a new structure. There needs to be a ticking clock there needs to be a missed night, there needs to be someone who’s gone, there needs to be a woman who is waiting to get married and a guy that needs to get married. So we did that. Q: What was the pressure like to top Part One?
A: It was more excitement. I didn’t feel pressure and I certainly, especially now after seeing the movie, I’m curious to how people will react to how dark it is and how much time was taken with it. The movie is a more confidently directed film by Todd Phillips. The first one moves like a [freaking] bottle rocket, this one is like, it takes time. He breathes, he lets the camera breathe.Q: Was there a lot of improvisation like there was in the first one?
A: There was a lot of improv. That’s always such an interesting question to answer, people are always obsessed with, and me too, about what was not in the script. The script is great. There’s nothing wrong with the script … But the structure of how we’d do the movie, was we’d show up on set we’d run the scene as written and then you sort of feel if it’s working or not, then we would go off and sort of workshop a little bit, literally off camera … It’s kind of like, I mean it is music. Comedy is music … Like, for example, the scene in the monestary. At the end of the scene, the scene ends before it actually ends in the movie and I literally couldn’t understand what he was saying, the actor, and I was like ‘What the [heck] is he saying?’ And then Stu says ‘I think he’s saying about the art of meditation.’ And then Allen says, ‘No, no he says he’s farting from his medication.’ And then he goes ‘Yeah, that happens to me too.’ And that all came out of the three of us just being our characters and reacting to the given circumstances. Q: If you could choose one city to have a hangover in, what would it be?
A: Toronto.Q: How does Bradley Cooper Chill when he’s not working?
A: Eat! I eat a lot of food. Big eater.