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Bev Cohn: Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper Interview – Words About His Film "The Words"
Beverly Cohn

poster for the movie 'The Words' featuring Bradley Cooper
Photo: Courtesy of CBS FILMS

radley Cooper's professional career was launched playing opposite Sarah Jessica Parker in the hit television series "Sex and the City," but his breakout role was in the highly successful "The Hangover" which catapulted him into one of Hollywood's most sought after actors. He reprieved his character of Phil in "The Hangover Part II" and is currently filming "The Hangover Part III. He also had a co-starring role in "The A-Team," and recently co-starred with Robert De Niro in David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook." Voted the "Sexiest Man Alive 2011 by PEOPLE, Cooper recently participated in a press conference to promote his latest film, "The Words," a story about a writer who steals another man's manuscript and passes it off as his own. The film co-stars Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Zoe Saldana, and Ron Rifkin.

The following has been edited for content and continuity for print purposes.

Bradley Cooper with an old briefcase in a scene from the movie 'The Words'
Bradley Cooper as aspiring author Rory Jansen discovers something hidden away in an old briefcase. Photo: Courtesy of CBS FILMS. Photo by: Jonathan Wenk.

You seem like a really nice guy. How did you go about developing the slime bag side of your character Rory Jansen?"

Cooper: Maybe I failed you because I don't see Rory as a slime bag at all. I see him grappling with what it is to be a man and I think his Achilles Heel is impatience. The thing that I really liked about the script, and the hook for me, was the fact that he is actually a good writer. He's not a poor writer looking for any way to get success. He's a writer that has talent, but he's preoccupied with living up to some idea of what he thinks he should be, and that's his fatal flaw. I don't think that makes him a slime bag.

Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Irons in a scene from 'The Words'
Bradley Cooper's character of Rory in an intense scene with the Old Man character played by Jeremy Irons. Photo: Courtesy of CBS FILMS. Photo by: Jonathan Wenk.

You're such a regular guy so were you nervous about working with the most elegant Jeremy Irons?

Cooper: My excitement of working with him superseded any nervousness. I don't know if you've met him or not, but he's a very welcoming individual and like a lot of great actors, he makes you feel comfortable. The same can be said about Robert De Niro and Liam Neeson. All of these icons that I've worked with had one thread in common, and that's normalcy. These are very normal guys. I mean as normal as very awesome looking men with voices like God, could be. (Laughter)

Jeremy Irons in 'The Words'
Bradley Cooper on Jeremy Irons: "Jeremy Irons shows up and he makes everybody feel completely at ease." Photo: Courtesy of CBS FILMS. Photo by: Jonathan Wenk.

These two guys had never directed a movie before (Writers/Directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal) and Jeremy Irons shows up and he makes everybody feel completely at ease. I mean he could have just come in like a wrecking crew and destroyed everything, but he didn't. It was quite the opposite. We had to do it in twenty-five days and he had tons of dialogue. It's not like it was 'let's talk about the scene and let me take my time and figure out where I want to sit on the bench.' It was like we have to do this now and boom, we'd shoot the scene and he was game. Everybody was game, which is why the movie worked.

This is a very different kind of role. Did you find it challenging?

Cooper: I was very scared that I was going to fail these two guys (referring to Klugman and Sternthal). When they asked me to do the role, I said yes. It was a week before shooting and I was reading the script one last time. They knew I was worried and I called them and they helped me sort of get the hook. I loved the fact that he was a good writer; otherwise he would be delusional, but the fact was he was just impatient. That's what I liked about the script. It's so complicated. It's not like he set out to plagiarize at all.

Bradley Cooper with Zoe Saldana in a scene from the movie 'The Words'
Bradley Cooper's Rory with Zoe Saldana who plays his wife Dora. Photo: Courtesy of CBS FILMS. Photo by: Jonathan Wenk.

The only reason why he downloads the script as written was he wanted to feel what it was like washing over his fingers and it's not until his wife (Zoe Saldana) looks at him the way he wants her to look at him for the first time that he's seduced by that. He's not man enough to say that's not me. And then his publisher, (Ron Rifkin) when he does come clean, which is a wonderful aspect of the script, says keep lying. He doesn't say you're right, you have to take your name off the book and we'll suffer the economic consequences. He actually says no motherf….., you have to deal with it and she (his wife) has to deal with it too. Then when he goes to the old man (Jeremy Irons) and wants to give him the money back, he says no, keep doing it. So it much more complicated than just a plagiarist who wants success. His goal is not to be a famous writer. His goal is to meet the expectations he has of himself.

Courtesy Photo

I'd like to go off topic for a moment and ask you what are the pros and cons of being voted the Sexiest Man in America?

Cooper: Oh me too. I want to talk about that. (Laughter) Could we dim the lights? (Laughter) What's the question again? (Laughter)

The pros and cons of being voted the Sexiest Man in America - now don't blush.

Cooper: It was very shocking and I think someone made a mistake, but, yeah, it's very nice and fun.

Is there a downside and what did your family say?

Cooper: There is no downside and my family was thrilled.

Do you try to capitalize on that?

Cooper: I try to. I start every conversation with, 'You do know…" (Laughter) I started a web site and have a blog too and a weekend retreat next Sunday and if you want to come, just leave your address. (Laughter)

poster for the movie 'The Hangover'
"I love the character of Phil!" Courtesy Photo

Are you excited about "The Hangover Part III?"

Cooper: Yes. We have great actors coming aboard this third one. I love Phil. I love my character.

Going back to the beginning of your career, did you audition a lot before you landed a role on "Sex in the City?"

Cooper: I was working the graveyard shift at the Morgans Hotel on 38th and Madison Avenue. (New York City) You guys need a taxi? (Laughter) I still got it! (Laughter) Anyway, I was doing one audition after another and I auditioned so much that I didn't believe you could actually book a job. (Laughter) If I got a couple of callbacks, that was a very successful week, but I always had another job.

Sarah Jessica Parker and Bradley Cooper in an episode of 'Sex in the City'
Sarah Jessica Parker and Bradley Cooper in an episode of "Sex in the City" entitled: "They Shoot Single People, Don't They?" Courtesy Photo

With "Sex in the City," I was actually very frightened because I didn't know if I could do the job. I didn't really understand the concept of actually booking a job. So for me rejection was normal and getting it (the part) was odd. (Laughter)

Do you feel pressure about what you are going to next?

Cooper: Honestly, I don't really look at it that way. My goal is to grow as an actor and that's what I look for in a script.

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Let Bev know what you think about her traveling adventure.

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Thanks so much for those lovely tourism photos, especially of Ireland. I certainly enjoyed all the places you suggested, and am working towards my next vacation. Don’t forget Cuba. That’s an exciting place.

Rosalie, Los Angeles

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Enjoyed your article on Mira Sorvino. Such an interesting background – family, education, career and now human rights activist. I'm not a gossip mag fan so getting more meaty news about movie celebrities from you gives me hope that there are some inteligent life forms in Hollywood.

Peter Paul, Pasadena, CA

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Thank you, Bev. This reminded me to go see the movie, "An Education," which I had already almost forgotten about, having seen the preview a few weeks ago. I enjoy this actress quite a bit--she has a uniqueness about her and she pulls me in. I enjoyed this.

Sandeee, Seattle, WA

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Thank you Beverly,I really enjoyed reading about your intimate conversation with Forest, of whom I am a great admirer. I look forward to seeing the film "Our Family Wedding."

Yoka, Westlake Village, CA

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Thank you for the sending me the beautiful article you wrote about Ireland. We will use your recomendations for hotels in the Southern part. We plan to also go to Dublin and some other Northern cities so I will get some recommendations for these from others. After reading your article, I am getting more excited about going. I think we will be in Ireland for 8 days altogether.

Leah Mendelsohn, Santa Monica, CA

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Very much enjoyed Ms. Cohn's article about Munich, especially the visuals. Though it has been 25 years since my last visit, the piece brought back countless pleasant memories of the city and the people!! Many thanks.

Lawrence, Los Angeles

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Marianplatz and that general area is truly one of the best Christmas celebrations in the world. Between that and Oktoberfest (which I can only imagine) Munich is one of the greatest cities in the world for major annual events.

Christopher Dale, New York, NY

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Hi Bev, you have done some wonderful pieces on some great celebs...Great work. The travel articles are just wonderful too.

Scott Mueller, Huntington Beach, CA

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Your great Zurich article makes me want to go there for the holidays! I love the photos, too, especially the ones of you in the sleigh, the view over the houses and the zoo!

Anna Marie, Santa Monica, CA

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Lovely article! As a European, and having been to Zurich (albeit in summer) I can vouch for this lovely city. Great pictures, too!

Helene Robins, Santa Monica, CA

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Hi Bev,

Nice review, nice seeing you, nice website interface "...Talk to Bev" - Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Richard D. Kaye, Marina del Rey, CA

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Hi Bev,

Your interview with John Cusack is very interesting. I always wondered why these actors/actresses always get top billing when really, if you think about it, the real work come from the animators, writers and tech whizzes who spend far more hours on the movie than those actors. I know, I know, it's the all about marketing. The names of these actors are what bring in the big bucks. Still, I think these actors are way overpaid for the "little" that they do.

I remember that once upon a time, the early animation classics never mentioned the voices behind the characters. I think it was only later when Walt Disney tapped into the voices of known celebrities like Walter Matthau in the Jungle Book or Zsa Zsa Gabor in The Rescuers that the voices became a marketing magnet.

Keep up the good work. I enjoy your interviews as you peer into the lives of the Hollywood celebrities.

Peter Paul of South Pasadena, CA

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