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Bradley Cooper (The Hangover)

Bradley Cooper (The Hangover)

Bradley Cooper sat down with Shakefire to talk about his upcoming film, The Hangover. He stars as Phil, one of three groomsmen who is throwing a bachelor party for their friend in Vegas. When they wake up the following morning with no recollection of what happened and the Groom gone, they attempt to find out what just happened. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

[Shakefire]: Tell us about the role you had in The Hangover? Are you kinda a guys guy type in real life? 
[Bradley Cooper]: I'd say yeah. I cherish my male friends for sure. I don't see myself as Phil necessarily at all. I was skeptical that I could pull it off and I remember Todd Phillips was like, "no man, you got this guy." It wasn't until a couple weeks into filming where I thought, "oh, I'm just playing Todd. I just have to mimic him." And that's what I just started to do, like all his sorta mannerisms. I just started to play him and I found the guy. I like Phil a lot. He's the kinda guy who's bark is not bigger than his bite. He actually is a great father. Which I'm so glad they kept that scene at the end. I love the fact that once I'm home, my kid's attached to me. He's back home and that's his life again.  

[Shakefire]: With these type of films, do you think there's a danger of being typecast? 
[Bradley Cooper]: You mean like only being seen in comedy? I don't think so. I did this movie, He's Just Not That Into You, which was a comedy but my stuff was not comedic at all. It was actually kinda dramatic. I do plays a lot. I did a play last summer. So I don't know. So far no, but I know what you're saying. It seems like certainly that the comedies are the things that have gotten out there that I've done. But I see it as, shit man, if I'm able to work and work on good projects with great people...things could be worse.

[Shakefire]: Does  this open doors for more leading man status roles? 
[Bradley Cooper]: I have no idea yet. There's no sort of change. The other day I put myself on tape because the director wouldn't see me, so I just put myself on tape at home. In some ways, things haven't changed. 

[Shakefire]: How much input did you have in the film? Obviously a strong part of it was the dynamic between you and the brother, the weird guy Alan. 
[Bradley Cooper]: Zach and I sorta came up with that idea. When we were filming it, we were thinking that we should try an aside thing and perpetuate this idea that I really dig Alan when no one else does, even though I think he's crazy. Like when he swerves into the truck, I kinda like that. Then what if he kinda falls in love with Phil and starts mimicking him sorta like out in the desert with Mr. Chow, kicking the dirt, till the end when he wants his hair done like Phil. So we created that little side, and we never if it would even make it into the movie, and it does and it totally tracks. 
[Shakefire]: Did you have to do anything else to create that bond between you two? 
[Bradley Cooper]: You know, Zach and I drove to Vegas together. We were there for a month and a half. I was like, why don't we drive, because we both lived in Venice in California. And I gotta say, on that drive was kinda cool. Just living in this casino for a month and a half shooting this movie to working 16 hour days, it sorta happened organically for the 3 of us. And then we became really great friends. Ed and I went to Zach's farm for New Years. We just got lucky. It doesn't always happen like that. 

[Shakefire]: The humor seems to push boundaries. This is the first thing that seemed to joke about 9/11... 
[Bradley Cooper]: And the Holocaust. I didn't know they gave rings out. I gotta say, that was all Zach. He made up all that stuff man. We were in the car and he was like, 'thanks a lot Bin Laden.' And when he made the joke about the Holocaust. 
[Shakefire]: It's interesting because everyone was laughing really hard to that. Do you think the sensitivity to 9/11 is gone? I remember Gilbert Gottfried one time tried that skit one time. 
[Bradley Cooper]: I think it all depends on where it's coming from. One of the sites got a lot of heat for making that 9/11 joke at White House correspondence dinner because that was said with some sort of cynicism or attacking Rush Limbaugh. Alan is a child. You're hearing it from a guy who is comparing it to masturbating on an airplane. So it's so ridiculous and you're seeing this guy with a beard, who's plump, who's completely harmless. So he could get away with that. If Phil said that, my character, I don't think it would have been as innocent. He could really get away with anything...and he did. He's jerks off the baby, he says the holocaust, he says the 9/11, and he gets blown by the woman in the elevator. You know, somebody's grandmother. 
[Shakefire]: Were there any scenes you wanted to include but didn't? 
[Bradley Cooper]: No, and here's the other thing. Those things came out of us joking around, or Zach particularly. We were sitting there at breakfast and there was a baby doll there, you know, before you shoot as a stand in. And Zach was like, "Hey Todd," to Todd Philips, "hey man, jerking the baby off." Like as a joke, as a joke never thinking ever it would be in the movie. So Todd's like, "Oh man, let's do that." He's like, "Wait, what!?" "No, no, let's put it in the movie." "What do you mean put it in the movie?" "Yeah, let's go ask the mother if we could do that." Zach's like, "No absolutely not!" So Todd waited for the mother to go away and then asked the father. And then it's in the movie. 
The blowjob was Todd's idea too. And that woman was an ex porn star back in the sixties. So Zach was very nervous. She's like, "Oh hunny, don't worry."  

[Shakefire]: When you're filling these scenes, particularly with Mr. Chow, do you find it hard not to laugh all the time and not screw up when you were trying to play a role here? 
[Bradley Cooper]: Particularly in that scene I didn't because I had to have that guys balls and penis on my neck.So I wanted to get trough the scene. But more than that, it was a hot day too; in the desert. I got neck herpes. And he jumps out of the trunk onto me; we must have done that 40 times. It wasn't just him, it was the stunt double who wore a little piece. I was sore the next day cause you have a 160 pound guy jumping on you, 30 times in a row. I thought I was going to kill my back. And my hand kept, every time for some reason, went right in between his buttcheeks. I was trying so conscious of not having that happen but the way he jumps. I was like, "Ahh, Jesus Christ..." 
[Shakefire]: What was it like working with Mike Tyson? 
[Bradley Cooper]: Great. He was awesome. I was intimidated at the prospect cause when I grew up, he was it. He wound up being fantastic. It's hard to go into a comedy where everybody's been there for three and a half months and you're there for three days and be able to weave yourself right in. And he was able to do it. He was totally willing and giving. I love the fact that we just got him air drumming "In the Air Tonight."
[Shakefire]: How do you like doing stage acting versus on film? 
[Bradley Cooper]: I think the hardest thing by far is theater. It's not even close actually. It's not even in the vicinity. I find that to be the most treacherous job as an actor. I did this play, the one with Julia on Broadway 3 years ago, and I lost like 17 pounds in rehearsals. Having to memorize that many lines and knowing that if you screw it up, you're done. There's nowhere to go. It's awful. You get through a show and you're like, "oh good, we won." But you got another one tomorrow, and then two more the next day, and you have 98 of them in the next three months. It's an outrageous demand on being able to focus. The thing I get nervous about is what if I get the hiccups? Or what if I get a panic attack? Cause it's pretty surreal and sometimes when you're out there on the stage, it's crazy man. 
[Shakefire]: Does it give give you a skill to how you can portray yourself? 
[Bradley Cooper]: Absolutely. It forces you to listen, which is always a great thing to the other actor. It forces you to focus in a way that you don't necessarily have to in a film. It also just gets you in touch with your body. You're on stage and you're not just acting with your voice. Your whole body is there for the whole public and it gets you in touch with yourself more and more. It only helps. 

[Shakefire]: What are you working on at the moment? 
[Bradley Cooper]: Nothing, just promoting this movie. We're promoting this movie up until the middle of June. 
[Shakefire]: Nothing else coming up? 
[Bradley Cooper]: I'm doing like 2 days on this movie called Valentines Day. Just like a very small role with Julia Roberts who I did a play with a couple of years ago so that'll be cool. 
[Shakefire]: The All About Steve project. That was earlier but that's coming out Labor Day. Why's that? 
[Bradley Cooper]: Dates change all the time. It's all about positioning it against other movies from other studios that are being released that weekend. I think the reason why they postponed it was they wanted The Proposal to come out first, the Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds movie, because they're really behind that. I think they wanted The Hangover to come out. So if those two movies really do well, then there could be more attention for All About Steve. And they just thought that that's a better time, Labor Day, not many movies come out then. That's a crazy sorta comedy you haven't really seen Sandra Bullock in. She really plays an out there character whereas in The Proposal it's much more who you know her to be. So I think it's sorta a strategic play. I think, I think that's what Fox did.  
[Shakefire]: There have been rumors about you being in the Green Lantern movie... 
[Bradley Cooper]: Really? Naw, I'm kidding. So many people have asked that. It's very flattering but I don't know anything about that. 
[Shakefire]: Would you like to do that? 
[Bradley Cooper]: Yeah, I don't know anything about that. 
[Shakefire]: Now with the TV stuff, stage stuff, complementary roles in movies, possibly Green Lantern. 
[Bradley Cooper]: You said it, I didn't say it (laughs). 
[Shakefire]: Has your career progressed in the speed and direction that you would have hoped? 
[Bradley Cooper]: Oh man, if you told me when I was sitting in a bar at Georgetown that I'd be doing a movie with Mike Tyson or a play with Julia Roberts and host Saturday Night Live, I would be like get outta here. This is great. I certainly have a lot more that I want to do. I feel like I haven't even started to do what I wanted to do. At the same time I'm really grateful. But yeah, of course, I have a lot of goals and I want to work with certain people.

Matt Rodriguez
Interview by Matt Rodriguez
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