The film’s opening musical sequence plants the audience onstage with Cooper’s Jackson Maine as he performs a song called Black Eyes for thousands of adoring fans. Bradley shares the screen with Lady Gaga. The star could be in the run to get a nomination for the Oscars. Actor and now a director, Bradley Cooper is the artist of the moment in Hollywood, with him we talked about his career and his passion for Federico García Lorca.
Q: Why you wanted to portray and direct the story of a Star is Born?
A: I loved it. To see a guy who goes from this complacency to then having power, and what he does with that power. And I liked him; I thought he was a good guy actually.
Q; If you had access to a drug that perhaps made your potential limitless do you think you would still be an actor? Would you venture into other areas?
A: I’ve obviously thought about this just from the questions and I think for sure I would definitely try to learn as many languages as I could right away. And then I would probably after that, much like he did, learn as many instruments as I could. After that I don’t know, but I would probably try to get money so I could go around and utilize that. But it would be incredible to just start jamming with all these great musicians and communicating with people wherever you are in all the different dialects. I mean it would be incredible. I don’t know what I would do after that, but I would still be an actor and directing. I would probably start finally getting off my ass and facing the fear because all I really want to do is direct movies anyway.
Q: How it was working with Lady Gaga?
A: knew nothing about her. I didn't even know, really, what she looked like before I met her. And I was — I couldn't believe how comfortable she made me feel, and how present she was. And then we went to the piano and sang, and it was this kind of wonderful thing. I couldn't believe it. So that was the beginning of the journey. And the first time we sang together everything's live; we sing everything live in the movie. There's nothing, we're not lip-synching. And I turned to Lady Gaga, who was singing next to me, and she was looking at me like I was Jackson Maine. And when you're in a scene, and the actor is fully believing that you're the character, you can't not believe it yourself. So she really gave me that confidence.
Q: Do you invest yourself in the character?
A: I think because I'm 40, and I've gone through a lot in my life, I was able to do it with joy. 'Cause some people have asked me: It must have been hard to go to those places? But oddly enough, it was very therapeutic. You know, I've had an interesting road, and I've dealt with similar things in my life. And I've observed it in others close to me, and addiction in general. And the main thing, when I was writing it and specifically shooting it, I thought: Gosh, when this movie comes out (if it does come out), I really want anybody who knows deeply about this disease to say, Yeah, this is the reflection of what it's like. Not a glossy version, but the real reality of what it is to be an addict.
Q: What type of movies would you want to direct?
A: Just do stories that I love. You have to as a director. There’s got to be something you want to tell, and that’s the engine which spurs all of the work that you have to do in order to create this story. But you have to love some sort of nugget of what you’re telling, I think, to be a filmmaker.
Q: How would you described as an artist?
A: I made myself a very small window of what I enjoy in this business, which is I love being a big part of the storytelling process; it really fulfills me. Whether or not I’ll get that opportunity again I don’t know. I hope to. I definitely am a huge creature of my environment. It dictates my emotional state to a huge degree, so yeah, environment is everything.
Q; What mindset do you use to prep for a role?
A: Same mindset. It’s completely the same. It’s playing a role and whatever that happens to be may demand different ways in but the structure’s the same. You have to prepare. Acting’s acting, whether it’s comedy or drama, there’s a music to it, and the music changes with comedy. That’s all for me. I need to experience. For every movie it’s been a moment. For “Hangover” it was the phone call when I call Tracy. It was more like I just saw how it was going to be and I thought I would love to do that. The blood drinking? We had to adhere to ratings and stuff like that, so it wouldn’t be exactly, but yeah, it’s say so.
Q: With “Hangover” your career really took off. How did you experience this? And I read somewhere you wanted to become a chef.
A: Why am I not a chef? Clearly, being a part of a movie that’s so financially lucrative provides opportunities, and that’s what that movie did for everybody, from the DP to everybody. And with that comes a higher profile, so you have paparazzi, that was a new thing, that you just have to learn to navigate. The great part is that I was able to do a movie like “Limitless.” Maybe Relativity wouldn’t have hired me to do it if I hadn’t been a part of “The Hangover,” which was so successful. I love cooking. I was more interested to play a chef than to be a chef, so I think that told me early on that acting was where I wanted to go.
Q: The Hangover franchise has had a major effect on your on screen image. Has that cause you concern?
A: It doesn’t scare me only because I operate pretty simply. I want to work with great filmmakers and great actors and get better as an actor; that’s basically it. And what that usually means is it’s not going to be the same kind of movie or the same genre or the same role. So by hook or by crook I’m going to try to get different roles just because I’m operating under that premise. Doing a tv show like “Alias,” for example, I played probably the nicest guy in the world, this guy Will Tippin, who was a journalist, and I would audition for movies during that time and afterwards and normally the feedback would be “He’s such a nice guy, Bradley. I don’t really see an edge, but such a sweet guy. Please tell him we loved meeting him” And then David Dobkin took a real chance and hired me as the heavy in “The Wedding Crashers,” to play a sociopathic bad guy. And then it became “Bradley; he’s an asshole, right?” I mean really. “Because it seems like he’s really an asshole. He wasn’t acting, I could tell. There’s something really deep going on.” Elia Kazan said “If you’re going to audition to play a cowboy you better show up with the horse.” It’s beyond my control who’s going to cast me or how you’re going to be pigeonholed. So for me it’s just basic I want to keep doing different things because I want to get better. So hopefully I’ll be hired to do them. So “Hangover” was a huge success; will it mean that I’ll be cast in movies like that? No, because I won’t do movies like that. But then it also might mean I’ll never work, so we’ll see.
Q: Did you ever feel lost?
A: Sure, oh absolutely. Oh god yeah. As a human being, yeah, sure. If anybody’s in touch with themselves, do you feel worthless at points in your life and things aren’t going to happen in the way you wanted them to? Yeah, sure.
Q: Do you speak Spanish?
A: The necessary amount to order food or move around in a city were people speak Spanish. Not really but I know some words. ¿Cómo estás?
Q: Have you ever have a chance to read any Spanish author?
A: Well yes, I’ve read some plays from Garcia Lorca and I am very fond of his poems. He is an author that I come back frequently. I truly admire his capacity to communicate sensibility and emotions