In a recent conversation between actors Bradley Cooper and Mahershala Ali, scheduled by Variety magazine, Cooper revealed that he almost gave up being an actor during the pandemic. “The reason I didn’t stop representing was Paul Thomas Anderson,” he revealed.
Bradley Cooper plays a supporting character in Licorice Pizza, the acclaimed filmmaker’s new movie, which hits theaters on the last Thursday of 2021. He is one of the serious contenders for the Oscars. “When he called me about eventually getting involved in the project, seriously Mahershala, I thought I’d opened a door to his film.”
The 47-year-old actor is a big fan of Paul Thomas Anderson, the director of films like “Magnolia”, “There Will Be Blood” or “The Master”. Cooper explained that it was his first job during the pandemic and that he had the opportunity to learn from the filmmaker during the weeks of filming. “I saw all the camera tests. It taught me everything about lenses, things I had no idea about,” explained Cooper, who is also a director. In 2018 he made his debut with “Assim Nasce Uma Estrela” – a huge success.
Bradley Cooper plays film producer Jon Peters in Licorice Pizza. He’s a supporting character, but he’s been highly acclaimed – in fact, Cooper is on the lists of top industry publications as a potential contender for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
When he finished filming, he returned to Nightmare Alley – Beco das Almas Perdidas, a project that had started before the pandemic but had to be put on hold for the same reason. The film, directed by Guillermo del Toro, hits Portuguese cinemas this Thursday, January 27th.
But according to Bradley Cooper, getting back to the character of Stanton Carlisle wasn’t difficult. A skill he was just honing on A Star Is Born, when he often had to alternate between playing the alcoholic musician and director on the recording set.
The actor was invited to take part in “Nightmare Alley: Alley of Lost Souls” after Leonardo DiCaprio left the project. “I remember thinking, ah, the guys who didn’t want to hire me, now they want to hire me? And then it was like this: Of course I have to do it because I never joined this group. It was insecurity and ego.”
The troubled career of Bradley Cooper – who has repeatedly considered quitting acting
Over the years, Cooper hasn’t exactly had an easy life in Hollywood. He repeatedly distanced himself from the industry and struggled with personal difficulties. His most important project at the beginning of his career started in 2001 – the series “A Vingadora”.
However, as the seasons passed, it became less and less prominent. Nor has her participation translated into increased work (and better roles) in the film and television industry. The actor eventually realized his days on ‘Avenger’ were numbered and that it wouldn’t get him anywhere.
Against the advice of colleagues and friends, he asked the screenwriters to remove his character from the story. Bradley Cooper dropped out of the series but had no work in sight. His name got a little better known, but he failed to gain regular and steady work.
At this point in his life, Cooper suffered from depression. He was insecure and doubtful that he would succeed in the field of his passion. Shortly after leaving the series, he had to face an additional difficulty. He tore his Achilles tendon, which has required a long (and painful) recovery.
Bradley Cooper has said in interviews that he spent most of a year lying on the couch taking Vicodin for the pain. He found almost no work and even wondered whether he should continue to be an actor at all.
“At some point you have to accept that ‘the industry just doesn’t want you,’ you know?” he said years later in an interview with GQ magazine. In 2004 he finally got the role in “Os Fura-Casamentos”, which was decisive for his career in the following years.
Two years later, the actor accepted the challenge of doing a play on Broadway. In “Three Days of Rain” he starred alongside Julia Roberts and Paul Rudd. Cooper has previously described his decision to play the role as a “life or death moment” for his career.
He’s also dealt with drug and alcohol addiction over the years, although it’s not an issue the actor has publicly addressed in detail. However, in statements to The Hollywood Reporter, he spoke about the moment when he had to make a decision and change his life.
“I realized that I wasn’t fulfilling my potential and that scared me a lot. I was like, wow, I’m really going to ruin my life.” One night at a particularly wild party, he hit his head twice on the cement floor — on purpose. He had to spend the night in the hospital. Since then, he has remained sober and determined to overcome his addiction.
After a string of less successful roles — such as on the show Kitchen Confidential and the movies The Midnight Meat Train and All About Steve — Cooper decided to pursue bolder roles and better projects. He may even have considered pausing his career if he didn’t make it.
The break came in 2010, but for different reasons. Bradley Cooper’s father had terminal cancer and the actor put his career on hold to spend the final months of his life with him. He traveled to Philadelphia, where he grew up, and stayed there for about a year. His father died in 2011 and after a while Cooper returned to work.
With “The Hangover”, “No Limits”, “A Guide to a Happy Ending”, “American Hustle”, “Guardians of the Galaxy”, “American Sniper” and “Joy” Bradley Cooper consolidated his reputation as a talented actor and respected – more versatile than he appeared in the early years of his career. However, before most of these films debuted, he lost a major role that also caused him to reconsider retiring from the profession. Cooper never revealed what the project was.
In 2018, in an interview with “W” magazine, he explained that there weren’t many roles left that he wanted to do. “I always thought I had six characters in me, and I’ve made a few of them. I was a soldier, a musician, a chef, a disfigured person. I still want to be a conductor. Then who knows?”
The conductor stands for Bradley Cooper on the near horizon. He will direct, write and star in a biopic about conductor Leonard Bernstein, currently in pre-production – a project passed to him by Steven Spielberg, who co-produces “Maestro” alongside Martin Scorsese and Tod Phillips.
After fulfilling that long-held wish and in light of Bradley’s story, he has repeatedly considered giving up his acting career, who knows what awaits him. What is certain is that Cooper seems increasingly involved in the process behind the camera.
Click on the gallery to discover more of the key films set to premiere in Portugal in 2022.