PEOPLE Magazine will announce the 2012 Sexiest Man Alive today, ending Bradley Cooper’s uninspired reign just as he covers the new issue of Esquire in service of Silver Linings Playbook, considered by many to be a strong Oscar contender. It’s almost as if his SMA title was a year premature, non? And that makes sense seeing as, ahem, he was rumoured to not have been the first choice. But no matter now -- Coop is in a film that is generating award season buzz and Ryan Gosling isn’t invited this time.
The interview isn’t super insightful, and most people will focus on his admission that he was once arrested for underage drinking, but he comes off reasonably humble, not dicky, and even rather honest in some parts. I particularly liked his defence of education. Have you noticed how many celebrities dismiss formal education because they claim to have been stifled in those environments when, really, it’s because they quit and hopped on a bus headed for Hollywood stardom? Coop tells the story of how he almost didn’t get into college and how his dad helped him figure it out in the end, and when he did eventually get accepted, he cried. Because “College is a big f-cking deal”. Is it still? In my family it was. I was the first on both (immigrant) sides to graduate from university. Now it seems like it’s a shrug, or a waste of time, or a James Franco art project.
As for his own projects, Coop drops the same move that Channing Tatum played in Details earlier this year -- click here for a refresher. Tatum refused to sh-t on his movies, even the sh-tty ones. In fact, he was proud of those efforts and expressed as much without sounding like he was mainlining Kool-Aid. Coop too doesn’t front like he’s better than his movies. He stands by The Words, which performed miserably earlier this year, and he even defends A-Team for being an experience he “loved” and would have wanted more of.
He also doesn’t lie about the money. Straight up, when he’s asked about $15 million, there’s no awkward well-that’s-an-exaggeration-I-don’t-really-know-how-much-it-really-is posturing and there’s no apology either. I made all those Hangover movies because I wanted to buy a house sounds a lot better than trying to find the creative profundity in drunken Vegas weekends.
My favourite part of the interview however is when David O. Russell walks in. Russell directed Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook and when asked why he cast him in the film, he said it was because of his anger:
“I saw him in Wedding Crashers, and he seemed like an angry person to me. Not just the role, but the person. And he was large. He was probably 50 pounds heavier than he is right now. Whenever I'd see him around socially, I'd think, He seems scary to me. As much as I love the Hangover movies, I knew he wasn't just a glib, handsome guy. He seemed angry, and anger is interesting to me. But that was only the tip of the iceberg. I had to know what else was under the hood — I'm mixing all my metaphors. So I said to him, "You seem angry." And he said it was something that he used as a defense. Who admits that in an early conversation? I love that kind of forthrightness because, you know, to my great detriment, I wear everything on my sleeve. I thought, Oh, my God, this is really interesting. He had this defense, and he was actually sort of the opposite of angry. He was scared or vulnerable.”
You know what I’m thinking here, right?
I mean, if there’s anyone who knows anger, it’s David O. Russell. Of course there’s the time George Clooney had him by the throat on the set of Three Kings and then there’s his argument with Lily Tomlin which, if you haven’t, you have to -- I’ve attached below. (Is there something wrong with me because I still laugh and I’ve seen it so many times...?)
So here are Cooper and Russell connecting over anger on a movie about an angry man prone to angry outbursts -- it’s like one of those perfect Hollywood loops.
Click here for more on Bradley Cooper in Esquire. Also attached - Coop in New York this week promoting Silver Linings Playbook.