Fame's silver lining for Bradley Cooper who's no longer 'the sexiest man alive'
23:47 GMT, 8 November 2012
Formerly the world's sexiest man: Bradley Cooper thought the award was a joke
Bradley Cooper figured someone was jesting when he was dubbed the Sexiest Man Alive.
‘They called, and I actually thought it was a joke,’ he said, unable to suppress a guffaw. ‘There’s nothing in it at all. I mean, look at me!’
In any case, Bradley can rest easy, because he is now officially the former Sexiest Man Alive, having just been supplanted in the People magazine poll by Channing Tatum.
We were talking about the nature of fame, and how to survive it.
Long before he landed the blockbuster Hangover movies, and Wedding Crashers — and his latest, the sublime and sure-to-be Oscar-nominated romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook, which opens here on November 21 — Bradley had a brush with fame which, he admitted, he didn’t handle well.
He was in the U.S. TV drama Alias and, for a while, confesses he was a bit of a jackass.
‘I was 25, and there was something gratifying about someone you don’t know, knowing you,’ he said. ‘The whole idea of fame could absolutely fill a void if you let it in. Luckily I was young.’
This time around, he says he’s dealing with fame by not taking it seriously.
After Silver Linings Playbook was first screened, to tumultuous acclaim at Toronto’s International Film Festival, Bradley emerged, with leading lady Jennifer Lawrence and director David O. Russell tow, in a bit of a daze, as if none of the applause had been meant for him.
It’s the same when we meet for tea at the Connaught. ‘I’m in London — it’s a f***ing joke!’ he exclaimed, adding that he often has to slap himself, to make sure it’s all real.
Co-stars: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence both play unstable people in The Silver Linings Playbook
The two Hangover films have made more than a billion dollars. Bradley is currently in the middle of shooting the third and final film in the series, on locations in Los Angeles, Mexico and Las Vegas (where it all began).
That kind of success has allowed the Philadelphia-born actor to jump off the treadmill and make smaller pictures that aren’t part of the Hollywood studio machine.
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Take Playbook. There’s always a risk when actors play a character suffering from a mental illness — they often go over the top, and it’s deadly. Not this time, though.
Bradley plays Pat Solitano, a teacher who is sent to a psychiatric hospital after beating up his wife’s lover.
On his release, Pat has to live with his parents (who are played by Robert De Niro and Jackie Weaver) and stay away from his spouse, which he’s loath to do.
Enter Jennifer Lawrence’s Tiffany, a young woman who has issues of her own.
What ensues is a delightful combination of high drama, screwball comedy and romance. It’s that rare film where everything clicks.
Bradley and Jennifer (The Hunger Games, X-Men, Winter’s Bone) are the best cinematic couple I’ve seen since I don’t know when.
Bradley said director Russell made him explore different modulations of mental illness, and he came to the decision that less is more.
In the movie, Bradley’s characterisation doesn’t seem at all forced.
He puts that effortlessness down to Russell and Jennifer, whom he describes as having a classic quality ‘like Doris Day — while at the same time like Angelina Jolie’.
‘I want to make ten movies with her!’ he exclaimed, adding that they have already made a second, Serena, which is set during the Depression and is due to be released next year.
Bradley has a few movies to shoot back to back, and there’s a possibility that one will be made in London.
Then, next September, he’ll start rehearsing to play the lead in Bernard Pomerance’s great play Elephant Man, which will run on Broadway for several months from next October.
Now watch the trailer
U.S. stars preach to the converted
The hit Broadway musical The Book Of Mormon will feature American actors in the two key roles in London because the producers insisted on having the ‘real thing’.
Gavin Creel and Jared Gertner will play Mormon missionaries Elder Price and Elder Cunningham when the musical starts at the Prince of Wales Theatre from February 25.
The show, which is loaded with subversive wit, comes from the pens of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and Robert Lopez, who gave us Avenue Q.
Initially, the creative team, including director and choreographer Casey Nickolaw and producers Scott Rudin, Anne Garefino and Sonia Friedman, figured they’d cast British actors as the two Mormon Elders who get into hot water when they are sent to deepest Uganda to spread the word of the Lord.
Mission: Americans Jared Gertner and Gavin Creel will play Mormon missionaries in The Book of Mormon when it opens at the Prince of Wales Theatre
‘It became clear early on during the audition process in London that we needed the real thing,’ Ms Friedman said.
For instance, straitlaced Elder Price is a Mitt Romney type. ‘He’s that sort of square-jawed Mormon, and you can’t create that all-American look,’ Friedman observed.
I’ve seen The Book Of Mormon several times in New York, where it’s the city’s biggest smash. I was keen to get an outsider point of view so I sent the son of a colleague to check it out while he was holidaying in Manhattan. Two of the songs are called Hasa Diga Eebowai and Spooky Mormon Hell Dream, and he hailed them as ‘spectacularly lewd’ — and believe me they are.
But, as I’ve written before, there’s more to Mormon than profanity. It’s also a brilliantly constructed Broadway musical with a heart of gold. The rest of the company will include British actors Stephen Ashfield, Alexia Khadime and Daniel Buckley.
Watch out for…
Rufus Hound, the TV comedy actor and broadcaster, who will take over the role of funny-guy minder Frances Henshall in the comedy landmark One Man, Two Guvnors in the New Year.
Hound, who has been playing Henshall on a UK tour, will join the London company from February 4 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
Richard Bean adapted the play from Carlo Goldoni’s 1743 comedy A Servant Of Two Masters — and National Theatre director Nicholas Hytner and his team turned it into the funniest show in the solar system. In its 12-month West End run it has taken a phenomenal 12 million at the box office.
Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren and Scarlett Johansson, who star in the film Hitchcock, a love story about director Alfred Hitchcock and his wife Alma Reville, set against the backdrop of the making of his movie, Psycho.
Sacha Gervasi’s film tells how Hitch came up against all manner of opposition when trying to make the picture, now viewed as a classic, and had to fund it himself. Hopkins is fabulous as the film-maker, although Mirren almost steals it as the wife who helps save Psycho — and Hitchcock, too.
Watch out for: Hitchcock starring Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock and Scarlett Johanssen as Janet Leigh
Tara Fitzgerald, who will make her debut, opposite Jo Stone-Fewings, with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Fitzgerald will play Hermione in Lucy Bailey’s production of The Winter’s Tale at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, from January 24 until February 23. After that, it will go on a six-city UK tour.
Adrian Lester, who stars as 19th-century actor Ira Aldridge in Lolita Chakrabarti’s new play Red Velvet, which has been playing to turn-away crowds at the Tricycle Theatre in North London (I’m on its board). However, if you’ve missed it there are tickets available — for 100 each — for a special fund-raising last night.
The price includes a glass of wine at a pre-performance reception attended by Ms Chakrabarti and an invitation to the closing night bash after the curtain falls. Call 020 7328 1000 for details.
Daniel Lapaine, Kevin R. McNally and Indira Varma, who star in August Strindberg’s The Dance Of Death in a new English version by Conor McPherson. McNally is an army officer married to Varma and they detest each other. Lapaine plays a fellow soldier who comforts Varma, which sends McNally into a seething rage.
I last saw this play with Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen and there was some full-on loathing going on.
But the new version, which Titas Halder will direct for the Donmar Theatre’s Trafalgar Studio season (sponsored by United House), takes the hatred between husband and wife to whole new levels.