OSCARS: Bradley Cooper Ready For Another Awards Season 'Hustle' – Interview

For many the grueling, six month awards season is a blessing and a curse. It’s great to be nominated but theBradley Cooper marathon race takes its toll on the contenders who might be crawling to the finish line after being on the circuit for such a protracted period of time. But that’s not the case for Bradley Cooper. It seems like he just got off the awards whirlwind after being nominated for everything in sight including an Oscar for last season’s Silver Linings Playbook, but he’s back with a vengeance with American Hustle for which his role as the innocent and somewhat loopy FBI  agent Richie DiMaso has already been nominated for a Golden Globe and Critics Choice Movie Award, as well as a SAG Cast award along with co-stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner among others. And there’s Oscar buzz again, this time in supporting rather than lead. So is he really happy to be going through all of this craziness again so soon? You bet. “If I am lucky enough to be a part of it, yes. I am excited.  Last year was amazing. I loved it. Maybe it’s because I still have a sort of innocent love of movies but to be in these rooms with these actors who I admire, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my time. I really love it,” he said when he called me from France this week. Cooper is having a little R and R as he says in Paris (“my favorite place for sure”) after wrapping Cameron Crowe’s untitled new film in Hawaii right before Christmas. He’ll be back in the States this weekend for the Palm Springs International Film Festival  when the Hustle cast receives the award for outstanding ensemble. And then next week it’s the Globes, CCMAs , SAG and on and on.

Related: Will ‘American Hustle’ Continue David O. Russell’s Hot Streak At The Oscars? (Video)

American HustleHustle, like Silver Linings, was directed by David O. Russell and Cooper considers their collaboration a full partnership. He also serves as an Executive Producer on the film which has already grossed over $70 million domestically, won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Picture and has so far racked up Best Picture nominations at the Globes, CCMAs  and the PGA as well as landing on AFI’s top 10 film list. Did he see it coming so soon after the success of Silver Linings? “The thing I’ve learned is that if you expect anything you’re a fool. But I did love the movie. We were so excited about it. We definitely did hope that it would catch on. And like Silver Linings the biggest promoter of the film is the film itself, ” he said adding he is especially happy for Russell. “HeSilver Linings Playbook would be the first to say he hit his stride with The Fighter. It’s almost as these three films are linked together. And he’s just in that place of knowing exactly the kinds of movies he wants to make and he’s found like-minded actors who get his sensibility. I’m lucky enough to have met him for Silver Linings. I feel like we’ve been working together straight for three years even though I did two other films. We were in post for Silver Linings Playbook last year and during awards season also prepping for this movie. And then the Oscars happened and literally the next day we got on a plane and flew to Boston where we were in prep. And being able to be the Executive Producer on both movies I was able to be in the editing room with him. It’s been like film school, really,” he said.

Related: OSCARS Q&A: David O. Russell On ‘American Hustle’

Cooper really enjoyed playing Di Maso , a terrific comic creation and different sort of FBI agent than is usually David_O_blog seen in movies. Although the film is very loosely based on the FBI stings aka the Abscam scandal of the late 70’s, the characters in the script Russell re-wrote (from Eric Singer’s more straight-forward original) were brand new creations. It was important to Cooper and Russell that the character be as colorful as the main guy, as textured and complicated. “That’s where we started. It just sort of built and built and all of a sudden we just sort of felt we met this Richie DiMaso character who was very clearly locked into his childlike entity, basically like a 15-year old adolescent kid who wants to hang out with the cool kids and has big ambitions but doesn’t have the maturity to deal with it. And that’s where this guy is. He’s still very innocent. I loved playing him. I think it’s the most fun I had to date for sure playing a character and I have gotten to play some wonderful characters,” he says adding some of the character traits even come from his own life such as Richie’s habit of chewing his tongue. He also spent two and a half hours a day in pink curlers (as he’s seen in one scene in the movie as well) under an old-style hair dryer.” It was crazy. I definitely have more sympathy for those who are in the make-up or hair trailer for a longer time. Usually I get in and out. I was there longer than anybody which is hard to believe considering how everyone looks in this movie,” he laughed. The film’s make- up and hair stylist team are among the seven finalists already named in that Oscar category.

1_161062As for his future films post-Russell he enjoyed doing the Crowe picture which he says has a great cast including Alec Baldwin, Bill Murray, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams and many others. Next he goes into American Sniper, a true story which starts shooting April 1st under Clint Eastwood’s direction. He starts training on Monday for the demanding role of the late Navy Seal Chris Kyle, known as the most lethal sniper in American history. It requires an entirely different physical transformation. “If you do see me during awards season don’t be surprised if I start to gain a lot of weight and my hair turns red. There’s nothing wrong with me so don’t worry,” he laughed.  Steven Spielberg was initially attached to the project being produced by Cooper’s company, but the actor says for whatever reason his deal did not go through, so he’s thrilled Eastwood came on board. And after that it appears Cooper is going to be doing The Elephant Man on Broadway in the Fall.  He had previously done the role for his thesis in grad school and then a couple of summers ago in Williamstown with no idea that it would lead to Broadway but that’s the way it is working out, he says. There’s also another film in the can, Serena, with Lawrence, his  Silver Linings and Hustle co-star. He’s not sure when it will be released but says it is in the final stages of completion by Oscar-winning Danish director Susanne Bier. It was shot before Hustle.

Busy guy, but not too busy for yet another awards season go-round.  Actors should have these kinds of problems.

  1. Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, and even eyes too far apart Jeremy Renner was good. Bradley Cooper was annoying and NOT likable once again. Bradley Cooper plays himself in this movie, like he did in The Hangover, like he did in Silver Linings Playbook and in Wedding Crashers, same character just slight variations. NO, he does not deserve a nomination or recognition for “acting” skills, when you had Christian Bale out act him in every scene.

    1. audience member , none of the performances in American Hustle deserve award recognition. Amy Adams couldn’t find the sexiness and the multi-faceted aspects of her role. Christian Bale just played his role straight with no shading. It felt like he just gained weight like Robert DeNiro and copied his speaking voice . Overpraised Jennifer Lawrence was miscast once again . She just can’t hide her youthful personality when she takes on adult roles , and she still has problems with conveying the maturity , complexity and nuance of her roles . Plus, Jennifer’s Long Island accent was dreadful , just like her ludicrous Philly accent in Silver Linings Playbook . This lady is an American actress that can’t do American accents . Why isn’t she enrolled in an acting classes ? Bradley Cooper never found the suaveness . the humor , and the depth of his character , and his performance was all over the place. Jeremy Renner’s performance and presence felt like he was in a completely different movie . I don’t understand the love for this sloppy , badly edited , and rushed film ?

        1. To everyone- please take at least 1 year of acting classes before you write clearly naive and unschooled comments. Everyone is entitled to their opinion in terms of how they were effected by a performance, and perhaps in the end, that does make up part of the equation of ‘an oscar worthy performance’ … but really people, ACTING IS NOT AS EASY AS IT LOOKS.

          IMHO, the performances in Hustle were across the board strong, but none of them were stellar or stood out. But you must take into account that ALL OF THEM ARE SO TALENTED, THEY ARE MAKING IT LOOK VERY EASY. IT. IS. NOT.

          Go tape yourself on your little smart phone with a scene from the movie and then we’ll talk.

          1. @take a class .

            ” To everyone- please take at least 1 year of acting classes before you write clearly naive and unschooled comments. Everyone is entitled to their opinion in terms of how they were effected by a performance, and perhaps in the end, that does make up part of the equation of ‘an oscar worthy performance’ … but really people, ACTING IS NOT AS EASY AS IT LOOKS. ”

            I was giving my opinion and acting classes has nothing to do with observing bad or good acting performances . Acting is not easy , and that is why training is relevant . Did you seriously buy Jennifer Lawrence’s fake ( and inconsistent ) Long Island accent ? It was laughable to me .

            ” IMHO, the performances in Hustle were across the board strong, but none of them were stellar or stood out. But you must take into account that ALL OF THEM ARE SO TALENTED, THEY ARE MAKING IT LOOK VERY EASY. IT. IS. NOT. ”

            The reason why the performances didn’t stand out for you , it may be because you found them mediocre . Think about it ! Plus, the director didn’t do them any favors .

  2. American Hustle was a great movie, JL was fun, great sexy, ballsy and CAN play older characters because her acting chops come from that deep, bottomed out place where all great acting comes from. She doesn’t over think it she just lets it rip. She does her homework and then trusts it on set. She is amazing to watch. CB again delivers a stellar perf, understands his role in the film, his tone, courageous perf. The gotcha scene was handled with great and underplayed skill. He never gets in his own way and he serves the film. Brilliant. BC – though not in their league – has charisma to burn, a certain naivte/optimism which the role needed so the gotcha moment could ring as loud as it did. Very giving actor. Makes many other choices possible for his cast mates. That is smart. AA did a fantastic job walking the tight rope between her two men. We had to feel like she could leave CB and we did. Great accent and I thought she looked hot as hell. JR – great job and why do we need the streotypical “Bronx” guy in every GD film? He was great and that scene with CB at end were wrenching and beautifully restrained. Russell – this guy writes and directs indie films that not even the big boys can ignore. That is huge. Very few can pull that off. Bravo DOR! My fav film of the year so far. Now, back to August: Osage County. The first 10 minutes made me want to tear my teeth out. Couldn’t take it. All that dust and heat and white face and O good lord I needed a shower. Betcha I won’t make it all the way through!

  3. Terrible, sloppy movie. I blame O russell squarely. Too much improvisation, too much sloppy “just because we’re enjoying this must mean everyone else is”. Let’s start:

    Brad Cooper – completely over the top, fast impressing, should have been reigned in. That’s bad directing letting them run away with stuff. And don’t even start with the hair curl scene where they must have pissed themselves thinking “look how funny we are”.

    Jennifer Lawrence. Not even close to portraying the age she’s supposed to be. Completely miscast. Besides – what is her purpose in story? You can cut her out completely and with two line changes have a much tighter story. Just buddy casting and indulgence. Don’t get me started to her singing the Live And Let die part.

    Louis CK. Fine comedian, but completely out of his depth here. Cast a real actor, not your funny buddy, O Russell. ANd the whole storyline where Brad beats his supervising FBI boss up and still keeps his job – and we’re supposed to buy it? You have got to be shitting me.

    The rest get away with it, Adams is good, but for me Renner was the best. But just a totally unfocused, unscripted, indulgent movie from someone who people don’t dare say no to. Improvisation sucks – it never improves anything. Look what unrestricted Improvisation has given us: Will Ferrell. Wig humour.

    I rest my case.

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