Mr. Cooper — as in Bradley Cooper, he of the three-peat Best Actor Oscar nominations – came to Washington, D.C., this week to show off his tune-filled showbiz baby, a 21st-century re-invention of “A Star Is Born” for the reality-show era of entertainment that marks his debut as a filmmaker.
The star of “The Hangover” comedies and “Silver Linings Playbook” was still basking in the glow of rousing reception (including more than a little awards buzz) that his movie received at both the Venice and Toronto film festivals before it opens nationwide on Oct. 5.
As the end credits finished, People magazine’s 2011 choice for Sexiest Man Alive strolled to a director’s chair in front of an AMC theater screen along with George S. Stevens Jr., founder of the American Film Institute and a filmmaker himself, who moderated a Q & A session. An enthusiastic audience of local critics and females in their 20s and 30s were wiping away tears after an early screening of the fourth remake of the Hollywood classic. Cooper, who plays Jackson Maine, an alcoholic country legend opposite a glammed-down Lady Gaga as Ally, his younger protégé, seemed to feel right at home just a mile or so away from Georgetown University, his alma mater.
“Thank you for watching the movie,” Cooper, 43, told the attendees. Stevens began by saying, “It is hard to believe that this is a film by a first-time director and co-screenwriter. It’s a wonderful accomplishment and bold and beautiful.” Watch the full interview above.
The actor seemed sincere when he said, “I love D.C. I love being here. This is a real thrill. This is the first city I’m going to around the country, just to talk to people and show the movie. I got to do this with ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and it was the most nourishing aspect of promoting a movie was going around the country, and I talk to people who were willing to sit through the movie and talk to me. It was very educational – for me.”
As for his approach to shooting a story that has been told by three other movies with the same title, he said, ”It was about seven years ago, and I was lucky enough to be backstage at a Metallica concert at Yankees Stadium. I had met Lars Ulrich and I listened to Metallica when I was 14-years-old. And I loved ‘Ride the Lightning’ — that is why he says that in ‘Silver Linings Playbook.’ Anyway, I was behind the drum kit and I could see the sweat behind Lars’ neck. But at the same time I could see the scope of Yankee Stadium in front of him. And it was a beautiful proscenium. That was the first moment the idea came, ‘Oh, I’ve never seen that on film.’ The subjective eye that can actually be epic and personal at the same time. ‘That was the beginning of how I wanted to shoot all the concert sequences that you just saw.”
Cooper also discussed what it was like to perform with the powerhouse likes of Lady Gaga, how his experiences of being an actor on stage and screen affected how his interactions with his own cast and how much he enjoys the craft of editing. Check out the videos to see and hear more about Cooper’s first time behind the camera..