Bradley Cooper


Hey, guys, Willie Geist here with another episode of the Sunday, sit down podcast and my guest this week. I think you would make a pretty good case is the biggest star in Hollywood right now, Bradley Cooper, rather than I got together a little restaurant and the village here New York City to talk about his direct to'real debut for the film. Everybody's been talking about for months. Now, a star is born as I said he directs it he co stars in it. And he's joined of course, by lady Gaga, they're nominated for eight Oscars together. Best picture best actor best actress among them, and it's been a long time coming Bradley years ago took over this project wasn't quite sure where he was going to go with the star in star's born. He was thinking do I get an actress who can sing? And then as you'll hear he was at a cancer benefit one night. And he saw lady Gaga get up on the stage in sing lovey on rose and almost a chill when up his spine. He said, oh my God. I've found my alley who is the character in a stars born. He also talks about his long road to Hollywood success the movies that jump started his career favorites like the hangover, limitless silver linings playbook. Plus what it's like to work now with so many of the people he idolized as a young kid growing up Robert deniro, for example, Bradley, and I've known each other for a long time, and he always talks about when you're basketball player. And you got the poster of Michael Jordan up on your walls a kid. What do you do? When all of a sudden you find yourself playing with Michael Jordan. He's passing you the ball. And letting you take the shot at the end of the game. That's how he feels about Robert deniro and a bunch of these other actors that he now works with all the time. He's also a Philadelphia guy who grew up in a tight knit family. His mother who is his biggest fan as you'll hear and his father who died in two thousand eleven after a long fight with cancer. You'll hear just how emotional that was. And just how close he was to his dad. It's a great candidate at times, you'll hear a motion interview with Bradley Cooper. And it's right now on the Sunday sit down podcast, thanks for doing this. Overdo? It is long overdue -gratulations with your show three years. Thank you very much coming up on I in crashes to you on stars born I was with the couple nights ago at the national board review words when you got one best director, what's it been like, given the amount of time and energy and effort and mindshare you've given to this project to have it received the way it's been received. It's overwhelming. Yeah. I mean, the fact that you never know you have this idea of something that that's pretty outrageous in the sense of like the fourth remake of stars or in a sort of by Connor property films films that have been successful in this idea. But I think I was just getting to an age where I was forty years old and and. You know, part of it has to do with the fact that, you know, there was a bunch of directors, and I've always dreamed of working with and they just weren't asking me to do movies with them. So I keep waiting, and you know, I thought that was part of what what sort of prompted me. I wouldn't say prompted me encourage me out of frustration almost gotta do it myself. And there's this thing is property that I really thought was a great sandbox to investigate things that I've been thinking about like I wanted to tell love story I wanted to investigate childhood trauma. What is defined your identity all these different things? So was a coma nation of like being at that age not being able to work with the people I wanted to work with and also always wanting to tell a story and finally having the courage to do it. What was it about this story that you were so interested in this is worth me taken a few years literally out of my career and putting it all into it was it was. It's hard to say like it wasn't like there was like, oh like there's a log line of what is it? It's like moments, you know, is at the Metallica concert behind LARs rid the drum kit, and I saw this composition be mazing too. If that's how you experience a concert as if you're in watching a film like it's so intimate at the same time the epic scope, and then and then Clinton's was going to direct it, and he talked to me about this movie. And I read it a version another version that's not our version. And I got remembered the Christoffersen Barbara strikes, which I hadn't really seen the reverberations of that film for us growing up. I mean, you couldn't escape it, nor would you want to. But so you always had these images in your mind. And then I was kinda thought maybe I could play a musician just based on the fact of all of these sort of Rockstars that I'd sort of I'd allies as a kid sort of spend time, and you know, you're walking around daydreaming, you know, and my father played me so much music loving music. A bunch of different things. And then and then I just thought I've always wanted to direct. I've always been so curious about how films are made. You know, I realized that early on when I was doing a television show called alias, and I would always spent all of my time watching how they would direct an edit and stain the editing rooms, and then as I've been able to grow as an actor directors have been so giving with their time and energy with meet with movies like David Russell. There's no way I would've been able to direct this movie without Damon. Russell who really invited me into his process for silver linings playbook, and American hustle, and even joy and other people around you said that you want to be a director go for it, man. Don't start with this ambitious where you're star directing. Yeah. It was one of them crazy. But you got to learn instrument play the piano, and you've gotta help really a first time starring actress along as well did you ever listen to those voices? They maybe this isn't the place to start surely listen to them, I took it in. But in a way, maybe that even allow me to persevere more because it demanded that I dig deep and figure out what it is. How real does this story? Feel to me how much of a motivating factor is for me to have to tell the story and kind of made me doubled down on and making a movie any movie you have to go on faith. I think no matter who you are how many great movies you've made your always starting zero. You know, again, you know, so it's all on a deep sense of want to tell the story, and then instinct about a person when you meet them, and ideally, I knew Dave Chapelle had to play the character noodle. So it's just about you know, trying to get them to do it. And. Yeah, I mean, I think it's just the love of. Of wanting to finally tell stories before I get to old. That really motivated and no having some you say it's kind of like what I wrote with Jackson says to her in the mar- if you have some say in the way to say make people listen to you gotta do it. Great Cassie get a great story. But there's no guarantee that it's going to turn out the way you have in your head. Because you've got a the wildcard I would suggest is that you've got to learn how to be musician. You think you can do it? But then you gotta learn how to do it. And I actually remember not to disclose too much. But when you were in the editing room, we were texting back and forth. And you're like this could have gone either way like my singing could have ruined the movie. Oh, absolutely. I don't think it did. And you were right. But I also made the band with which I would sing as small as I could. So that I could do well with it, you know, and, but I worked hard, you know, Roger love this incredible voice coach I had no idea that was the only thing I think there's a little bit of an I if I knew just how hard how much work I would have had to done. I I don't know. But, but you know, learning how to breathe in front of an audio. Since you know, the first thing that goes into get nervous as your breath. Right. And then you have to sing you have to be completely open and fluid because this is the literally the instrument. So I've I spent just tons of hours working with him and Lukas Nelson. I set up my basement was like a little studio and microphones and amps and the piano guitars, and and it, but it was also fun. I mean, that's the other thing. Really? It was so much fun. You know, so so that was also motivating factor. It wasn't sort of looking at my watch all the time saying, I gotta even other our to like work with Lucas Nelson. I mean, it was incredible. You know, fear would come in. But I think that's just motivated to work as hard as I could. And then there's the question of who we sang live throughout and Yvo said you had. And you had to do that. And I think Gaga said, no Lipson. I mean, the songs are scenes occur during song. So it would be so hot. It would be like, you know, if we were dubbing this conversation. Right. So you then had to go find your star and the now famous stories that you saw lady Gaga seeing at the benefit, Sean Parker's. How you go over to her house? The next day the leftover pasta play the piano together, which she on your radar before that event. In other words, you thought about a week before her agent talked her agent, and and then I found coincidentally that I was talking about foundation for my father at that event. And that she was going to be the last act. So I knew she was coming up. But I had no idea. I guess I had we'd met at Saturday Night Live years ago. She she had I was at one Academy Award show where she sang. But it wasn't really until that moment when when she sang Libyan rose that it just sort of. It was just one of those moments where you that was that is that idea that strikes, and then you just know all that. That's it. So hopefully, a meter show agree to me with me. And then let's see what that's like. But right now when I'm watching her onstage signet song. It's an watching the fact of the room. That's it. Yeah. It's like, but there's a big leap from your reaction to it to her. Who's never started a major motion picture before the second step, which was then meeting her house and talking right away. I just thought that that's if I could just get her to be as open, and and as free and warm she is right now infused into alley. I think we'll be okay, you know, and if I can pull if I could pull that off I her singing a nuclear weapon, and then now learning about her energy, and who she is just when she walks in a room while I just felt like I hit a gold mine. So what's the pitch to her? When you go by her house the next day because she's probably not thinking, I'm ready to put my music career on hold and go do this movie. Yeah. I mean. I just told her exactly I just tried to speak completely from the heart of why I wanted to tell the story. Why thought she was right for what I wanted to investigate in the movie and then also. Letting her know that the the only way she's going to be able to do the successfully I'll be able to make do successfully if she trust me out and percents, and that's the blind faith, and there was a bit of a bar, which I'd talked about which is you know. And then I have to trust her that she's not going allow me to be Jackson main stage. Right. If she doesn't believe I'm Jackson. Maine. Right. Right. Well, that's a great witness. Because the first time we ever saying live was at Coachella in between she headlined that year. So we had the run of the the fairgrounds for a week. So we we sent glass it out this Email to Oliver fans, and like so we got like I think like three or four hundred people came and we control the, but it was live meeting people. And remember the first time we were seeing this on digging my grave, and she was looking at me like I was Jackson Maine, and that helped I already believed I was, but then lady Gaga Sally believing me. And then we start singing, I didn't sound horrible. I thought okay. This is working. But that gave me the confidence to then jump on stage coach by myself, and then, you know, Glastonbury by myself, but I don't think if I hadn't been with her initially. There's no way I think I would've been able to do that. So then once it like, now's become come full circle. At the event we were both at the other night where she gets up on stage to accept an award for best actress, and she looks at you. And she says, Bradley, you are a musician, and she meant it she came from the heart. She's in other words, you weren't faking the musician. You are my reaction. I was like. Yeah. And I think it's because it was so tied into Jackson main. I know that sounds like, you know, little I dunno whatever the word is. But but it really I really believe that like that was him. You know? I love music. I guess I'm very musical. But I I learned you know, and I love I love writing songs, I didn't realize that. Although I did used to write songs I was a kid. But a musician is vocation to me it feels like in. I would have to dedicate a lot more time to become vision. But I loved it. And I'm glad that I had a proclivity for it is that the word and Georgetown where. Vanderbilt disgusting. We'll cut out. So is it weird to you? Now that I know you say it's the Jackson name, but is your voice, and it's you're playing to look at the I tunes list and see the number one song. America's by Bradley Cooper and lady Gaga. Yeah. That was you know. Yeah. It's crazy. This whole thing is wonderful. Yeah. You know, what you said from the beginning. Was it feel for something that you fell so deep inside to be received? Well, I mean, it's you know, it's just overwhelming. You know is like it thinking. Oh, oh, okay. You're maybe your instinct is wrong. You know, this business is so hard and so often things don't work. So when things work it's like just have to make sure to take it. And that's the thing. I keep telling myself. It's just like I'll make sure to just take it in it'd be. So what is shame. If I didn't. Then you got Steven Spielberg standing up on a stage going on and on about what a great director. You are how this is just the beginning of your great career as a director. I was actually in the wings with him when he went up, and he was talking about you. And he said, I knew immediately Bradley screen test one of the people that we go for did. Yeah. What do you tell you? He said he said, you know, you have to you have to see it through. And then that was before shot the screeners. I was when I was starting to write in. Initially. So you went over his house and showed I showed it because they they didn't see the idea of her together. And I think they would probably also been nervous about the whole idea in general me, directing this movie. So I shot a screen test. But it was even more than a screen test for her I wound up taking advantage, and like shooting real scene, and like inter house and editing it for a couple of weeks like ten page seen of him, waking her up and Jackson main didn't even exist at all. Like, my voice was a low. I tried like earrings Bano airing. You know, when you asked me what they're trying to be polite. I yeah. No, no. So there's no Jackson main. But it was all, but but there was a chemistry. There was something that you felt especially towards the end the scene, and I went to his house, and I just thought of my, you know, he's the greatest and I thought he'll he'll tell you the truth. And and so that was that was a real. It was incredible to be able to show him that at this house before I before I showed it to Warner Brothers one of the things I love about you. And you go is that you're still kind of in awe of all this. That's happened in your life or the last ten years or fifteen years and win Spielberg gave you the word. You said thank you, Steven these crazy, we've talked about that before, you know, work with Robert deniro. It's like if you played basketball on the poster of Michael Jordan's on your wall. Right. And then you're playing. Yeah. And you still have that. How could you not? I mean, I love it so much. How could I never that would never end? You know, let comes with the love of the of doing this yet. The thing I love that Stevens said was survivor. I couldn't believe he said that I was like that was so happy. So what did you take that to mean? Well, just because I've been doing this for twenty years, you know, and it's it's and I I know the people's it's almost like about agents. So he so he's an actor. I find this. I'm so feel so lucky to be in this profession. I I hold it such high regard. I think it's an incredible thing to watch people give all themselves to tell the story. And that's kind of what I was talking about when I was listening to the rooms because if you do it with love, it's for you. It's not a selfish thing. But with the fear is all about me, how people can feel about me. And I feel like when I'm in a collaborative arena with with artists telling story, it all feels like it has nothing to do with us that we're actually serving something else. And. And to me. That's it. That's the ideal way to live. Right. That's the whole. That's what we're trying to heal each other. So and remind each of the world together because I don't want to be alone and walk down the road of life alone. Because then it's just me and my head that's way. No, you know, I wanted so so so to be able to be in the profession that I can make a living at and raise a family and dedicate all my time to telling stories, I mean, I I hold that in the highest regard possible. So to be able to be with people that I've been mired done that for me as a kid. That's endlessly, you know, over whelming integrate way Clint Eastwood to that dad's favorites. Yeah. Of course guy. Yeah. So you've been nominated for three Academy Awards in years past how much would it mean to you to win one either for director actor picture this time around given how much you've poured into this project? Just to be to be nominated would be great. It was take one step at the time. Let's see. I think you're going to be okay in that regard. Who knows man, you never know? But you know, I. It's an people talk about it all the time. It's an it's odd thing to award something that's our testing it. Just it's not like a sporting event where you cross the line and that person finished two seconds before the other person. That's it. This is all subjective medium. So it's a it's a tough thing to get your head around being part of something like that. Because it's so anti-theft to the whole art form to me the thing I do love about it is to be in a room with people. And to be reminded that you're part of a community. It was like this. Why love doing theater in New York, as you know, the play ends and y'all go to the same three places, and you see somebody who's doing it right down the street or somebody who just got off. And that's incredible. And you like what this plane that's going on right now, you know, eight oh five the Broadway writes up, and and all these stories are being told being a part of a community is amazing when you make a move. You're not reminded of that as much because everybody's parse out throughout the country in the world. So being a room and see Denzel wash. They're supporting his son. Yeah. You know? I just realized I didn't know that was a son. I just saw the movie he's incredible God. 'cause I was sitting there. I saw them in the beginning. I'm like what he didn't go up and present and the layers that was the son black klansman, no idea, he's incredibly Christian bale sitting right here. You know? And then Dick Van Dyke reminded me of my father like so much like my dad and to seeing him and then Carol Burnett getting the that award. You know, I I mean to be in that room was awesome. Yeah. Jeff bridges right there. So those that aspect of it is kind of infectious kind of wonderful and you still pinch yourself. Look around can't believe you deserve to be in that room. You know, now just sort of like just bathe in the eye of seeing everybody is like the. Yeah. And the fact that some of these people, I know now, right? And they're warm people, you know, because that's the other thing Denzel Washington such a wonderful. He and his wife. They're so wonderful. That's incredible. You know, somebody who's your hero growing up. And then you see them and the normal and everybody's human being right? That's the other thing. That's always true people forget that. But then it's got to be weird thing that you're in the club like one day all of a sudden, oh, I get to come in the door and hang out with these. That's cra-. I remember the first time I went to the Golden Globes was with alias, Jennifer garner. I was like all the way in the back. Just you're seeing a camera Di McGregor like walking out like. You're like all just felt like some and also the place fell like the funder dome. And now you now it's like it's a small little right, right? It's really interesting. Yeah. It's like going back to your high school. And you're like, oh, I imagined all the I remember when I went back to my twenty year reunion. I looking at all the kids, and they look like kids, but when I was in high school, like the seniors you look. The teachers have kids gotten younger because literally my brain, you know, Zach Burwell looked old. Yeah. We'll think about your parents. My parents were my age they were old forty-three they were fully formed grown. Now. I feel not not in that position. So this year will be the tenth anniversary of the hangover. Oh, two thousand nine right? We shot it two thousand eight right? And I think most people Mark that it's the beginning of this run for you. We had a bunch of movies and get alias, but you were the guy from wedding crashers. Right. No question about it. What did the hangover do for you? First of all financial. It was like the idea of making money like that blew me away. And then it allowed allowed a studio like relativity at the time to take a chance in higher meat to play a role in limitless leading limbless. So I think that really was limitless. I think then that that I think. Encourage people like David Russell, the say, you know, maybe we'll take a chance or or like what's his Tom Rothman at FOX to say, okay. Maybe he could do the eighteen I think without that. There's no way that people would have taken a chance. So you go home that silver linings, then that's the big sort of the big budget. Okay. I know your name and your face. Limitless. And all these other. Chance right. If limitless limitless didn't work, and then that's it. Even even with the hangover the hangover. It was just it was it was really about the triumph Rindt. Right. You know? Right. And then limitless was an opportunity to just see if there's can this guy. Tell the story. Yes. As an actor, right? And you had to sell that a little bit to one of your heroes. Yeah. Yeah. They weren't gonna make the movie there was another name and or a name because I wasn't even really name. And and Robert deniro get thinking robbers near would be great for this Carl van loon character, but it was such a small role. So then I read the book, and I thought what if we combine two roles from the book and make his character larger. So I went to his hotel room and pitched it to him. Yeah. It was crazy. So you walk into deniro's hotel room this guy, again, the poster on the wall. Yeah. And you're like didn't have as postal. Figuratively. That'd be a little weird. Yeah. Yeah. Pennants Phillies one of your heroes, though. And you you have the job of convincing him to take a role. It was amazing. But again, you know, you meet these people that well Robert near I'd met before even though I don't think he remembered at I had addition to play I put myself on tape to play a role in everybody's fine. Which was a movie he did, and my mom, and I did the tape in my house in in Venice, California, and we sent it in and he asked his agent if he can meet me, and I went and I went and met him. And that was the first time I sort of talked to one on one, and he just met with me to tell me that I wasn't going to get the job. But that he wanted me to know they don't stop because I see something in you. So the fact that he did that number one is really reveals who he is person to take that time because didn't serve him at all. And then so so I felt a little bit of comfort because that had happened to go and talk to them at the hotel, even though I don't know if he remembered that. But he was so president interested in and then he called his agent right away and said, I I wanted to movie. Yeah. Well, he loves you. I know that having talked to him about it. You mentioned your mom. What does your mom think about the success of stars born and what's happening right now? You know, my most funding always thinks everything's going to be a huge hit. Mums and bomb. No, this one's gonna work badly. Now. I'm telling you, you know, you're a cook. And it's always been it's going to be. I'm like mom is not gonna work now. And the stones amazing Hawaii Bill Murray's mama's not gonna win. And so it's just a maybe I'm wrong thinking so now she doesn't with cautious. Which I kinda dig dignity. I don't know. It's tough out there. But she's still, but yes, she's definitely like like it did a total on eighty. So did she see early cuts of this? Like did. She look at the moving. I don't know. She loved it. She loved right away. She did. Yeah. Yeah. How couldn't you? I guess right. I mean felt like we had something special early. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Do you think about and I know you do what your dad would think about where you are in your career right now? Yeah. Yeah. Sure. Yeah. Yeah. What are you thinking thinking? I don't know, man. You know, it's part of life. Guy. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Anyway. Sorry. Well, I guess as you look down the road a little bit. You keep doing this thing. Help keep directing. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. As long as I find I did. I mean, it's a love something so much that you're willing to put the work in and as long as that keeps happening. Yeah. Famous eagles fan famous. Philly's fan. Bradley Cooper, that's hilarious, by the way. What famous fan? Well, there's a lot of cut-away that Super Bowl like every ten minutes. You're in the low Phillies. You're the face of the eagles fan base. Now. How did Philly shape you make you who you are Philadelphia down everything? Jeez. I mean, it's part it's your route. So wherever I would have grown up. But if shaped me growing up, I think, you know. My parents coming from where they did my mother being Italian my father being Irish their respective parents being firemen and policemen and my mother having two brothers my father having a sister. You know, all that, you know, my sister, and I growing up in Jacob town, both of my parents, having moved from the inner city sort of into the semi suburbs. I mean, I guess people really wouldn't even call themselves. They like their train tracks house movie theater. But felt like I lived in like a palace, you know, till I went to GI. You know, there's a lot of discovery, you know, a lot of socio economic discovery as a kid growing up in Philly. You know, also culturally, I I'm just very lucky. I was very exposed to a lot of different cultures in Philadelphia. But she wouldn't have thought my parents are very smart about taking the everywhere. And I think just by the nature of where they came from. I I was exposed to a lot of different socioeconomic cultural realities early on. I think that has served me invaluable throughout my life. Also, there's a there's a individuality about Philadelphia. There's a just such a strong personality that the city has that you meet anybody that comes from Philadelphia kinda know and to say, it's really, you know, it's really other than Boston. I I haven't really found that, you know, maybe San Francisco in its own completely different way has that too. And as I've left, you know, as I left there to go to college, you know, as the years go on I miss it, more and more which I never would have thought growing up that I would want to go back there. I wanna go back there all the time. And I haven't thought about maybe moving back there. Really? Yeah. You do that. I I would maybe do that. Yeah. I really love it and so-so where you learned to let movies to learned everything. Yeah. You know what? I mean. But yeah, I mean Comcast came through Philadelphia in the eighties. I think and and that was Comcast hadn't come through Philadelphia. I don't know if I would be an actor because you know, all of a sudden alpha man and pock lips now. And you know, all the dresser all these movies are playing on a loop on prism HBO. Yeah. It was a little toggle thing above your television. And so I would just watch movies all the time. And then and then also having movie theater right behind my house. But, but but the idea of like movies all the time amazing, incredible autour driven movies. Just sort of be watching all the time as a kid was huge Comcast. And comcast. And thank you come cast for everything for me. The fact that elephant man was one of your earliest movies. What a great full circle moment to do that on Brown. Right. I mean. Yeah. I mean, that's again. That's the thing. If like if you love something so much, and you feel it so deep, and you put the work in you who knows where it will take you. And that's what happened with the stores born. And I think that's hopefully it will happen in the next project. I do that there's a deep deep seated inspiration that I hold onto. And that's the fuel to which I'm sure you do with your work. You know, there's something you've always wanted to do and or investigate or be a part of. So otherwise, I I don't know. I don't know how to put that kind of work India. No. Yeah. You got to believe in it. Yeah. Congratulations, man. Thank you, proud of you to them. Thanks. My thanks again to Bradley Cooper for sitting down and spending some time with us on the Sunday. Sit down podcast. He wasn't doing any press. The movie came out in October was good enough to take time and hang out with us. He is truly one of the all time. Great guys. My thanks all of you for tuning in this week to hear more of our conversations with all my guests. Be sure to click subscribe and listen for free every week and forget to tune in to Sunday today every weekend on NBC. I'm Willie Geist. We'll see you right back here next week on the Sunday. Sit down podcasts. Hi, it's Lawrence O'Donnell. If you love MSNBC where your heart on your sleeve, you can gear up with t shirts. Hoodies hats and more from the last word and all of your favorite MSNBC shows you can shop now at MSNBC store dot com.

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