The DVD of “Limitless” will be released by 20th Century Fox tomorrow, and in the film, Bradley Cooper plays Eddie Morra, a down-on-his-luck writer who can’t write his novel, who spends his days watching martial-arts movies, and whose girlfriend has just dumped him. His hair is stringy, he looks like he hasn’t bathed in weeks, and his landlord’s wife hates him.
But when Morra happens upon his ex-brother-in-law on the street, he is given a pill that will change everything: NZT, a drug that enables him to access 100% of his brain. The rest of the movie seems shot in vivid Technicolor — an extra shine given to Cooper’s blue eyes — as his character continues to take NZT and finishes his novel, becomes a successful stockbroker, and finds himself brokering a huge deal for business tycoon Carl Van Loon, played by Robert De Niro. Only problem is, Morra needs the drug to keep skyrocketing—or does he?
Speakeasy caught up with Cooper to discuss the film’s alternate ending, working with Robert De Niro, and his future plans.
What was your favorite line in “Limitless”? The ones in which you speak smooth Italian, or when you tell—
It was probably when Eddie tells Carl Van Loon, “You’ll end up as my bitch.” That was my favorite line.
That was the second part of my question. You said that line to Robert De Niro! Did you have to rehearse that in your mind?
I just sort of waited and just enjoyed the moment. He and I would laugh about it afterward. It was just so ridiculous. [laughs]
*Spoiler alert* There’s an alternate ending on the DVD. For me, in the theatrical version, there’s a question of whether Eddie Morra was still on this drug. But in the alternate ending, there doesn’t seem to be a question. When you played both scenes, how was the character different to you?
Well, the character in the theatrical version, it was much more fulfilling for me to play that. The first one, we shot the first when we shooting principal photography for the movie and it just didn’t feel right. There wasn’t enough of a payoff with Carl Van Loon. All of a sudden he just leaves, and there’s no obstacles in that alternate ending. You have one guy saying, “I shut down your lab,” and another guy saying, “Yeah well, okay,” and he says, “Yeah, I’ll figure out a way,” and he goes, “No, you won’t,” and he goes, “Yeah, I will…” So there’s no obstacle, there’s no conflict. So it wasn’t as fulfilling as the second one—he could be lying to him, he could be saying, “I’m off the drug” but he’s really on the drug, or he actually is off the drug but he’s regained the powers that he wanted. He scares Carl, too. I like that change of power the second one had.
If you could, would you take NZT in real life?
Yeah, of course I would. [laughs] I would love to experience what that would even be like. To open up all of your brain. Who knows what you could—maybe you’d realize the existence of God or something.
A lot has been written about your admiration of Robert De Niro. When you played opposite him, how did you prepare for those scenes? What did you learn from him?
He just sort of re-bolstered everything that I had hoped was true about acting, which was, if you believe it, we’ll believe it. He really is just the most believable person to act with. He has this quality about him, first of all he has this quality that’s magnetic and charismatic, but he just has this ease with which he walks through a scene that puts the other actor at ease. At least that’s what it did for me. It just sucked me right into the moment I was acting in.
Now that you’ve fulfilled a dream of starring with Robert De Niro, what haven’t you done that you dream of?
Oh, so much. Oh my god, I feel like I haven’t really done anything at all. We could talk for hours, I mean, there are so many actors I’d love to work with, directors, types of movies, directing, writing, getting better as an actor.