The Bradley Cooper business is booming. Not only have recent months seen him at the top of the box-office charts for The Hangover Part II, but his March release, Limitless, which was just released on DVD viewing July 19, became a surprise hit. Cooper took 60 seconds out of his busy schedule to talk to us about Limitless, his fluency in French, playing Satan, and his inspiration, Jason Bateman.
Your character in Limitless, Eddie Morra, becomes addicted to a drug that allows him to use 100 percent of his brain. What did it feel like to act as if you were using your whole mind during the shoot?
It’s a very seductive proposal. Because of that, it made Eddie a very alluring character to play. How do you make that believable, as opposed to having to affect it, with an “a”? It was a lot of finding personal ways to make those aspects of that character real. It made me feel like I know what it’s like to be Jason Bateman. Jason Bateman seems like the smartest actor alive to me. He’s just so quick. He’s the greatest.
Was the transition back to 20 percent a difficult one?
I kept watching Horrible Bosses, and that reminded me of what I used to be.
Did you just pick Jason Bateman randomly for this?
I’m not kidding. You don’t like Bateman? Please don’t take this out of context. I’m being serious.
Which Jason Bateman movies did you watch to prepare?
Well, I watched all the seasons of Arrested Development. But I date back to Silver Spoons with Bateman. And then we have the Will Smith movie Hancock. And the movie he did with Mike Judge. Solution or something?
Eddie Morra is a struggling writer, and in your next movie, The Words, you’ll play a writer accused of plagiarism. Why the sudden turn into literary characters?
Just happenstance, really. There’s no rhyme or reason for it. The writer aspect was not what drew me to Limitless. And The Words is a movie that my best friend, Brian Klugman, wrote, and I’m just so happy we were able to get it made. He’s been my best friend since we were 10 years old. I remember when I moved to L.A. 11 years ago, he had a reading of it, and I sat in the back and thought, “Wow, what a great movie that would be.” [Pause] Extract! That’s the Bateman movie. I also watched Juno. The Kingdom—he was fantastic in The Kingdom…
And The Break-Up.
You got to work alongside Robert De Niro in Limitless. What was that like?
He probably is one of the—if not the—greatest living actor, and that just provides a tutorial when you’re acting with him. I was the most at ease that I’ve ever been on film. He creates an environment where what he’s saying, you believe. And if you believe what he’s saying, then you’re more than likely going to respond to him in a way that’s also believable, because he’s actually talking to you, even though he’s using the words that are written on the paper. And that provides just a wonderful sandbox to play in. Sandbox to play in? Forget that. That’s the worst thing I’ve ever said. I gotta go throw up right now.
You’ll be playing Lucifer in Alex Proyas’ Paradise Lost. Did you get any tips from De Niro on playing the Devil?
Because of Angel Heart? No, I didn’t talk to him much about stuff like that. We talked about stuff like mozzarella and politics. We didn’t really speak about acting that much.
Not to spoil anything for those about to watch the Limitless DVD, but have you ever done anything grosser in your career than lying on the floor and drinking another man’s blood?
No. That pretty much takes it.
How do you prepare for a scene like that?
Hang out with a lot of vampires.
Not Jason Bateman?
No, not Bateman for that one.
You speak French in Limitless, which reminds me: Why did that YouTube clip of you speaking French on television create such a storm?
I have no idea, honestly. It’s like, why can’t I stop looking at the “Drinking out of Cups”? With the guy stuck in the closet tripping on acid and they made that lizard, you know? Do you know that YouTube video?
Oh my God. You don’t know that one? [Affects a Long Island accent] “No way. Now he’s Johnny Hammersticks hammerin’ away like he’s friggin’ Tommy Noble..” You don’t know that one? It’s hil-ar-ious. It’s the greatest thing in the world. I think it’s called “Drinking out of Cups.”
Are you sure? Cause there’s that other YouTube thing with cups…
Not to be confused with that. This’ll be a lizard.