Rarely has a male hairstyle dominated awards show discussions as much as Bradley Cooper’s tight curls in American Hustle. (We may be biased though. . . we are currently running the awards campaign for Cooper’s Hustle coiffure out of our cubicle, assembling pink-roller “For Your Consideration” swag mailers during lunch breaks.) This afternoon, Cooper hit the awards campaign trail on behalf of both himself and his hair during a Google Hangout with the Los Angeles Times. Over the course of the 22-minute conversation, Cooper graciously devoted about a third of the time to explaining and answering questions about the precise, 70s-inspired style.
At one point, Cooper even offers up a oral history of the hairstyle, explaining why he and the hair department decided to manually curl the actor’s hair each morning—a process that took three hours!—rather than go the lazy route with a wig or perm.
“We tried a lot of wigs, and I just looked like somebody from Three Stooges. It was bordering on taking you out of the movie. We curled the hair one day because to perm it would be permanent [so we wanted to see] if that would work. So we curled it, which basically meant putting curlers—they put this solution in it and we put 110 curlers in it and I sat underneath a heat lamp for 45 minutes . . . the whole thing was three hours. We loved what it did so we thought, ’Let’s just do that. Let’s not mess with that—not really thinking, oh I will have to do that every single day. But it was really born out of the necessity that we did not have the chance to try it as a perm. And then we made it a character thing, that he likes that much control and he enjoys this [routine] he does every day.”
Other Bradley Cooper hairstyle fun facts: the look was inspired by Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis. And no, Bradley Cooper is not averse to recycling the look for special occasions. “I gotta say, man, that I personally kinda fell in love with it.” Just how much did he love the style though? “I definitely would try to stave off showering as long as I could because the minute the water touched it, it went limp. But I definitely went out with it at night.”
To quote the Los Angeles Times journalist moderating this discourse: “The hair gets a lot of run in this movie.”