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Bradley Cooper Attends “The Words” Philadelphia Premiere: Participates in Q&A

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Bradley Cooper’s new film, “The Words”  hits theatres Friday, September 7th nationwide. The star and executive producer spent some time in his hometown for a special screening hosted by the Philadelphia Film Society at The Prince Theater. Cooper, along with his childhood friends Lee Sternthal and Brian Klugman (the writers and directors of the film), attended the screening.

“The Words” is a romantic drama that stars Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid and Ben Barnes. Aspiring author Rory Jansen (Cooper) uses the stolen work of an Old Man (Irons) written decades ago. While Rory Jansen experiences acclaim in his professional life the secret proves to be a tragic decision in his personal life.  

While visiting the City of Brotherly Love; Cooper met with reporters at the Four Seasons Hotel to talk about the new film.

“The Words” is an odd little movie, in the sense that your character is supposedly looking back in time, but it’s not really your character – it’s the words and the novel that you found. What was the appeal about this role?Bradley Cooper photo Credit: Scott Weiner

The appeal sort of revealed itself as the movie-making process went on. The truth is it was initially these two guys (points to Brian and Lee). Brian has been my closest friend since I was a little kid, and it was really just to do anything for him. Then the one who wound up benefiting the most was myself, because I wound up playing a guy in a way I had never really done on film. It’s a sort of quiet exploration, and simple, because I felt so safe with them as directors. They allowed me to open up. Whenever you feel safe on a set you really can explore more and more. I was able to do that with them, and that was a surprise to me.

One thing I really liked about this guy (Rory) was that I thought you could really relate to him, if you could get past the moral dilemma. He’s not just a stock character who’s super ambitious and who’ll do anything to get ahead. It’s quite the opposite. He’s actually a good writer which I think is a nice hook to it. In that scene with Ron Rifkin, we learn that he’s very talented. He just hasn’t written something that’s marketable yet.

His fatal flaw is his lack of patience and he feels like time’s running out, which I can certainly relate to. Time being the biggest enemy in some respects. He finally sees his wife look at him and speak to him in the ways he’s always dreamt, and he just doesn’t have the heart to say that’s not me. And that just snowballs into this world, all of a sudden, that becomes his reality.

You come home often, what was it like to be able to share this triumph with family and friends?

Thank you for saying it’s a triumph, because I feel that way. I honestly wake up these days feeling very grateful. It’s like a dream. I keep waiting to wake up. Because when you’re a kid, you want to create with your friends, and that’s what I got to do. Brian and I used to sit in my house in Rydal, watching ‘Apocalypse Now,‘The Deer Hunter’ and ‘Overboard’ and just wanted to be in that world and create that world. Then to be able to be here in Philly, talking about this movie that they wrote in 1999, that I saw a reading of when I first moved to L.A. – that I could help being a part of making that a reality is heaven.

Were star struck when you first met Jeremy Irons?

I’m definitely a victim of the magical essence of movies. I still to this day feel like I did when I was 10 years old going to the movies. I love when the lights go down and the movie’s about to start. The first time I met Jeremy and heard his voice in real time it was incredible. And then very quickly what starts to happen is they become human and it’s amazing that process. Robert De Niro is the best example of that for me. I love him today, and he’s really just Bob, and I never thought that that would be possible! He’s the reason I became an actor, in many ways. But we’ve done two movies. That process is so fascinating. I think it happened for all of us with Jeremy, and it’s because these guys – like Liam Neeson and Christopher Walken – are so present and down to earth and make you feel at ease.

In terms of acting with them, it’s just effortless because they are so good and you are in such great hands. When you’re acting with a great actor, it’s not as if you’re playing against them in a sport. They’re on your team, so you want the best actors. I don’t want to be playing against Jeremy Irons; I want to be playing with him. Acting is a collaborative sport, and what you’re up against is telling the story. So you’re all on the same team.Bradley-Cooper with Lee Sternthal and Brian Klugman photo credit: Scott Weiner

How did you get involved with this project after all these years?
 

They decided they wanted to direct it about four years ago, and asked me if I’d want to play Rory. I said of course, and that was it; we just tried to find a date. They had financers and we just tried to get it made. I talk to Brian four or five times a day, every day, so I was aware of the whole process.

Can you talk about any time you spent growing up at the Jersey Shore?

My memory is the greenheads [flies] from Brigantine! I grew up going to Brigantine, New Jersey. We used to go there when the Brigantine Castle existed. It burnt down. My grandfather bought a house there in 1960, and they would go crabbing all the time, so we spent our summers in Brigantine. I still have the house.

Being called ‘The Sexiest Man Alive’ by People Magazine for the year – does that have any concrete advantage in the movie world?

I don’t think so (laughs) I think it’s just the butt of a joke more than anything.

Veronica Dudo is an award-winning journalist covering everything from breaking news to red carpet celebrity interviews. Follow her on Twitter @VeronicaDudo and Facebook

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Photo Credit: Scott Weiner