Between enjoying his new status as America’s number one box-office draw, performing a promotional tour of Europe and acting as the resident celebrity authority on Rotten Tomatoes, Bradley Cooper’s been a very busy guy of late. (Insert NZT joke here.) With his techno-thriller Limitless still doing strong business across the US and opening in UK cinemas this week, the actor took time out for a chat, and to run through five of his favorite films.
“I’m over the moon that it did well,” Cooper says of the unexpected success of Limitless. “It really is a kind of an underdog movie in many ways — it’s a drama, a thriller, it cost 27 million; it’s taking a chance of putting me in a lead role. There’s a lot of factors that wouldn’t point to it being number one. I thought it was gonna be a festival movie, and when [studio] Relativity started to get excited and talk about it in a bigger way, I was nervous — I never saw this as that kind of shot.”
With Limitless proving he can open a hit movie and surefire comedy sequel The Hangover Part II just around the corner, Cooper’s really hitting his leading man stride. But, the actor admits, he’s not sure exactly what that means just yet. “I have no idea what I’m gonna do next,” he laughs. “I have no idea. It’s exciting and scary.”
Here, then, are Bradley Cooper’s five favorite films. (“They change all the time,” he qualifies.)
Life Lessons (New York Stories) (1989, 73% Tomatometer)
It’s part of New York Stories, with Nick Nolte and Rosanna Arquette. Nolte plays Lional Dobie, this Jackson Pollack-like artist. I love the subject matter of Life Lessons, it’s just great. Scorsese completely captures the obsession with women, visually and in the storyline. And Nick Nolte is never better — his performance is just f**king unbelievable. He’s on top of his game stylistically, Scorsese, melding heavy style with story without it ever feeling like you’re just watching a director, you know, show off. I never felt that. I’d be curious to see what he thinks of that movie, or how much time he spent doing it, but to me it just felt like kind of an effortless exercise in his talent.
The Celebration (1998, 92% Tomatometer)
The Celebration, the film by Thomas Vinterberg. It’s an example of innovative filmmaking and great storytelling. It’s just very moving. The subject matter, first of all, is incredible, you have this style of humour, and the acting’s insane. It was the idea of this Dogme-type style that I hadn’t really seen before — you know, you sort of feel it with Cassavetes, but I loved the strict adherence here to the principles of no artificial lighting, no artificial action, you can’t have any dolly tracking or crane shots at all; it’s all hand-held, it’s all video.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007, 93% Tomatometer)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is just one of the best films ever made. The acting, the story, the conception visually. He’s just wonderful, the director, Julian Schnabel.
The Conversation (1974, 98% Tomatometer)
The Conversation is just, I think, a movie made by one of the best auteur directors of the ’70s and ’80s. To me, I think the reason that I would choose that one is the sound editing. Even though Hackman does play a sound guy, the sound of the movie is really innovative. You have conversations that are happening in the foreground that you can barely hear, and yet that’s the main conversation, so they play around a lot with where they put the microphone. It’s really awesome.
The Shop Around the Corner (1940, 100% Tomatometer)
I wanted to throw a comedy in there. I just remember seeing that movie, and Jimmy Stewart, and just the whole way Ernst Lubitsch tells his story comedically… I’m sure there were ones that came before that, but to me it felt innovative in the sense that it was a bunch of disparate storylines coming together in the end.
Limitless is in theaters now.