Bradley Cooper On Set Interview – THE HANGOVER

     April 27, 2009

Written by Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub

Opening this June is a comedy that looks great. It’s called “The Hangover” and it was directed by Todd Phillips (“Old School”). The premise is it’s a bachelor party gone horribly wrong.

The film is about a group of friends – Bradley Cooper, Justin Bartha, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms – who go to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for Justin’s bachelor party and everything goes wrong. It ends up the group parties too hard, and when they wake up the next morning, they can’t remember a thing. Their posh hotel suite is trashed and the groom is nowhere to be found. With no clue of what happened and little time to spare, the trio attempt to retrace their bad decisions from the night before in order to figure out where things went wrong and hopefully get Justin back to L.A. in time for his wedding. However, the more they begin to uncover, the more they realize just how much trouble they’re really in.

And if you’re thinking this is going to be some stale and safe Vegas movie, it’s rated R, and I’ve heard from friends that have seen it that it’s great. But while I could go on and on about how much I’m looking forward to “The Hangover”, watch this trailer and then tell me you aren’t excited to check it out.

Anyhow, last year when they were filming in Vegas, I was invited – along with a few other online journalists – to the set of “The Hangover” to watch some filming and interview the cast. If you missed my set report you can read it here.

So while we were there we got to speak with the cast and the interview below is with Bradley Cooper. While you’ve seen Bradley in a lot of films and TV shows, he’s one of those people that you know his face, but you might not know his name. But if “The Hangover” turns out as good as I think it will, this could finallyget people to learn his name.

As always, you can either read the transcript below or listen to the audio by clicking here. “The Hangover” opens June 5th at theaters everywhere.

Question: Is this considered a dark comedy?

Bradley Cooper: Yes. There is a lot of darkness in this thing. But we’ve had a blast. No one realizes that we work all the time. I mean, we haven’t had any real time off at all. We’ve been doing a couple of six-day weeks. The great thing about it is that I’ve seen quite a few areas of Vegas that I never would have gotten to see. We shot at the Riviera, and downtown. We shot in the old part of Vegas, which you don’t really see anymore. You are going to see Vegas in the daytime. As far as I know, you don’t really see Vegas in the movies during the daytime. Most of these movie takes place during the day. This takes place during the day after the night.

Do you have any good hangover stories of your own?

Bradley Cooper: None that I can talk about. No. Unfortunately, I can’t remember any of them.

What about bachelor party stories?

Bradley Cooper: I think I went to one bachelor party that was very tame. That was the only one. I missed out on the bachelor party aspect of life.

Has this given you a lot of tips on what not to do?

Bradley Cooper: Well, it depends on what kind of night you are looking for. I would certainly challenge anyone to rival the night these guys have had. Even in your wildest imagination, you can’t top this. You really can’t. Todd Phillips and his writers have written a great script.

Can you tell us how you got involved? And what appealed to you about the script?

Bradley Cooper: Sure. I got involved early on. I think it was back in November. Todd had the script, and it was sort of banging around. I liked Todd. I certainly was a fan of his. I thought the opportunity to play this guy was something I liked. He is an alpha male. It wasn’t that I necessarily liked the character. I liked the synergy between the three guys. I liked that each one was so specific. And together, if you cast it properly, I thought it could have a lot of energy. I also liked the script itself. I liked the way it moved. It is fast. It is no joke. It’s like getting on a jet plane that just takes off and goes, and it doesn’t slow down until it lands. It’s rare that you get a comedy that has that type of engine. Each scene propels you to the next one. It’s more like Starsky and Hutch than Old School. Even though it’s a comedy, there is a mystery to it. It’s not like Old School, where it was just about the comedy. Here, we have an engine. We have to get this guy back to the wedding. Or else we fail. That engine really drives it. It is so fast.

Can you talk about the synergy you had with the other cast members?

Bradley Cooper: That’s just luck. I will tell you, it is everything. Those guys are hilarious. I am very lucky to have this job. I’ve always been a fan of Zach Galifianakis. I have known him for five or six years. I remember seeing his stand-up way back then, and I thought he was the greatest. Of course, I didn’t know him at that time. I didn’t realize how good of an actor he was until this. And Ed? He is phenomenal. He kills it. I am just trying to keep up and keep my head above water. It’s a challenge to run with these guys. I am running with a fast pack in this movie. I am constantly trying to keep up.

Would you say you are the leader of the three?

Bradley Cooper: I wouldn’t say he is the leader. He really wants to come along to have his own bachelor night. I don’t know if he is more excited than the groom. Because he is married and he has a little kid. He teaches 9th grade in a private school. He is the wild one. He wants to plan everything. And he wants this to be a great night for his friend. He is certainly the engine. He is all about getting that night going. They are all sort of the leader, but he is the one pointing the way in terms of what he wants everybody to do. Maybe it’s the wrong way.

Would you say that Wedding Crashers was the turning point in your career? That film seemed to turn you into the leading man you are today.

Bradley Cooper: I don’t know about that. Those questions are so odd. It certainly opened up a lot of opportunities. David Dobkin was really kind to me in the editing room. He opened up my performance, and let me go off. He allowed me to create this crazy character that was opposite from those two guys. In that sense, it allowed other people to see what I could do. That allowed me to have other opportunities.

How much of that is in this movie, now?

Bradley Cooper: Are you referring to the character I played in Wedding Crashers?


Bradley Cooper: This guy is not evil. He enjoys life. Other than the fact that I’m playing him? Well, they are both aggressive males. They are very different. I hope. Some people expect me to be an asshole. Especially when they meet me for the first time. Because that was such a strong character. I gained a lot of weight for Wedding Crashers. People always say, “Damn, I thought you were a lot bigger!” I gained two hundred and fifteen pounds for that movie. I am usually a buck eighty-five. But I had to go up against Vince Vaughn. I had to convince the audience that I could destroy this guy on the football field.

What is Todd like to work with?

Bradley Cooper: He is amazing. Like I said, I was a fan of Old School and Road Trip, and Starsky and Hutch. I didn’t know him outside of that, though. I only knew the guys that had worked with him. And they always sung his praises. But he has been phenomenal. We are almost a month into shooting. I think he cast this very well. That is a huge part of it. We all get a long really well. And it really works. Todd knows what he wants, and you can tell. He is a veteran. This is his fifth film, and he is only thirty-eight. He is very quick, and well equipped to make this movie. He knows what is funny, and he will let you go. He knows when to rein you in. He is everything you could hope for in a comedy director.

And you did Midnight Meat Train recently. How was it working with Vinnie Jones?

Bradley Cooper: Well, it wasn’t that recently. But he is amazing. I loved him. I was a fan of his from Lock Stock. When they said he was going to be the villian, I was very excited. I love physical stuff. I knew we had a huge fight scene at the end. It was going to last twenty minutes. I knew it would be with Vinnie Jones, so I knew it was going to be amazing. We fight the hell out of each other. We have the same birthday. We became very good friends.

Has this been a fun film to shoot?

Bradley Cooper: Yes. It has been a very fun film to shot. We get to do crazy things. The dialogue is great, but we are also in these crazy situations where we find ourselves doing stuff you wouldn’t normally get to do. And we get to do them in Vegas. Which is great.

What have you been up to in Vegas?

Bradley Cooper: Just work. We’ve been working this entire time.

The other guys say they’ve been gambling.

Bradley Cooper: Oh, there has been a little bit of gambling. But like I said, I could get in trouble in this town. I try to stay away from those sorts of things.

How did you do in the big poker game?

Bradley Cooper: I did better than I thought I would. I survived through the third table. I am not really a poker player.

Have you been doing a lot of improvising on this?

Bradley Cooper: Yes. I think that is Todd’s way. Having worked with Owen Wilson in Starsky and Hutch, and Vince Vaughn in Old School, he knows to let the actors go. We use the script as a template. That’s the way it was on Wedding Crashers, too. If you cast it well enough, the situation is going to give itself to improvisation. The action causes dialogue. That said, this script is strong enough on its own. But we have definitely come up with a lot of new stuff.

Has Vegas been the strangest location so far in your career?

Bradley Cooper: Hmm? No. But only because I had the opportunity to host this trek show in college, and it allowed me to go to some pretty crazy places. Yeah. But that wasn’t acting. It was hosting, which I was pretty bad at. But I got to do some insane things.

It must be interesting being in Vegas. It’s not a studio. When you are done, it doesn’t just close down.

Bradley Cooper: That is a great point. You finish work, and you go home. And it’s tranquil. Here, you finish work and you come back to this casino. And it’s as if nothing has changed. And no one cares, either. It becomes so inconsequential, the gambling and this town. That is the pulse of this city. Sometimes you go into a town to shoot, and it transformers. But here, they don’t even give a shit. We are the background. We shot in a casino the other night, and we definitely were the background.

And for more interviews from the set of “The Hangover”, just click on the links:

Justin Bartha

Zach Galifianakis

Ed Helms

and director Todd Phillips

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