Opening this weekend in theaters and on VOD is director Peter Howitt’s drama, Reasonable Doubt. Per the official synopsis, “When up-and-coming District Attorney Mitch Brockden (Dominic Cooper) commits a fatal hit-and-run, he feels compelled to throw the case against the accused criminal (Samuel L. Jackson) who was found with the body and blamed for the crime. Following the trial, Mitch’s worst fears come true when he realizes that he acquitted a guilty man, and he soon finds himself on the hunt for the killer before more victims pile up.” The film also stars Gloria Reuben.
Last week I landed an exclusive interview with Dominic Cooper. During our wide ranging conversation we talked about how he got involved with the film, how the script changed during production, working with Samuel L. Jackson, just how cold it was filming in Winnipeg, and more. In addition, we also talked about his work in The Devil’s Double, getting to play Howard Stark in the Marvel universe, how he still hasn’t seen the Agent Carter one-shot, whether he would consider reprising the role if Agent Carter became a series, his Marvel contract, Dracula Untold, Fleming, Duncan Jones’ Warcraft, and more. Hit the jump for what he has to say.
Have more people finally seen the movie? Do people come up to you and talk to you about it? Because it’s really good.
COOPER: Yes they do and it really pleases me, that. Because at the time- it was quite a steep learning curve, but you realize that this world is hard and it’s hard to get films out there. It was a particularly difficult time actually, certainly in England. I remember when it came out there were those riots going on so a lot of the cinemas were closed at the time that it came out. It was a hard film to sell and I think people didn’t quite know what it was. So actually with the change of platforms in which you can see movies people are still seeing it on Netflix and other streaming sites, which is great. And I’m very proud of it so actually when people do come up and say, “Wow that movie, that was incredible. I had never heard about it. I didn’t know much about it. I’d never seen anything and then I just suddenly watched it.” How Cool. It’s even better when people don’t realize it until half way through that it’s me playing both of them, and that’s really cool.
You know how much I dug it. Jumping into why I get to talk to you today, talk a little bit about how this project came together for you. Was it a script that they came to you with? Did you sort of hear about it and go after it?
COOPER: No, it came to me and I was very excited by it. I loved it and I hadn’t done anything like it. I think the thriller genre is great if you get it right. We grew up watching a lot of them. They’re very entertaining, they’re very exciting and this one certainly had a lot of strands to it. It went in very different directions. I thought the characters were very diverse and well rounded. They were very multi layered. Then I think once Samuel L. Jackson was taking on that role it also was amazing for me, because I just thought it was a very difficult role to get right. Someone that we needed to believe was completely innocent and then needed to ultimately transform into someone extraordinarily evil. You needed to believe that. In terms of casting I just thought it was absolutely spot on and really, really exciting so I was then desperate to be a part of it. You never know how these films will play out. You can listen to a director and understand their vision of it. And then when you get the opportunity to be on the set with someone like Sam who brings just so much gravity to everything he does and every scene he’s in. It’s quite compelling to be around, and takes it to a different level. I found that very exciting.
COOPER: It was really fucking cold.
I could see it in the breath.
COOPER: It was the most freezing place I’ve ever been to.
[Laughs] You had some night shoots there.
COOPER: I can’t explain how cold it was [laughs].
I was going to say, literally was it like “holy hell”?
COOPER: It was really, really cold. It was exactly that. I’m so pleased you realized that. And Chicago gets like that, but it was in a place called Winnipeg. I’ve just never experienced anything like it. You know where your lungs hurt. I’m trying to do an accent and my face froze and my mouth froze. I remember feeling like I can’t actually speak. Really truly like that, but beautiful place, amazing place and we were really well looked after. It was an exciting project and we did it so quickly. And I think that you sense that in it, that those decisions were having to be made very spontaneously in extremely cold environments, that we were having to shoot things as quickly as possible. I think more often than not if you do that, you get really good instinctive exciting results.
COOPER: Quite a few, you never know what you have until … and I don’t sit through the edit, but you see some cuts and you see the progression possibly of the cuts and you can always understand why they’ve been made, or for what reason certain decisions have been made with certain plot lines and characters. So for instance, the brother relationship had much more at the beginning, but now you learn much more about it afterwards. You can understand why things have been shifted around and changed. But it’s pretty much the whole story. What was written down is what you get, yeah. There wasn’t enough time, not enough was shot, not enough extra in that short space of time would have been shot.
I don’t know if I’ve spoken to you since you’ve played Howard Stark, maybe I did I honestly can’t remember, but I’ll just say how much I’ve enjoyed your work as Howard Stark.
COOPER: Oh cool.
I actually really loved the recent short film, the one shot with Peggy.
COOPER: I haven’t seen that!
COOPER: I don’t know! I keep missing it. Is it any good?
It’s the best Marvel short they’ve done.
COOPER: Is it really? Oh cool.
By a mile.
COOPER: Oh nice. Good, good, good.
It’s so good.
COOPER: It was good fun doing that.
When you first signed on to play Howard Stark did you sign a contract with Marvel for one of these eight picture deals?
COOPER: No, because I don’t think they really knew what it was, and also because it was a very specific period that he’s from. I don’t think they know how he will emerge again, or whether he will emerge again, or where he’s going to fit in, but I hope he does because he’s a really exciting character to play. He great. He’s like an old fashioned- he’s just a great entrepreneur and kind of a playboy of that era.
I still can’t believe that you haven’t seen this short.
COOPER: I know I’ve really got to see it.
You really have to see it because it’s so well done.
COOPER: I think they want to make a sort of Agent Carter thing, don’t they?
That’s what I wanted to ask you, there was a lot of positive fan reaction to the Agent Carter short. And with the Netflix deal with Marvel and with their ABC deal they’re making all these TV shows so I have to ask, if they actually said, “We want to do Agent Carter. We want to do a twelve episode thing on Netflix, maybe Howard Stark could be a part of it.” Would you consider doing something TV related?
COOPER: Yeah, I saw Hayley Atwell recently and she mentioned the whole idea of the Carter thing since the short. So yeah, any way that Stark could make a comeback I’d be well up for it, because he’s a really fun character to play and he’s so influential in the backbone of what they become. So I love being part of it and they’re an incredible group of people to be working with. They’re making some extraordinary stuff.
It’s also the most popular genre on the planet right now.
COOPER: Yeah, so I’d be well up for doing anything like that.
How many people come up to you and actually want to talk about Howard Stark?
COOPER: I don’t get recognized for being Howard stark too much. It takes people quite a bit of time to realize that I play him, that that’s me, only real diehard fans. But no, it’s funny, not a great deal.
I guess it’s also when you have the beard going, it’s a whole different thing.
COOPER: Exactly, exactly.
If I’m not mistaken you got to be in a Dracula movie recently.
What can you tease people about it?
COOPER: I don’t know, I think I can say a fair bit. It’s quite a cool take on it for the fact that it has really great historical references. It uses the idea of Vlad the Impaler becoming Dracula and at that same time Mehmed II, who I play, the Turkish sultan. They grew up together as boys so there’s this amazing conflict between these two young men and then they meet again in adulthood and that’s the sort of crux of the story, the turning point, their needs and what they fight for. So they’re two people who aren’t particularly pleasant, actually, who are the kind of heroes of the piece and Dracula himself has got a really, really awful past. He was Vlad the Imalper, he did the worst things you could possibly do to people. And then I’m playing this nutty Turkish sultan.
Is it one of these ultraviolent movies? Is it PG13?
COOPER: No, I think there’s some great battle sequences, but they’re like old fashioned hard core massive proper big soldiers fighting things form other planets, it’s really, really kind cool. And then all shot properly and it was all shot on film. It’s going to look amazing.
The other project I’m incredibly looking forward to is the Fleming project.
Have you seen any sort of rough cut?
COOPER: Yeah, I’ve seen two of them and I’m really, really pleased with them, because we made them very quickly and there’s so much to tell about his life. I think they’ve just got the tempo and the tone of it really right. There was so much to choose from and there was so much history written about him. He was the real life James Bond and we’ve hopefully made something that is a portrayal of who he wished others to have seen him as, that’s how he wanted to be perceived. I look nothing like him so we’re taking a lot liberties with the story, but we’ve made it into a really exciting piece of drama.
What’s coming up for you in 2014?
COOPER: I’m going off to do a film called Warcraft.
Oh that’s right, Duncan Jones.
COOPER: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can’t wait. I’m so excited to work with him and the whole project is just massive and kind of exciting.
COOPER: It’s really, really cool. Really good script.
COOPER: Vancouver for a long time.
I was going to say that’s a very long shoot.
COOPER: It’s a very long shoot.
I will leave you there. Congratulations on everything.
COOPER: Thanks. It’s nice to see you.