During a recent conversation with Mahershala Ali for Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series, Bradley Cooper revealed considered walking away from acting, and might have had it not been for Paul Thomas Anderson.
“The reason that I didn’t give up acting is Paul Thomas Anderson,” he explained, crediting the director who cast Cooper in his latest film Licorice Pizza. “When he called me to maybe be in his movie [Licorice Pizza], I mean really, I think I’d open up a door in his movie. I’d do anything.”
When PTA approached Cooper, the actor thought “there’s no way I’m doing it,” as it would have been his “first movie back from COVID.”
But the director eventually convinced Cooper to do it
“I spent three and a half weeks with Paul. I watched all the camera tests,” Cooper explained. “He was teaching me all about lenses, things I never knew. He’s incredible.”
Elsewhere in the conversation, Cooper discussed taking on the lead role in Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley.
“I was like, ‘Oh, I guess I still am the guy that wants to be in the group,’ because I had no intention of acting in anything other than what I’ve been writing,” Cooper told Ali. “Leonardo DiCaprio fell out, and Guillermo del Toro came to me. I still remember thinking, ‘Oh wow, the guys that don’t hire me, they want to hire me?’ And then it was like, ‘Of course I have to do it just because I’ve never been allowed into that group.’ It was insecurity and ego.”
Cooper continued, “Thankfully, it wound up being an incredible experience. And that was very interesting to me to play a character, Stanton Carlisle, who has clearly been traumatized as a kid, has no parental foundation, has no foundation for love, intimacy, real connection, and he just is surviving off of a gratification and a desperate need to find out who he is.”
Watch Bradley Cooper’s full conversation with Mahershala Ali up top.