For anybody who hasn’t seen the movie yet, you can take a peek at Adam’s review. We picked his brains from here to Hollywood but the fun didn’t stop there… During the roundtable with The Hangover star it became apparent to us all that Cooper is a delightfully knowledgeable film buff! Swoon.
Audiences most popularly know you as ‘Phil from the Hangover,’ has it been refreshing playing and promoting a completely different character like Eddie Morra?
I love Phil from the Hangover and I love Eddie too so it was nice to be cast in a different genre of movie for sure and where the burden of the storytelling was really on my shoulders; I loved that challenge. Also being able to play a guy who goes through such a transformation, physically and emotionally. But I don’t mind being associated with the Hangover, I’m honoured to be a part of it.
Do you think Eddie’s a good guy?
I do. I don’t think that he is malicious in anyway at all. Certainly we don’t know what his objective is on the drug. It’s not to make money that’s for sure. We don’t ever really know what it is.
He becomes very powerful and focused when he takes NZT, do you think power always corrupts or does Eddie escape that?
I don’t think he escapes it. That’s sort of the point of the movie that it’s a treacherous road. That’s the main thrust if there’s any particular theme to the movie. It’s about, not the price of power but the challenges of power.
Would you say there’s an undercurrent on how men and women deal with failure and success?
I think that calls along the line of the power question in how you deal with a lack of power or alternatively a surplus of power?
If you could take NZT and it were risk-free, would you?
Yeah, I’d probably take it both ways!
We all wonder if the real life superstars have some sort of pill for success, if there is a secret formula, what do you think it is, purely hard work or does luck play a role as well?
In terms of being successful as an actor I think luck plays a huge role! It’s like what Oprah said, although maybe she echoed somebody else, but she said ‘luck is preparation meets opportunity.’ That’s pretty true. I know that I certainly went to Grad school with guys who were tremendously talented as actors! I remember certain opportunities that we would all have but the way some people deal with that is by sabotaging themselves. It’s interesting; luck plays a huge role. But it’s impossible, I think, to do anything for any duration if you don’t work hard. Definitely as an actor, from my experience I don’t know how you could do it without working hard.
You’re also a producer on the film, how did the project come to you?
I ran to it! It was out there and I read it and I loved it. Then I tried to get a meeting with Neil Burger who had just signed on to direct it. It had been around for years – Leslie Dixon wrote it in 2007, I think or 2008 – and Heath Ledger was going to take it on at one point and then Shia LeBeouf. So it had been around for a while and I just went for it.
How was it balancing your role as an actor and a producer on the film?
It was actually a wonderful marriage because basically all that credit does is allow you to participate without apologizing! Instead of saying, ‘I’m sorry…but what about this?’
If you could use NZT to perfect any talent or language, what would it be?
German. I’d love to learn German. You remember the movie A Fish Called Wanda? Where John Cleese just loves German? That’s like me!
During the movie Eddie rockets through this vast emotional spectrum, were there any particularly interesting scenes for you to get into?
The scene where he finds the dead body. We were very keen to make it feel real. So often in the movies you see those scenes and they’re not right. I remember when I was a kid and my parents would ask me to turn the lights off before I come upstairs. There was one light in the living room and I would always turn it off and from the minute I turned it off until I’d run up the stairs I wouldn’t stop screaming because I thought I would scare away any of the ghosts. So when we were doing that scene and he hears something in the background and he just starts yelling. That just sort of happened and it felt like a real thing that Eddie would do as opposed to a typical ‘I find a dead body, I call the cops’ scenario if somebody’s not used to that world. That was a scene I found really fulfilling because we really made to make it different and make it like if a regular guy were to walk into a room and see a dead body, like what the fuck would you do?
Which ending for the film did you prefer?
The one that’s in the movie. For sure. I feel like the ending that we chose for the movie was more ambiguous for the viewer in terms of: is he on the drug/is he off the drug? Was he lying to Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro) or not? Because it could be just as dark an ending as the alternate if he’s lying to Carl. That whole thing was a ruse in a way. He’s not off the drug, he’s still taking the drug and he doesn’t know what the hell he’s going to do. He claims, ‘look I’m off it but I’ve retained some of the power.’ We departed from the ending in the book before I came aboard. Leslie Dixon’s script chose a different way to go.
On The Crow, Hyperion and Paradise Lost:
?How far down the road are you with the remake of The Crow?
I’m not sure where we are with that. I mean, it makes tracks on the internet but I’m really not sure.
What about Hyperion?
We are just finishing the deal to write that so that’s going ahead. If you haven’t read the books then they’re fantastic. Oh my God! Ideally we’d like to do them all but we’re actually combining them because it’s kind of a mammoth undertaking, these four books, to consolidate and turn them into script form. The first one, we’re going to write two scripts, so the first is kind of a combination of Hyperion and the Fall of Hyperion and Endymion, which is three out of the four, and then we’ll see where that takes us in terms of the second one.
Are you still keen to direct it?
It’s a dream! But that’s like saying you want your first movie to be Avatar! I’d have to have NZT and give it to the studio head in order for them to let me direct that movie.
How far a long are you with Paradise Lost?
We just finished, hang on, I’ll show you. [Cooper takes out his Blackberry to show us a photo for him wearing a skintight black suit covered in sensors] It’s going to be motion capture and I had never done anything like that! We’ve been doing these tests all this week. So yeah, we’re still shooting, I hope so anyway! (laughs) That would suck if I went through all that and we don’t shoot it! Yeah, it’s full on. That was our second day and we were just testing out the different rigs and doing some preliminary work in terms of a few scenes. We did one where Lucifer lands and talks to his minions and it’s really exciting. We’ll start shooting in January I think.
How do you feel about playing the biggest baddy there ever was?
Oh man, I can’t wait. I can’t believe I am doing it! I remember on the A-Team tour we were here actually, in London, and I had met Ralph Fiennes; I’d never met him before but he’s a friend of Liam’s [Neeson]. I remember we were just talking and he asked what I wanted to do and I said it’s crazy, there’s this project Paradise Lost and all I really want to do is play the devil. I remember he said to me, ‘You’re going to do it.’ And the way he said it to me, you know when somebody says something and it seems so real, like they know something, and I thought, ‘Great, yeah.’ But you never know until you’re shooting. I mean I say it now and then bam, Shia Lebeouf is Lucifer in a month! (laughs) But we’re all scheduled, with Alex Proyas, who is wonderful! He did the original Crow movie, and Dark City, I don’t know if any of you saw it but it was fantastic.
On The Hangover:
?You’ve played a huge variety of roles from the cool suave guy to the jerk in Wedding Crashers, was there any character that stood out for you, one you’d go back and do again?
Well, Phil wasn’t easy at all. The guy in the Hangover. In fact I was probably had the most trepidations about that character more than anyone I’ve played. Just because I didn’t think I could pull it off. He’s such a commander and chief and is so secure with himself and so quick-witted. He’s just cool, to me he’s like the coolest guy in the world. And he’s got this moral philosophy which is just so bizarre! He’s got to run the show in a lot of ways and so when Todd [Phillips] cast me I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to pull it off. But now I feel we’ve created a guy that, I mean the second film, it was so effortless to play Phil and I love him so much that I would do five Hangovers just to play him because I really do love that character! And he’s changing for example in the second movie you saw his vulnerability with Alan and I just really love that guy.
Are there any plans for further Hangover adventures or is it too soon to tell?
No plans but I hope there is. I think there should be a trilogy to close it all up. Done.
?On Directing and the Future:
?You’re doing a lot behind the camera then, do you think one day you’ll move on from acting completely into directing and producing?
Just a director. I’d love to direct. Yes, I’d retire absolutely.
Who are your top directors then, whose footsteps do you aspire to follow in?
Oh there’s so many! Jonathan Glazer, Paul Thomas Anderson and Scorsese and Spielberg. Catherine Bigelow’s great. Julian Schnabel’s fantastic, Guillermo Del Toro’s great. I don’t have this idea of making just David Leen movies or something like that.
If your long-term aim is to duck out of acting and move into directing what’s going to be your King Lear to crown your acting career?
I think the reason why I imagine giving up acting is because I would love directing so much that I would probably then only want to direct. That’s why that would happen I think if my hunch is right about how much I would love directing. I don’t really have a part in mind it’s more really about working with directors. That’s the motivation for me, to be on a Jonathan Glazer or Paul Thomas Anderson or Wes Anderson set; that’s the goal for me. It may change and it may become a role but at the moment it’s that.
Have you got any projects lined up with any of those directors?
None! (laughs) Honestly, I’ve been trying to just sit down with Jonathan Glazer for about 8 years! I’m not kidding, I even went to high school with his agent and I’m like, ‘Hey man, is there any way I can get a meeting’ and he’s all shrug, ‘I dunno.’ So maybe one day.
Are there any actors you aspire to work with in the same way?
Oh well, Daniel Day Lewis for sure! Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix, Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet. There’s so many, Tom Hardy, I’d love to work with Tom Hardy, I think he’s incredible! I think Michael Fassbender’s incredible and Carey Mulligan is great, there’s a lot of young actors that are really good and who I’d love to work with.
Limitless is Available on DVD and Blu-ray from 1 August 2011