Actor of the Week: Bradley Cooper
This week marks the first birthday of our Actor of the Week feature. Starting with Mads Mikkelsen on 7th May 2017, our feature has been well received with many, and most enjoyable for ourselves. The actor helping us celebrate the occasion this week is the impeccable Bradley Cooper! I’ll lead with a confession, Cooper is my ‘man crush’, and what’s not to like? A good looking, extremely talented man is something we can all appreciate!
Cooper has experience on both the screen and the stage. While at University, he starred as John Merrick in the production of The Elephant Man. He also starred in Sex and the City while he was still studying, which, despite being a small role, was a big deal, due to the high-profile nature of the show. The first film I saw Bradley in was Wedding Crashers, where he starred alongside Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson and former Actor of the Week winner Rachel McAdams. Cooper plays Sack Lodge, the fiance of McAdams’ Claire Cleary. My affinity for Cooper didn’t actually start here, because I despised his character in this film. Sack Lodge is the archetypal jock figure; hot-headed, arrogant and sarcastic, and is purposely there to make you feel this way towards him to, in turn, highlight how Wilson’s John is the better man. Upon reflection, this is, in fact, an excellent character portrayal by Cooper, as he is utterly convincing in his loathsome ways.
From here, Cooper seemed to pop up in all types of projects and roles. Sticking with the rom-com genre for a moment, however, Cooper’s next film was Failure to Launch, starring alongside another former Actor of the Week in Matthew McConaughey. He had another stint in TV when he starred in the popular Nip/Tuck for six episodes, and then appeared in the film that, many would say, really put him on the map - The Hangover. The Hangover is a thing of genius. It is a fantastic comedic concept, and really felt fresh upon its release. It centres around four men, and one of them, Doug, is engaged to be married, and the film depicts Doug’s stag do. Things don’t go nearly to plan, however, and things get more and more hilariously out of control. Cooper is great in this film, and it saw him bring some of the arrogance and sarcasm from his Wedding Crashers role to that of Phil Wenneck, here, but with an air of likability as opposed to loathing. He is also hilarious in his delivery, which, couple with his suave nature, makes him an instant hit. He went on to play Phil two more times, in subsequent sequels.
Something that seems to go under the radar is how Cooper has been nominated for three Oscars. While he is yet to land one, the nominations are, as ever, testament to his undoubted talent and quality. His three nominations came for American Sniper, American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook. All are very different roles, again emphasising his broad range of skills, and showing he is clearly comfortable in any given genre.
His latest genre shift has come in the form of voice work for a superhero franchise, where he lends his voice to Rocket Raccoon in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, its sequel, and the latest MCU blockbuster, Avengers: Infinity War. Whilst not a physical presence as Rocket, Cooper more than makes up for it with his voice work, bringing us more of that seemingly trademark smooth sarcasm, yet delivering on emotion when required. I’m a big advocate of voice work, with many perhaps regarding it as an easier form of acting, which just isn’t the case. Voice acting brings its own challenges, as there is no emphasis from facial expression or body language, and Cooper knocks it out of the park with Rocket! Rocket also works excellently well with his fellow Guardians, one of whom, Gamora, is played by another former Actor of the Week winner in Zoe Saldana.
Other films well worth checking out from Cooper are the hugely popular Limitless, and Burnt, which didn’t get a great reception, but I actually really enjoyed it.
Cooper has covered many genres and role types in his illustrious career, and all the evidence points to that Oscar win being nothing more than a matter of time. Thanks a lot, Bradley!