INTERVIEW: BRADLEY COOPER ON “THE HANGOVER PART II”
“So was the Sequel disappointing?” is the first thing he said to me as he walked into the Interview Suite of this Yorkville Hotel. It was a long day of Press, following another busy day of promotion yesterday in Philadelphia. Toronto is just another stopoff on an aggressive Promo Tour which will be taking much of his time over the next two weeks. Catching me off-guard completely before a small table of Journalists, it took me a second to realize what he was up to. “I loved The Hangover, so yeah – big shoes, Bradley!”, I chuckled back at him.
Casual and comfortable in a knit Nautical-Stripe Sweater and a pair of dark blue Jeans, Bradley Cooper lights-up the room with his translucent blue eyes – his hair a few shades darker than I’d imagined and a bit of scruff on his boyish face. “Where’d you get it?” I commented on his Sweater, to which he replied “Uh, to be honest I actually don’t know!”. Clearly, his no-fuss look is the work of a great Stylist. Ask him about his Fashions, he doesn’t know. Ask him about this eagerly-awaited Comedy The Hangover Part II he’s promoting? Now, that’s something he can go on about in an articulate manner that indicates Cooper actually is a much more well-trained Actor than some of his earlier repertoire might suggest.
Make no mistake about it, Bradley Cooper is a bona fide Leading Man. Over the past three years we’ve seen him fire one Box Office-topper right after the other. He’s Just Not That Into You, Valentine’s Day, The A-Team, Limitless and of course 2009’s massively successful Golden Globe winner The Hangover, the predecessor to the Movie he is here to promote today.
Cooper begins by admitting that he had few hesitations in reprising the role of a cool and calm Phil Wenneck. He was excited to reunite in some crazy Thai Bachelor Party antics with Co-stars Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms. He is vocal about being pleased with Director Todd Phillips’ conscious decision to stay faithful to the structure of the first installment, stating “I’m glad we did it. We want people to anticipate how we fucked-up again and say, ‘Let’s strap ourselves down and go on another ride!’. I actually like this Sequel more than the first.”. Like its predecessor, Cooper sees this Follow-up as “Film Noir, Detective, Thriller and part-Whodounit?” adding that “What the Sequel adds to the mix is that element of espionage. It’s a new genre, The Mr. Chow genre”, making reference to that scene-stealing character reprised here by Korean-American Comedian Ken Jeong.
I questioned Cooper about his experience filming in an exotic Thailand. Cooper jokes, “Well, I certainly felt shot after a few of those meals!”. He reveals that Phillips prefers what he calls a “lean set”, meaning the Director prefers fewer people milling about. “It was a bit stressful filming due to a lot more Bureaucracy over there”, he admits. After having seen The Hangover Part II just two weeks prior, he notes that “You really get a sense of Thailand’s pungence here. It’s in the way we walk – it’s in our swagger. Bangkok in itself becomes its own character.”.
What defines The Hangover franchise is its brand of crass and cruel Humour which at the same time is what Cooper calls “childlike”. If you were stunned by some of the imagery seen in The Hangover (re: shocking display of male genitalia), wait til you see what Phillips has in store for you in this Sequel. You will never see Shiitake Mushrooms in the same light again! “Even though there is a sense of savagery, it’s definitely not malicious Humour. The jokes come from a pure place and everybody’s in on the joke”, says Cooper.
One of the biggest highlights of The Hangover Part II is a trained Monkey named Crystal, seen often on Cooper‘s shoulder in the Film. “The trick to working with her was staying relaxed. She really didn’t like some of the Elephants on set at all.”. This however, isn’t the first time Cooper and 17 year-old Crystal have collaborated, reminding us of 2006 Rom-Com Failure to Launch. “Even then, everybody on-set thought she was fantastic and were smitten by her! She’s such a versatile Actress. For one, she plays a male Monkey here and a Drug Mule also!”, he laughs. Commenting on one disturbing scene where we witness the Monkey smoking a Cigarette, Cooper confesses “There’s something so incredibly creepy yet sweet at the same time in seeing that!”.
Cooper has nothing but praise for Co-star Helms, admitting “If anything, Ed‘s gonna benefit the most from all of this. He’s channeling some Jim Carrey/Jack Lemmon/Walter Mathau–shit here. He had the hardest job out of all of us and he pulled it all off!”. And trust me, you’ll never believe what kind of trouble Helms‘ Stu gets himself into as the Groom-to-be in The Hangover Part II.
Following the Interview, I asked Cooper to pose for a couple Photos, to which he declined. He then elaborated “I’d rather get a Photo with you!”, tugging me over. I was shocked. Spotting a Baby Grand Piano in the Suite, he then sat down and randomly began playing a Tune, which had me floored. Is there anything Cooper cannot do? One of his Publicists then revealed that one famous member of The Beatles had once played on that same Piano, drawing what Cooper himself would call a “childlike” response. “Really?”, he asked in awe.
. releases The Hangover Part II
on Thursday, May 26, 2011
Watch its Trailer in full here
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)