Bradley Cooper is about to have a very, very good Memorial Day weekend. "The Hangover Part II" is likely to make well over $100 million dollars at the box office over the holiday and it will mark the second big hit this year for the actor, whose thriller "Limitless" has quietly climbed to over $140 million worldwide. The actor hit "The Charlie Rose" show a couple of days ago and talked not only about the comedy sequel, but about a couple of projects he's got on his plate.
As you might recall, it was reported earlier in the month that Cooper was in talks to play Lucifer in a big screen 3D version of "Paradise Lost" with Alex Proyas ("The Crow," "Dark City") set to direct. If you had trouble picturing Cooper in the role, you're not the only one. And as the actor explained to Rose, he's long been a fan of the epic poem and he found the hook of the material irresistible, but he had to convince Proyas he could do it.
"I'll give you an example 'Paradise Lost.' Studied it in college, loved it….I loved the idea of Lucifer being a very charismatic guy who you agree with, basically. [Milton] makes a very sound argument in that poem," Cooper explained about his attraction to the project. "And then cut to, Legendary Pictures who did the 'The Hangover' is doing 'Paradise Lost,' so I read the script and I loved the idea of two sons and a father. And one day the father says to the son, 'You know our family dog? I love the family dog more than you guys and I'm actually going to build a whole house for the dog to live in. You guys are going to build the house.'"
"I just liked the simplicity of it," Cooper elaborated about the sibling rivalry that erupts in the picture. "I always felt a hook into that and then [there's] the betrayal that he feels. So I actually put myself on tape for it in my kitchen with my friend Wes to send to Alex Proyas because he said, 'The guy from 'The Hangover is not Lucifer, I just can't see it.'" But Cooper wouldn't be dissuaded and Proyas kept an open mind.
"And [he saw] 'Limitless' and said 'Okay, this guy might be able to carry a movie, but can he play Lucifer.' So then the next step is, 'Okay let me put myself on tape and show you.' And it really wasn't until I was in my kitchen, reading the lines -- which is almost in verse…you have to do a sort of mid-Atlantic accent and you're playing Lucifer in this very imaginative environment -- and honestly Charlie, in my kitchen it just happened. I just found it," Cooper explained. "We did one take and I said 'Wes, did you feel that?' He said, 'Yeah, let's send this.' So we just emailed it and then Proyas emailed me back, 'Satan lives!' That was the hook for me, that experience in my kitchen. And if we do get to do the movie, that will give me the confidence to go anywhere with that character."
So the lesson out there for all you kids: never give up. But it's not just major tentpoles the actor is looking to star in, as he told Rose that he hopes to direct movies himself and in fact, is even working on a massive sci-fi project right now. "Ultimately, I'd love to direct, that's ultimately what I want to do. In fact there's this series of science fiction novels, 'Hyperion' by Dan Simmons….this is an example of trying to get things started," Cooper said. "My friend and I...went to [producer] Graham King who owns the rights to 'Hyperion' and we wrote a treatment on spec saying, 'Look, I know this is a very audacious endeavour but, can you just read this spec we wrote, we think we have a way in to tell the story.' And now we're negotiating, we're going to write the script for it. And who knows what's going to happen…"
Rose pressed the actor if he would act and direct the project as well, and Cooper intimated that it wasn't likely, hinting, without quite saying so, that a project of that size would unlikely be something he would be given for his debut feature behind the camera. Spanning four books, we can't really do justice with a one line description so here's the synopsis of the first novel from Amazon:
On the world called Hyperion, beyond the law of the Hegemony of Man, there waits the creature called the Shrike. There are those who worship it. There are those who fear it. And there are those who have vowed to destroy it. In the Valley of the Time Tombs, where huge, brooding structures move backward through time, the Shrike waits for them all. On the eve of Armageddon, with the entire galaxy at war, seven pilgrims set forth on a final voyage to Hyperion seeking the answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives. Each carries a desperate hope--and a terrible secret. And one may hold the fate of humanity in his hands.
Pretty ambitious stuff and definitely a side to Cooper we've never seen before. So, what else did he talk about? He briefly mentioned "The Crow" as something he was doing next in addition to "Paradise Lost." But the former is tied up in litigation and Proyas just signed to produce and godfather the father/daughter assassin flick "Future Perfect," so no word on how that might affect this work on Milton's tale. And from the quote above, it doesn't sound as "Paradise Lost" is quite a "go" project just yet.
So, lots on the horizon for Cooper and we'll leave you with this bit of trivia revealed in the interview: Cooper did his grad school thesis on David Lynch's "The Elephant Man."