If there was any doubt before that Bradley Cooper is a fully-fledged movie star, the first few months of 2011 have wiped that away: he took an underdog genre picture "Limitless," sold almost entirely on his name, to an impressive gross of nearly $150 million worldwide, while "The Hangover Part II" overcame its poisonous reviews to make nearly that much in only a week of release in the U.S. alone. And, while we're not convinced of his charms just yet (he comes across as a little smug), Cooper's certainly made some interesting choices with his stardom.
Sure, he might have the usual blockbuster tentpoles lined up, including a possible remake of "The Crow" and a big-budget version of "Paradise Lost," but he also signed on for "The Place Beyond The Pines," which reteams Derek Cianfrance and Ryan Gosling, the director and star of the excellent "Blue Valentine," and he's got another indie project on the way which is more than a little intriguing: "The Words," marking the directorial debut of "Tron Legacy" writers Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal (that film had writers? Who knew?)
Cooper signed on for the project, about a writer who plagiarizes another's work, only to pay the price once he's successful, a few months back, and was joined by Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid and Zoe Saldana not long afterwards. Now, as the film gears up to shoot quite a few more big-name actors have joined in for unknown supporting roles.
Olivia Wilde, Narnia veteran Ben Barnes, "Four Weddings and a Funeral" actor John Hannah (who's most recently been seen in Starz's "Spartacus") character actor great J.K. Simmons and French actress Nora Arnezeder (who's making her English language debut in the Denzel Washington/Ryan Reynolds spy thriller "Safe House" next year) have all come aboard. Not too shabby, eh? Benaroya Pictures, Animus Films and Serena Films are producing, and Todd Field collaborator Antonio Calvache will serve as a director of photography.
Filming starts this month in Montreal, so it seems like Cooper's going to squeeze it in before "The Place Beyond The Pines." It's certainly a promising line-up, and the script made the Black List, so the potential is there for at least a "Limitless"-style crossover hit, and hopefully a superior film as well. We'll find out when 'Words' hits, most likely sometime in 2012.