Bradley Cooper is rarely off our screens these days, with a string of cinematic hits from The Hangover to his ongoing collaborations with director David O Russell, the latest of which, Joy, teams him up with Jennifer Lawrence for the 4th (count ’em) time. On the cusp of Joy’s DVD release, The Sloth caught up with Sir Brad of Coop to find out about the film, his inspirations and the strong women in his life.
Q: What is JOY (the film) all about?
A: “I think JOY is about a woman who despite many, many obstacles, embraces what her grandmother taught her. She told Joy that she’s special, that what she has to say needs to be heard and that what she needs to do has to be done. It is a great female empowerment story about rising above all the obstacles and the waves of potential failure and coming out on top. It is about Joy achieving the status as a titan in her field, a field dominated by men.
Q: From your perspective, are there enough great roles for women in film, like JOY?
A: “Well I’m a storyteller. I love to be involved in stories about men and women that are fascinating. At the dawn of movies, Marlene Dietrich was commanding the narrative of the movies she was in. And I have been lucky that I’ve been in movies where the female characters have been very complicated and strong, women who are forces to be reckoned with. In my career, that started with television, the first job I had was on a show called ALIAS (2001 – 2006) from J.J. Abrams that had a female star (Jennifer Garner), so I grew up working within a structure where the female was the main person.”
Q: Joy is a great role model because she is not depending on a man.
A: “That’s right. She says, ‘I don’t need a prince’ at the beginning of the film. It’s a great message and a prevailing one. The film FROZEN is all about that message too.”
Q: Do you think children are being raised in a different way now, with equal opportunities?
A: “Look, there is still misogyny; it is a fact that we have grown up in a patriarchal society and we can’t escape it. But that said, when I was growing up, in our family everybody was fending for themselves around the dinner table. We were a family who argued at the table about whatever topic was going on and I loved it. That helped form the way I think and speak and articulate, and that was all because I had a strong father and I have a strong mother and sister. So there was never that disparity between male and female and who gets the podium.”
Q: Did you always want to act?
A: “I have wanted to be an actor since I was 12. I didn’t do anything about it, but I always knew I wanted to act after I saw the movie: THE ELEPHANT MAN and that was it for me.”
Q: What kind of support did you have growing up in terms of acting?
A: “I didn’t grow up with a family that knew any actors, nobody in my family knew anybody at all in the entertainment industry. It was a world that was miles and miles away from mine. I was a hotel doorman taking Leonardo Di Caprio to his room when I was in graduate school, so [acting] was just a completely alien universe, but I always thought about it. There was something very compelling about it for me.
Q: When did acting become a reality?
A: “I went to college and studied literature and then went to grad school to study theater and I started acting. But I didn’t really think about it too much other than the fact that I just knew I wanted to go after it. It helped that I had parents who didn’t stand in my way. Acting is a very scary thing for parents! I took out a $75,000 student loan out for grad school. That’s very scary, especially for a father who came out of the ghetto and made a living for his family. Then his child is saying that potentially he could be going back into squalor if he’s not successful.”
Q: What were your father’s hopes for you?
A: “He would have been happy if I had become a stockbroker, but eventually in grad school he saw me in THE ELEPHANT MAN. I did it for my thesis and something clicked for him and he was excited; I think he thought then that there was an opportunity for me to do well.”
Q: Do you think success is about talent and hard work or is luck involved too?
A: “It’s a mixture of hard work and luck I think. I’d be a fool to say I haven’t been very lucky and at the same time I do work very hard, it’s very hard to work hard when you hate what you do. It is very easy to work hard when you love what you do.”
JOY IS AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL HD, BLU-RAY AND DVD ON 25TH APRIL, COURTESY OF TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT