Joy – Bradley Cooper on Acting, Success and Inspirational Women


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.”




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Serena. Plenty Of Clouds. No Silver Linings.

serenaIf we were J-Law and Bradley Cooper’s respective other halves, we’d be getting a bit worried.  Serena is the third time they’ve worked together and Bradley was apparently recruited at J-Law’s special request as they had such a ball on Silver Linings Playbook.  Just sayin’…

This, however, is the first time they’ve done ‘serious’. Set in depression era North Carolina where men were men and women were of little consequence, Bradley plays George Pemberton, wealthy owner of a timber farm and dashing alpha-male. In need of a wife but finding few women of much interest, George is transfixed one day by the impressive skills of horsewoman Serena and sets about woo-ing her, which takes all of 5 minutes.

Soon married and high on a cloud of romance, George brings his alpha-female back to his timber farm where it becomes clear she is a woman of MUCH consequence. Assuming an equal status with her husband, who instructs his begrudging men to accept direction from Serena as if from him, all is joy and happiness. Until it becomes evident that not only can Serena not bear a child to complete their lives, but George is already father to an illegitimate son. Inevitably, jealously and paranoia soon begin to rear their ugly heads.

For the most part, we much enjoyed this slow-burning tale of love and obsession. Brooding and atmospheric, it takes unexpected twists and turns into an increasingly nightmarish scenario. Our only caveat was the overly melodramatic ending, which frankly was a little silly. But with two ever-watchable leads you can’t really go wrong. And did we mention Bradley shares undeniable chemistry with J-Law?  We’re just SAYIN’…

UK release 24 October

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Guardians Of The Galaxy

GOTG_Payoff_1-Sht_v4b_LgThe Sloth is a huge fan of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.  Just the opening sentance gets us snorting unhygenically with laughter. So when we saw ‘Galaxy’ in the title of Marvel’s latest comic sci-fi, our interest was more than piqued, it was positively dribbling.

Peter Quill, aka Skylord (Chris Pratt) is on a mission. A self-professed outlaw, he’s searching the galaxy for a small silver orb that he’s nicking to order. Breaking into a vault on planet Morag, Quill finds himself surrounded by armed guards working for Ronan, leader of planet Kree who are after the orb themselves. After a bit of fistycuffs Quill escapes complete with orb and, most importantly, his original 80’s Walkman with ‘awesome mix tape vol 1’,  triggering an inter-galactic bounty hunt.

Bu there are others who want this orb. Lots of them. Mostly painted blue and in posession of impressive laser and rocket based weaponry. Why they want it doesn’t really matter- various reasons abound, generally to do with inter-planetery rivalry between Kree and planet Xandar, involving adopted sisters with Daddy-issues.

What does matter is en route across the galaxy lonestar Quill accumulates a motley crew of cohorts, namely despised assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana, cornering the market in primary coloured aliens); affable if slightly dense muscleman Drax (Dave Bautista), whose inability to take anything no less than completely literaly is a particular delight, and the marvellous comedy double act of wise-cracking, chippy racoon Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and his giant tree monster pal / henchman Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel). Bickering and scuffling their way into an unlikely bond, our anti-heroes christen themselves The Guardians Of The Galaxy.

If you’d told The Sloth a talking tree whose entire vocabulary consists of ‘I am Groot’ would be one of the most delightful comedy characters to hit the screen in quite some time, we’d have laughed you out of our, er, tree.  Yes there are the standard studio action set pieces but, far more importantly, the anarchic, ramshackle and downright silly comedy spirit that pervaded The Hitchhiker’s Guide has definite echoes in this new Galaxy and what a marvelous thing that is.

UK release 2 August. DVD release 24 November. More comic book heroics? Check X-Men Days Of Future Past.

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American Hustle. The Con Is Glamazon.

hustleEveryone loves a comedy ‘tache. So the moment a virtually unrecognisable Christian Bale swaggers onscreen with paunch, comb-over and luxuriant hairy slug atop his lip, you know American Hustle is onto a winner.

A fictionalisation of true events, American Hustle is based loosely around the ABSCAM scandal of the late 70’s and early 80’s. Involving corruption at the highest levels, it saw members of Congress convicted of accepting bribes in return for political favours.

Our players in this version are con-artist Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and his foxily glamorous partner in crime, Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams). Kindred spirits, their initial business relationship expands into a romantic affair, ignited when they discover a shared talent for hustling money. Unfortunately, their illicit trade attracts the attention of FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper resplendent in tight poodle curls). Richie realises they are the tool he needs to crack a nut of corruption involving casino mob boss Victor Tellegio (Robert De Niro) and political fixer Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner). And with Irving’s neurotic, unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) still lurking in the background, you have an explosive potboiler waiting to happen.

Cleverly, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Yes, it has ‘1970’s Scorsese Mobster Epic’ written all over it, but the tone is tongue-in-cheek homage, not reverential reconstruction. Mr Cooper busts impressively snake hipped moves on a dance floor, winking slyly to Saturday Night Fever. Amy Adams is a Studio 54-esq diva, adopting a faux British accent to impress the naive Yanks and wearing slashed to the naval frocks for breakfast, while Mr Bale’s corpulent belly undertakes a surprise bid for Best Supporting Actor, with copious screen time all to itself (NB The Sloth has it on good authority the notoriously rigorous Mr Bale prepped thoroughly for his role by, erm, eating all the pies. No prosthetics involved, that belly is the genuine article).

Fun, raucous and with just the right amount of 70’s cheese, American Hustle pens a frothy ode to an era of excess, where money, big hair and shiny fabrics talked. Get in the mood with a Screwdriver and blast of Stayin’ Alive, then enjoy.

UK limited release 20 December. General release 3 January.

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The Hangover Part III. The Designated Driver Road Trip.

hangoverThe Sloth considered getting into the spirit of this review by downing Tequila, frequenting Stringfellow’s Angels, then vomiting over unsuspecting foreign tourists emerging from Singing’ In The Rain, but decided the ensuing headache would negate any additional insight.

We were concerned about Hangover III. Hangover I was funny. Hangover II was identical but not funny. Happily, they’ve learned their lesson and Hangover III is different. And most importantly, funny.

We reunite with Phil, Stu, Alan and Doug, aka The Wolfpack, at the funeral of Alan’s dad. The years have not been kind to Alan, who was hardly an aspirational figure to start with. Still living at home and demanding Oreo milkshakes from Mom, his peers decide to stage An Intervention, taking him off for psychiatric treatment for his own good. But en route to hospital the merry band are run off the road and kidnapped by gun toting gangsters headed up by John Goodman. Turns out Alan’s pal, the notorious Mr Chow, has stolen large wodges of gold from John who figures The Wolfpack can go track Chow down and save him the hassle.

Cue ensuing mayhem. Which strangely enough involves no hangovers whatsoever but does involve Vegas, Thai prison riots, giraffes, angry chickens and Alan finally meeting his match. Playing out like Hangover: The Road Trip Reunion, The Sloth was delighted to catch up with Heather Graham and Carlos the Baby. And even more delighted to see Alan’s barely suppressed homoerotic crush on Phil still smouldering. Enjoy with or without Tequila.

UK release 24 May

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