Joy – Bradley Cooper on Acting, Success and Inspirational Women

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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

 

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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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X-Men: Days Of Future Past

x_men_days_of_future_past_2014_poster_wallpaper_high_resolution_for_downloadSome smart Hollywood bod clearly looked at Hugh Jackman in full Wolverine get up and thought ‘those mutton chops should be back in the ’70’s where they belong’. And lo, X-Men: Days Of Future Past was born.

We join our mutant friends at a low point. Losing a war with Sentinels, machines built to destroy mutants that are now also destroying humans, they need to take drastic action to prevent, oh, most of the known universe being wiped out. So they hatch a cunning plan. Send Wolverine and his whiskery chops back to 1973 to sort it all out by changing the course of history.

Wolvie is duly despatched to meet the young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and announce he is a visitor from the future. Unfortunately, Charles is a mopey, dishevelled, red eyed shambles, having fallen out with buddy Erik (Michael Fassbender) and dropped his mind-bending powers in favour of being able to walk. Even more unfortunately, Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence, painted blue) has taken it upon herself to destroy the Sentinel’s inventor, Dr Trask (Peter Dinklage with fabulous 70’s trucker moustache). However, this isn’t a good idea for reasons we don’t have space to detail here. So Wolvie simply has to convince Charles to buck up, convince Mystique that killing isn’t the ethically sound solution and convince Charles & Erik that they really should all just get along. And save the future world. Piece of cake.

It’s all thoroughly confusing yet simultaneously seems to make total sense, primarily due to the marvelously serious, clipped Shakespearean delivery of our leads. Who else but Fassbender could fight giant, flying metal robots on a football pitch with the gravitas of one playing Hamlet at The Globe? And frankly, anything involving 70’s scientists proclaiming “we are DEFCON three, code red” floats The Sloth’s boat.

UK release 23 May. DVD release 10 November. Fancy more unearthly creatures? Try Godzilla.

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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 Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I’m A Tribute, Get Me Out Of Here.

hungerLast year, first-born The Hunger Games came bawling into our cinemas in a fury of surprisingly realistic violence for a ‘kiddies’ tale. And in true Hollywood let’s-milk-it-while-we-can style, final instalment, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay is being split into two parts – a double headed Gorgon set to hit our screens in 2014 and 2015.  Let’s hope Jen Lawrence is suitably insured against Archer’s Elbow. To tide us over till then, we have the supposedly difficult middle child.

Fresh from winning the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) are embarking on a Victory Tour. Forced to parade through the impoverished districts whose human ‘Tributes’ they killed en route to their win, they are understandably reluctant to celebrate. This doesn’t bode well with evil dictator President Snow (Donald Sutherland), who is increasingly alarmed at Katniss’ growing stature as a symbol of resistance among the restless minions. Worried about a potential uprising against his precious Capital City, he decides Katniss must be despatched of once and for all – and what better way than via a special, 75th anniversary edition of The Hunger Games featuring victors of games past. No prizes for guessing who is top of his list to head back into the all-new, bigger, better and badder arena.

Now this could be a cheap, sequel cash-in but, partly because the first was so well realised, it’s a welcome return. The same menacing tone and fabulously bleak, dystopian visuals take this to a far darker place than your average blockbuster. Add in the same outrageous, couture-on-acid fashion (we particularly liked Catnip’s pre-Games chariot parade look – seemingly inspired by the classic Stars In Their Eyes Carol Vorderman does Cher moment) plus some excellent new Tributes, including one with teeth innovatively filed into fangs for ripping fellow contestant’s throats out, and the middle child comes off rather well. Story-wise, it may be an appetiser en route to the meat of the main course, but it’s still well worth sinking your (appropriately sharpened) incisors into. 

UK release 21 November. UK DVD release 17 March

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