Wednesday, 10 December 2014
BRADLEY COOPER Feature-ROCKET MAN
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
No animals where harmed in the making of this mans career! Between being nominated for Academy Awards for possibly three years running (more on that later) and being named the 'Worlds Sexiest Man Alive', this Oscar darling is unleashing the beast inside. Whether he's toting guns as a talking Racoon, that hangs out with three word vocabulary trees in space for this years biggest film or hitting the Broadway stage of the concrete jungle, Empire State of New York as 'The Elephant Man', Bradley Cooper doesn't seem human. Its for sure been a long time since this poster boy of Hollywood and one of the industries most likable icons was engaged with playing the perfect bastard with no glory, while Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn where 'Wedding Crashers'. It seems like an even longer time when before he was famous he sported long, scraggly hair, like that first scene in his acting breakout 'Limitless' as he asked his idol Sean Penn a question from the audience of James Lipton's 'Hollywood Actors Studio'. Now a cut above the rest this guys cleaned up and had fans reaching for answers of advice from himself after having his own show. The buck doesn't stop there either for a movie money guy who joins Hollywood's other Bradley and the Leo DiCaprio likes of pretty boys maturing and showing their much more than their looks. You can add theatre to the career resume too of a guy that's heading to the stage like his fellow Marvel mutant, Wolverine, Hugh Jackman a few blocks down the road of Times Square in 'The River'.
There's an Elephant in the room however if you stream back uptown with the lights and taxicabs of the Big Apples entertainment core of 42nd street. It comes from a monster of a big, bold and beautiful Broadway powerhouse performance as the 'Worlds Sexiest Man' plays the disfigured 'Elephant Man' in a 14 week running, acclaimed piece of theatre that also stars legendary, journeywoman, character actress Patricia Clarkson. Following the life of the shows subject Joseph Merrick since he was only 12 years old, this labour of love is a nightly passion project for Brad and hang with Mr. Cooper long enough and you can see just how much enthusiastically exhausted, heart and soul he's pouring into this performance. Between all the award worthy movies that have dealt with everything from mental wars to world ones and the big budget picture perfect life of cinemas classic comedies and comic books this just may be the most important, inspiring and influential role to date for a man who's seemingly working on as many scripts that have hit his cluttered welcome mat in the Hollywood Hills. And he's doing more than just simply paying the bills. Something appears to be eating away at him like a debt he must repay to the humanity of the acting world. You can see it in his impassioned speech at the MTV Awards of all places for the 'Beat Kiss' gong with Jennifer Lawrence of all awards for the anxiety dealing 'Silver Linings Play Book', where he let the audience know that the oft-ignorantly brushed aside world of mental health was real even to a man who could have seemingly any woman or role he wanted. Revealing an issue that need to be addressed in the fact that more American soldiers are lost to depression and suicide on return home then on the battlefield (more on things of that nature later too). Tackling the inspiration over isolation, mind over matter, brutal battle of a man that cruelly wasn't accepted by the public this man does it again. Screaming Merrick's cries of "I AM A HUMAN BEING" to those who treated him like an animal simply because they didn't understand.
Get it? And you thought this mans best performance of the year came as as a hairy, two-foot creature. After Marvel's monster year of big blockbusters in 'Captain America-The Winter Soldier', 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' and 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' their best was truly saved for last in their out of this world, space Avengers of 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'. A mega movie that beat all the 'Transformers', 'Planet Of The Apes' and ultimate movie King Kong 'Godzilla', whilst turning the Parks and Recs of Chris Pratt into a star (lord) that next years big blockbuster 'Jurassic World' will be thankful for going up against the real Han Solo in 'Star Wars' and of course the Avengers in this 'Age Of Ultron'. Between sci-fi queens like Zoe Saldana and wrestling kings like Dave Bautista, two characters stole the show, looking nothing like their Hollywood heart throbbing vocal providers as Rocket and Groot just may be the new Christmas toys this year, selling by the minions under the Douglas Fir's of every kid and their parents alike. 'Fast and Furious'' Vin Diesel may have only had to say "I am Groot", but he did it with so much passionate range, while you couldn't get Coopers chattering Racoon to shut up...and you didn't want him too either. Sounding almost nothing like Bradley but making a radical, attitude shift in everybody's favourite comic and C.G.I. character, Cooper showed even more real and underrated raw acting range, especially in the timing of comedy for a character we cant wait to see climbing the tree again with a machine gun space blaster. This critters bite is even better than his bark! OH yeeeeeah!
Finger on the trigger, gun in hand and with the Kodak Theatre in his crosshairs, Cooper looks to tale aim at another Oscar nomination with the legendary outlaw and quickest draw in Hollywood Clint Eastwood. And its only right the old and new alike cross career paths. For Clint the legend who is proving to be just as iconic a director as he is actor has wrapped up a great year with his phenomenal, stage to screen 'Jersey Boys' adaptation. Now following Bradley's even better 2014, the two unwrap a new story this Christmas day that will make sure over turkey and tinsel movie fans don't forget those fighting for our freedom who cant make it home for the holidays. 'American Sniper' sees the director of war torn classics like 'Flags Of Our Fathers' and 'Letters From Iwo Jima' return to the trenches but this time in a modern warfare, with his new million dollar baby in his Bradley Cooper lead. Cooper bulking up and adding weight like gold by eating every 55 minutes for the role of America's deadliest sniper with 150 kill-shots to his name. This all too true tale could just be too good for just a nominee. Following his nomination for powerfully playing a wounded man with troubling anxiety problems alongside Jennifer Lawrence in 'Silver Linings Play Book' really rewrote this guys life script in more meaningful and moving ways than one. While his reunion with with Lawrence and director David O. Russell's 'Fighter' stars in last years cool and slick 'American Hustle' played another Oscar nomination into his hands. Although the man may have only won the award for best selfie photographer of the year that night (trust me...he is), the guy-despite a hilarious scene where he imitates and mocks massive comedian star Louis C.K.-should have really been nominated for 2013's most underrated and best film 'The Place Beyond The Pines'. Maybe having him and Ryan Gosling on the same screen (to go with Eva Mendes of course) made it all one handsome blur. Maybe it was really incredible, next generation actor and Green Goblin Dane DeHaan's breakout movie and career vehicle. Or maybe, just maybe if you look deeper you'll find Coopers best of his catalogue.
Never fear this guy may just be an Oscar regular like his co-star and next Meryl Streep in Jennifer Lawrence. They've only added a third collaboration in as many a year to their hectic and huge 2014 schedule too. Its no wonder there aren't dating rumours thanks to this couples charming chemistry. Its a good job Bradley's on Broadway for 14 weeks only because he may have another theatre appointment in February, going up against himself. With Lawrence 'Serena' saw a classic, old and traditional middle America simple story of timbre with a deeper and darker root. Although it'll never strike gold like the silver from the linings of their greatest play book, it has much more substance than just the slick 'Hustle'. Its another notch to the expanding Hollywood waistline of Cooper too amongst the wasteland of rom coms and early days confused films (his scene was cut out of the great Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson thriller 'Changing Lanes') this talented thesp has escaped. Man of the moment McConaughey watch out alright!? 'Failure To Launch'? Yeah right! Speaking of which, wouldn't Cooper have been perfect for the new 'True Detective'? With all due respect to Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn. Like the greater, more underrated actors of our generation, like Jamie Foxx this serious talent has some seriously classic comedy chops too. After playing the perfect best friend of Jim Carrey in likable agreement to 'Yes Man' he only kick-started his career with a 'Hangover...no make that three of them in a terrific trilogy birthed from a straight classic and highest grossing R rated comedy of all time. A headache to mainstream Hollywood now that taste of the after hours had a kick. Kicking so much it sent Cooper to the 'A-Team' boot camp as this eighties franchise reboots Face card. Who else for the new handsome Dan to play hey? You just have to love it when a plan and a career comes together! That's when things get truly 'Limitless' like the Bradley breakout picture of acting acclaim. Forget loving 'Lucy', popping a pill that made him use 100% of his brain and become a better and more successful man, Cooper's career took the same invincible injection, shot in the arm in the first of many films where Bradley bested his legendary De Niro co-star. Thinking ten moves ahead of him this was truly the wolf packs Lone Ranger moment and if you think about it all the other seriously great films and nominations may not have come if it wasn't for this dose of performing for more than just laughs. No longer stuck in the rut of a running joke, there's no limits to this Hollywood sniper who doesn't just need the most popular actress in the work by his side to get our attention. But he more than holds his own in the hottest character couple this industry can put on screen. With untitled Cameron Crowe and John Wells projects in the pipeline and more Marvel Rockets out this Galaxy in his formidable future, the man whose career hopes where once clawed to playing the 'Crow' in a remake are really taking flight on their own now. As an elephant walks through the bright Broadway lights of Times Square, New York City this rocket wont stop 'till it shoots for the biggest star. Soon you'll be able to see it in his Hollywood Walk of Fame.