YES MAN directed by Peyton Reed, written by Nicholas Stoller, Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel based on the book by Danny Wallace, with Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, Danny Masterson, John Michael Higgins, Rhys Darby and Terence Stamp. A Warner Bros release. 104 minutes. Opens Friday (December 19). See review here and for venues and times, see movies.
Bradley Cooper is having a run of really hard luck.
How hard, you ask? Let me count the ways.
As Jennifer Garner's journalist friend on Alias, Cooper was a perpetual sidekick, forever on the periphery of the big, sexy spy-game storylines. Not such a bad gig, really. And he was Rachel McAdams's douchebag fiancé in Wedding Crashers, which did nice things for his profile.
But in 2005, Cooper landed his own sitcom, Kitchen Confidential - only to see it axed by Fox after just a handful of episodes. (Check out the DVDs; it remains a sharp and winning show, with fine supporting work by Frank Langella, John Cho, Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Nicholas Brendon and future Worst Week star Erinn Hayes.)
Last year, he took on a serious role as an obsessive photographer who discovers a bloody conspiracy in The Midnight Meat Train. A horror fan's wet dream, the film was based on a Clive Barker short story and directed by revered Japanese auteur Ryuhei Kitamura. Despite strong online buzz, the film was shelved for months by its American distributor, then dumped rather contemptuously into U.S. dollar theatres. A North American DVD release is forthcoming.
And now he's co-starring with Jim Carrey in the big-budget studio picture Yes Man... in a straight role.
"I have, like, three funny moments," Cooper says during a Toronto promotional stop. "I know what you're saying, but I don't think of it in those terms, because I got to work for Jim Carrey for three and a half months and I got to learn so much. My goal in this movie was to make you believe that these guys are actually friends - and I'm pretty honest with myself, but I totally bought it."
It's got to be frustrating, though, to put so much work into projects that then disappear into limbo.
"The plus to that," Cooper says, "is that my life has not changed at all. I can go anywhere I want and no one knows who I am, but I work constantly, so that's kinda great."
He's not kidding either. He does work constantly. He's in the sports comedy The Comebacks for eight seconds as an incomprehensible cowboy; earlier this summer he turned up in the Rainn Wilson comedy The Rocker alongside Will Arnett and Fred Armisen as part of the fake metal band Vesuvius. And the closing-night audience at October's ImagineNATIVE festival saw him in a serious role opposite Adam Beach and Wes Studi in Georgina Lightning's Older Than America.
After Yes Man, there's more stuff in the can.
"He's Just Not That Into You opens a month later," Cooper says, "and that might do well. And I did this movie, All About Steve, that'll come out in March, with Sandra Bullock, in which I have a little bit of a bigger part." (It turns out Cooper is playing Steve.) "But who knows what's gonna happen?"
The perpetual supporting player is angling for more leading roles.
"I just wrapped a movie called The Hangover last week, and in that the narrative revolves around me, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis. So that kind of answers your question. Warner Brothers really did take a chance with the three of us. No one knows who we are, and they're making a $37 million movie with us. So that's great."3
Bradley Cooper on making stuff that no one gets the chance to see:
On the risks of improvising with Jim Carrey: