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Bradley Cooper On Getting Back To His Roots

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Actor Bradley Cooper became famous for a bachelor party gone wrong in the hit comedy The Hangover. From that role, Cooper went on to People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive." Now there's talk of Oscar buzzing around his new movie Silver Linings Playbook, directed by David O. Russell.

In the film, Cooper plays Pat Solatano, just out of a psychiatric facility and struggling with bipolar disorder. Pat moves back home, where his parents try to manage his moods.

This movie is steeped in family, football and love both lost and found. Cooper tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer that it's a story about emotional extremes.


Interview Highlights

On what his character is going through

"He unfortunately thinks that he can control everything in his life. He really didn't seek any help. He won't take medication, and he thinks that if he can just get his life back together, everything will be fine. But the problem is his wife has a restraining order out against him, he lost his job at the high school, and he's had to move back in with his parents."

On the film's chaotic, quirky, sports-obsessed family

"David O. Russell, who directed the movie — all he really cares about is telling a story that's authentic, that's about a group of people living in a house that feels authentic, in an authentic neighborhood. And these people happen to be on the extreme emotionally, yet the hope is that we can all relate to them.

"The element of the [Philadelphia] Eagles — the element of a sports team, its involvement in the family, how it almost serves as another character within that family — to me, growing up in Philly myself, is very true. Our Sundays revolved around what time the game started. Whenever, you know, we were eating and the game was on, we would bring the TV from the living room into the kitchen, and it's a huge part of the culture."

On the appeal of playing a vulnerable character

"I was actually trepidatious about playing Pat. I didn't think that I really could, and that was probably because deep down somewhere I had just utter fear ... of being able to be that open on film. I had never been asked to do a role that demanded that kind of dexterity and truth.

"And I was terrified, and because of that, the conscious mind said, 'I don't really know if I'm right,' which is kind of crazy because I am from Philadelphia, I'm Italian-Irish, as is Pat Solatano, and I'm a massive Eagles fan. The one thing I did know was if I was going to do this movie, there's no hiding from the minute you show up to set to the minute you wrap that day."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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