Bradley Cooper seems to making all the right moves of late. He wasn’t an instant A-lister; his career saw him working away on TV shows like “Alias” and “Kitchen Confidential” before a supporting performance in “Wedding Crashers” put him on track to bigger things, with the smash comedy hit “The Hangover” finally providing him with the right stuff. Since that film, other than a blip with “The A-Team” (which can’t really be blamed on him), he’s been making sound choices; a giant sequel to “The Hangover,” and a surprise hit, “Limitless,” sold entirely on his name.
2012 sees him moving into more dramatic territory: later on, he’ll crop up opposite Ryan Gosling in Derek Cianfrance‘s “A Place Beyond The Pines,” and star in David O Russell‘s “The Silver Linings Playbook,” but any potential tentpoles have proven trickier. The actor dropped out of the lead in “The Crow,” while he was meant to play Lucifer in “Paradise Lost,” an adaptation of John Milton‘s epic poem about war in heaven, from “I Robot” director Alex Proyas. But as part of a general belt-tightening process that also saw the scrapping of “Akira” and “Arthur & Lancelot,” Warner Bros slammed the brakes on the megabudgeted, 3D, performance-capture heavy project, putting it on hold only weeks before the film was meant to shoot in Australia.
The good news is, according to Cooper, that it was only a delay, rather than the axe — we spoke to the star yesterday at Sundance, where he’s doing press for his well-received drama “The Words” (full interview coming soon), and the actor told us of the project “We’re going to hopefully start in June. Everything’s going great. I mean, nothing’s done until we’re up and shooting.”
We’d wondered if “The Hangover Part III” could get in the way. Reports this week suggested that the film was looking to start in the summer for a Memorial Day 2013 release, and we’re sure Warners would rather have Cooper for that surefire hit than for a risky, expensive project like “Paradise Lost.” But given that “Paradise Lost” was originally scheduled for only an eight-week shoot (performance capture is faster to shoot, although much longer in post, obviously), and given that Todd Phillips turned around “The Hangover Part II” in only eight months from start of photography to release, we can’t see any reason that Cooper wouldn’t be able to fit in both.
So long as the original cast are all back, “Paradise Lost” will star Cooper atop Benjamin Walker, Casey Affleck, Djimon Housou, Diego Boneta, Camilla Belle, Sam Reid, Rufus Sewell and Callan McAuliffe, and should hit theaters in 2014. Meanwhile, “The Words” will hit theaters later in 2012 thanks to CBS Films — look for the rest of our interview with Cooper and writer/directors Brian Klugman and Lee Strernhal very soon. —Interview by John Lichman