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Yoram Kahana HFPA

Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)

Funny, witty, charming, talented, sexy…what else can you ask from Bradley Cooper?

The 39-year-old former Georgetown University English graduate has proven himself to be one of Hollywood’s most reliable and bankable actors.

From playing the popular villain Sack Lodge in the hit comedy The Wedding Crashers to playing Phil Wenneck of The Hangover trilogy, Bradley has also bagged nominations for his performance as a former mental patient who was suffering from bipolar disorder in Silver Linings Playbook, where he earned Indie Spirit, SAG, Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for Best Actor.

Nominated this year for a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for his performance as FBI agent Richard “Richie” DiMaso in the David O. Russell film, American Hustle, Bradley admitted that he loves working with Russell. He confessed, “We have a very special relationship that I love. I hope I make 20 movies with him because it just works.”

In Hustle, his character had a domineering mother. In real life, though, Bradley admitted that his parents were not that strict with him. “They were very much stricter with [my older sister]. So by the time they got to me, they had it beaten out of her, which is often the case for the youngest child. But my parents let me do whatever I wanted, as long as I called in. I did not have these rules and regulations. But at the same time, I did have an Italian-Irish-Roman Catholic upbringing in Philadelphia, so it’s all relative. For me it would seem lax, but maybe in another world, it seems like I grew up in a military camp or something.”

“It’s funny I was just watching videos of my father the other day,” he says. “We had them all together and I realized just how funny he was. I think probably in another life he was a real clown and I think in another life, he would have loved to be an actor. Because I come from a family where that was never even a possibility for anybody. There’s no theatrical lineage at all. I think I get a lot of that storytelling from him.” As for his mother, Bradley simply said, “The Italian part of me maybe? The fire. She’s fiery. I can be fiery too.”

Bradley admitted that he had fun making the movie. He said American Hustle takes place in 1978. It’s not an ’80s movie. So the fashion revolves around the late ’70s in the East Coast of the United States and I made the stupid choice that my character curls his hair. So that has been an interesting three-hour-before-work-every-day enterprise of curling my hair. But men did that back then.

“A lot of baseball players did that. I love it. We all love it. We’re all sort of in heaven on that set with the outfits and the music of it. Everything! There are so many wonderful characters in the movie. It’s a very exciting set to be on and just the company I’m with -- Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Alessandro Nivolo, Louis C.K, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Michael Pena and Robert De Niro. Everybody’s fantastic!”

Writing and directing are in his list of things to do in the future. He said, “There’s no question about it. The truth is, I am either a director’s best friend or worst enemy because I don’t think like an actor. I really love the filmmaking process and almost, the acting is the last thing I even think about. After I do Elephant Man in the fall, I am going to have to direct a movie. I hope I get the chance to do it as Ryan Gosling is doing right now, which is a real testament to his talent.”

Janet R. Nepales