Exit Interview: Bradley Cooper

Jenkintown’s sexiest export stars in “He’s Just Not That Into You”

Bradley Cooper seems to have it all: He’s a success on screens both big (Wedding Crashers) and small (Alias), is a “Sexiest Man Alive” alum, and has co-starred with every gorgeous woman in Hollywood, including the cast of this month’s He’s Just Not That Into You. That charmed life makes Exit Interview want to puke a little, but as the 34-year-old talked trash about jerks from his high school, his curious man-crush, and his disbelief over the career he’s having, Cooper proved he’s actually the kind of guy you’d want to have a beer with (if he’s not busy making out with your co-workers, that is).

Don’t take this the wrong way, but you don’t strike me as a Philly guy. Did you have the accent, at least? I totally know what you mean, but I don’t think you can get any more Philly roots than me. My father went to Roman Catholic and Villanova, my mom went to Olney High School and Temple. It’s funny — I hear my accent. Whenever I’m around my family, it totally comes out.

At Germantown Academy, were you the popular jock guy who dabbled in acting, or a full-on theater geek? I don’t think I ever stepped foot onstage. I was so scared of talking in front of people. They did senior skits, and I had a hard time getting to sleep junior year, thinking I’m going to have to do this. I was a huge cinephile, though. I always knew I wanted to do it.

Were you named Sexiest Man of the senior class? [Laughs] I love that you think I’m so sexy. That’s fantastic. I was lucky that I dated a very beautiful girl. That gave me a lot of cred. I was by no means “the shit” athletically. I wasn’t the smartest person in school, I wasn’t the coolest kid. I really didn’t have anything going on!

Wedding Crashers was huge. Did you have a feeling that movie would be a hit? I remember watching a scene and thinking, “These guys [Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson] are geniuses.” I couldn’t breathe, I was laughing so hard. All that stuff — [does a dead-on Wilson] “Claire’s mom just made me grab her hooters,” and “You motorboatin’ sonofabitch!” I was so lucky to be a part of it, man.

You’ve said there were guys like the jerk you played, Sack Lodge, in your high school. Which I’ve taken some heat for, by the way. Somebody said, “We read that you were talking some shit about us.” Absolutely right! I was fascinated by those guys because they were so obviously assholes and didn’t hide that fact. But they somehow had this power, that the rules of the universe didn’t apply to them.

Have you run into any of those guys since then? I haven’t, but I’ve heard they’re all doing really well. Which really pisses me off. You hope they’re bald, weigh 300-plus. No. [laughs]

So this new movie of yours is overflowing with A-list actresses. I really fell into a very nice situation. I’m married to Jennifer Connelly, I have an affair with Scarlett Johansson. Both of them, besides being unbelievably beautiful, are just crazy talented actors. I really had to up my game. It felt like playing in the major leagues. The fact that I got paid to work was ridiculous.

You were also on Broadway with Julia Roberts. Did you sign a contract with the Devil? I know, dude. And it doesn’t end there. I did movies with Sandra Bullock, Renée Zellweger, Rachel McAdams. I don’t understand it. I’ll talk to my friends: I’m a guy from Philly, I don’t know shit about anything. When am I going to wake up from this? I get completely star-struck by people all the time. I went to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and I saw Charlie Rose and I almost threw up. I love Charlie Rose.

I read that Charlie Rose almost threw up when he saw you there. [Laughs] Did he really? Like, “Who the fuck is this guy? What’s happening here?”

Does that “Sexiest Man Alive” stuff get to your head? Ever look in the mirror, and say, “Bradley Cooper, they are right. You’re damn sexy.” Um, never. You can’t take any of it seriously. None of it’s true. You have a publicist, you have a movie coming out, you’re gonna be in there. There’s no rhyme or reason for it. It’s a brutal business, and you hear some pretty blunt, raw things when you’re auditioning, or if you’re stupid enough to go on message boards. I’ve learned not to care anymore.

So I’ve agreed to ask you a question from the women in our office, verbatim: “Can I make out with you?” Absolutely.

With my co-workers, I mean. Not me. Want to see some 8×10’s before you commit to this? I don’t need to. Let’s just do this on the fly. Let’s turn off this tape recorder and set up some dates. Let’s you and me crunch some numbers and get this thing going.

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