Before Bradley Cooper was a serious director, he was a serious actor, diving deep into his soul in order to draw out the rawest, purest emotions for every role; whether he was portraying a Navy S.E.A.L. haunted by his tours in Iraq in American Sniper, a man who just go out of a psychiatric hospital in Silver Linings Playboook, or the hot friend who's always looking for a good time in The Hangover. But now that he's both, apparently, things are getting a little complicated.
After a Screen Actors Guild screening of A Star Is Born, Cooper and his stars Lady Gaga and Sam Elliott sat down for a Q&A session moderated by Vanity Fair's Krista Smith. There, the auteur discussed his unique brand of method-directing — which included fake-drunkenly directing the scenes in which his character, Jackson Maine, was at his drunkest, "especially the Grammy scene" (otherwise known as the peeing-on-himself scene).
"Thank God the actors were willing to allow me to direct them sort of in that state because it was easier to stay in that space," Cooper said. "It just took me a little longer to communicate what I wanted."
When he wasn't drifting through that post-party haze, Cooper made sure to get as close to his actors as he possibly could without accidentally ending up in the scene. "When the director is actually right there, it feels as if — and that’s what I try to do — it feels like you’re not alone risking it, that the director is right there with you and has just as much to lose," he reasoned.
Even though in real life, dealing with a blackout friend who won't get out of your face can be excruciating, Cooper's coworkers were actually impressed by his sincere dedication — which can only mean he wasn't later directing scenes with a fake hangover.
Gaga even called his dual management skills a "magic trick," citing one of their most emotional onscreen arguments. "In a moment where I’m almost untrusting of him and angry with him and insulted by him, I’m also, in the back of my mind, in the space of comfort, in the space of love," she said, as hearts blossomed in her eyes (probably).
So, it turns out, there really is a time and a place for everything.