Bradley Cooper almost gave up acting before ‘Licorice Pizza’

The lure of working with Paul Thomas Anderson proved irresistible: "I think I’d open up a door in his movie. I’d do anything"

Bradley Cooper has opened up about how Paul Thomas Anderson convinced him to carry on acting.

Speaking during Variety’s recent Actors on Actors feature, Cooper revealed that he almost gave up on the profession until Anderson invited him to work on Licorice Pizza.

“The reason that I didn’t give up acting is Paul Thomas Anderson,” he said. “When he called me to, maybe, be in his movie, Mahershala, I mean really, I think I’d open up a door in his movie. I’d do anything.”

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The actor also stated that Licorice Pizza was the first film he worked on during the COVID pandemic, and picked up a few film-making tips from Anderson along the way. “I watched all the camera tests. He was teaching me all about lenses, things I never knew,” he added.

Alana Haim
In ‘Licorice Pizza’, Gary Valentine (Hoffman) navigates first love in the San Fernando Valley, 1973. CREDIT: Universal

After his work with Licorice Pizza was completed, Cooper returned to work on Nightmare Alley, explaining that he “banked” his character early on and “kept the little pilot light on” to return to Stanton’s mannerism and speech.

The actor has discussed his method of moving in and out of character in the past, previously confirming that he would not continue using his A Star Is Born singing voice. “He’s gone. I’m not gonna try to get him back,” Cooper told Stephen Colbert back in 2019.

In a four-star review of Licorice Pizza, NME wrote: “Though Hoffman’s Hollywood pedigree is strong (he’s the son of the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman) that fact that he seems to have sprung from nowhere lends his portrayal of the precious Gary a heavy layer of authenticity.

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“To the viewer, Cooper is Gary and it’s also surprisingly easy to separate Alana Haim the rock star from Alana Haim the movie star. With newcomers like this, who needs pros?”

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