Bradley Cooper on ‘The Words’ and Rejection as an Actor: It’s “something you have to become accustomed to”

Although Bradley Cooper seems as if he was born being the quintessential Hollywood leading man, the actor did face some obstacles starting out in the business.  These roadblocks helped him portray the struggling writer, Rory Jansen, in his new film, The Words.

“You try to bring whatever you can from your own life so that you can make yourself believe the lines you’re saying that have been written for you,” Cooper told The Metrowest Daily News.  “Absolutely rejection, on a daily basis, multiple times, as an actor, is something you have to become accustomed to.”

Cooper’s character, in his desperation for publication, finds a manuscript with no author attached, and submits it as his own work.  “But Rory’s moral dilemma was not something that I could relate to,” the actor said.  “Rory robbed himself of the experience of creating.  The only thing that I could relate it to is that it’s like playing a tennis match and hoping your opponent double faults so you can win the point, as opposed to wanting him to get the serve in so you could beat it in the point.  So I was thinking, ‘Why do I want him to double fault?  Do I just want to win?  No I want to play tennis.’  It’s really similar.”

Jeremy Irons plays the character of the man who actually wrote the manuscript Rory steals.  Cooper enjoyed working alongside the acting legend.  “Guys—like Liam Neeson and Christopher Walken—are so present and down to earth and make you feel at ease,” he said.  “In terms of acting with them, it’s just effortless because they are so good and you are in such great hands.  When you’re acting with a great actor, it’s not as if you’re playing against them in a sport.  I don’t want to be playing against Jeremy Irons; I want to be playing with him.  Acting is a collaborative sport, and what you’re up against is telling the story.  So you’re all on the same team.”

The Words was written by two childhood friends of Cooper’s.  “Brian [Klugman] and Lee [Sternthal] wrote the script in 1999, and I saw a reading of it when I first moved to L.A.,” he said.  “They decided they wanted to direct it about four years ago, and asked me if I wanted to play Rory.  They already had financers, and I said yes, and that was it.  We just tried to find a date.”

The Words opens today.

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