Bradley Cooper: "A Star Is Born" | Talks at Google
Maile, not then today we have the. Well-known actor, but now director. Writer. And songwriter. Bradley. Cooper in our myths to discuss, his directorial. Debut film. A star is born which. He also co-wrote produced and, stars in along. With the fabulous Lady, Gaga who herself was here once before Dave, Chappelle Sam Elliott and other stars so, but you've. Just seen his story so I think we're going to invite Bradley. On stage let's. Hey. One. Of the nicest hardest-working people. In Hollywood, you're very real you keep it real you've, had an arc as an actor that has, been impressive, both on in, theater and. Numbers. For, Academy, Award nominations, I believe BAFTAs. And so forth but, you've entered, this new realm of directing, so. You've kind, of gone from what we would call around here an individual, contributor, role the actor Wow, to. A leader where, you have to have a vision and you need to avoid higher people, and then you have budgets, and you've got technology, so. Were. You a little bit scared going. Into all this or how, did it all roll, out here you're absolutely right first of all thank you for having me it's such a pleasure to be no it's hardship. To have you really. It's. Kind of insane. And. I was able to you, you were kind enough to invite me to Sicily to the Google camping we showed the movie which was really incredible. My. Daughter loved it yeah, not the movie but she. You're, so right about budgetary. Issues, and timing, and and, all of that stuff but I actually loved, all of that I, loved actually having, a you, know dipping, my toe in all of those aspects, of it and I think that's because you're. Right when you when, you been, and you want to see it through I. Would. Feel very odd if I didn't if I didn't, have a part of the it's because that's part of the road and how wide it is and how how, you know where the velocity picks up you want to have a say, in everything because, it winds, up the finished product is right now now belongs to you so, I very, much was a part of all of that and I couldn't imagine not doing it that way, anything. Really surprise you about that. Process and journey I've seen so many interviews of the typecast coming, together and saying we had a, magic. Experience, working as a team working as a collaborative, creative, group it. Wasn't, so much scripted. Enabled, by a, clear, vision of the story and you're, just freeing, up. Lady. Gaga dave chappelle to play, their parts in ways they said, they've never experienced. Before and of course it's Lady Gaga's first film. Debut. Yeah I think, it has I think that's, I've heard them say that it makes, me so happy because that's was the goal to create an environment where as, you all know when you feel safe and you feel motivated and, you, also know that you're called upon to bring all of yourselves that, that's the environment that you can really thrive and you go home at night and think oh wow that was a really fruitful, day I, think because I've been in this business for 20 years and.
I've. Been in around all different, types of, environments. With in the same setting I just, you know I'm a good listener and observer, so I just watched and picked up everything that works for me and I, just wanted to create. An environment which was the culmination of all of the good parts and take all the bad parts out of it and then hope that in that respect, I could get the best out of the people that entrusted, themselves, to me quite frankly because, that was a I mean I just couldn't believe that Lady, Gaga took, such a huge risk because it's a big risk this is one of those projects. Where you like well you know if it doesn't work out you know you'll be okay. Actually. If it doesn't work out it's you're gonna take a big hit so, so. There's a lot at stake and even. For Dave Chappelle that, took me like two and a half years to get him and because. He just doesn't do this kind of thing and and but he was so willing and Sam Ali and you know I've never seen him play a character, that was so filled with resentment the way that character wasn't he just threw. All of himself into that and and, my hope is that it's because they felt that there was that kind of inspiring, environment which, by the way I sort. Of set the tone but everybody, else has to help create that you, know every single crew member everybody, has to be on the same page and everybody dictates, I mean you know in your work environment if there's one person that has an energy that's off the hole it contaminates, the rest of the team so everybody really has to be on the, same page and. You pursued, this script, for. Years I've. Seen, various reports. Six years. You. Said you pursued Dave Chappelle for over two years so, when, you get the burning. Idea to do the fourth incarnation of. A stars born it, was it was sort of like coming. Together of two different things I always knew I wanted to direct, and. I would I'd worked with great directors like David or Russell or Clint Eastwood who really allowed me to be a part of their process I was in the editing room every.
Day For silver linings playbook and Jay Cassidy, who's David said er he he, and I worked together on this movie, so. I I'd. Always knew that eventually I'm gonna have to stop just. Saying. I'm gonna try to do it and actually do it and because. I knew that all, these sort of compositions. Cinematically. Would always fly around in my head and I was at a Metallica concert. And. I was a and I'd met Lars Ulrich and like. The night before and I said oh man I'm a huge Metallica, fan and and he said we'll come to the come to the concert tomorrow night so I found myself 12. Hours later standing, behind his drum kit in Yankee Stadium and I could see the sweat on his back and I could also see the scope of the crowd and I thought this is an incredible, composition, that people don't get to see and that, was the that, was the the, birth of the I this objective, idea of always being on the stage for in the movie so in the movie we're never in the crowd. So, it was just like little ideas like that I in, thinking about Fame like what Fame can be. You. Know paparazzi. And you can watch TMZ but, what is it what's the experience, like and to me it's so it's Sonic and it's like this cacophony, of noise or it's like. And. Then. Silence and that's the opening of the movie is you're. Thrust, onto this into this Thunderdome, with this guy and then all of a sudden you're. Into. This very small almost. Like coffin, like environment, and that that's that's an, emotional, juggernaut, for people, so. That, was something I thought of early on and then there was just as property, of Warner Brothers had and it, and I thought oh that I could explore all these things family trauma what happens if two people actually love each other, there's no infidelity it's actually, true love and even. With that it's hard so, these are things I wanted to explore, and then this property was perfect, because it had music and. Can't hide when you sing and I thought well, this is this would be the great way to do it so really was it was really a combination I, didn't, think it's I never I never ever thought like you, know it's a thing people should do the forth remake of the Stars. This. Is one like none other so we're all going to pay, money to see it. You. Can't hide if you sing you just said that you, didn't, hide you. Studied, boy, you took voice lessons for 18 months you learn new guitar and. Lady. Gaga required. That. You take all the, do. All the singing, live, that you weren't dubbing. It yeah so, what. Was that all Mike, well. I music. Is a character, in the movie you. Know it's, not like what the movie takes a break and then all of a sudden there's a song it actually has everything to do with that with what's going on it's almost it is a scene my favorite scene of Lady Gaga's, actually, acting, wise is the final song because you, we watch this character go through the grieving process through. The song which. I just that's what. It what a feat acting, feat she did, so. It, would have been we, had no choice but to sing live and that's much easier for her and I thought how the heck am I gonna do that. You. Know because she and the other thing is she's the real deal I know I had the nuclear power of the movie it's like well at least I have this thing I can if the movie sucks at least they'll be like ten moments where she's singing and it won't be horrendous, but. I knew I had to lift the rest of the movie up to her level so you believe it otherwise if you don't believe me is this character you don't believe we're really on a stage scene in front of people if you don't believe that Saturday, Night Live then. There's no way I'm gonna be able to allow, you to enter into this world and learn about her so there was really no question that that had to happen it was, great that she felt, so strongly about it as well. But. It added it I mean it's part of the DNA of the film it's, a beautiful, story of Jackson. Mean a fading, country music star with a alcohol. Problem, and Ally who, you discover, and encourage and you, see her rise through the film 20, when you say country stars so when. We started, writing it, I was trying to figure out where he was and I, quite honestly thought like maybe it's country because I could kind of like kind. Of fake saying and like maybe get away with it and then as I kept working and started to like fall in love and create this character I swear, if we had like six more months he would have been like completely, heavy-metal, like it. Anyway.
Harder. And harder and harder we've talked about this actually what genre Jack's music is because. It's definitely not country right yeah although, you do have a twang when you speak, and kind of that ruddy red face that looks like you had too much but even with the twang scotch, that's. A good question so in terms of his voice that, was the hardest thing actually, was lowering my voice just about an octave and I wanted to pick an act that, that you couldn't place geographically. And Sam, Elliott wound up being the before I even thought about writing the role for him the, voice that I studied. So I would get all of these tapes of Sam Elliott in it, and. Then and then I was doing it and I cuz he's born in Sacramento which, you never know he's from he's from California but, his mother was from Texas, so he's got this odd accent, that you can't really place and then, I was reading Bruce Springsteen's, autobiography. He was talking about stealing his father's voice that's what he did as a kid nice to always want to be my dad and, I thought what if Sam Elliott is his. Older brother and he stole his voice and so that's how that whole thing happened, Wow year so you, both visualized, and you have auditory, things, going through your creative, process yeah. Sounds, like. Speaking. About, auditory. There's someone in the audience who. Gradually. Lost her hearing as a child and has is impressed, by how accurately, you portrayed, the frustration, and denial. Many people, experience when losing their hearing so. Her, question is do you have any personal experience with hearing loss and how, did you study to portray. That aspect. Of the role so authentically. Hmm oh well I'm glad that you thought that is the person here hey. Bradley. I'm, glad you felt that way I was born and here's the other thing when you get to write the movie you can just you cheat all the time because you just do everything that's real to you like, his, choice of drink is crazy. Personal, for me that's, my dog Charlie that's my real dog a. Bunch, of my friends are in the movie who. I went to grad school with and the, hearing loss I wanted, him to be like a prizefighter because. In the, other versions of the movies he's so obsessed with Fame and his fames dwindling, and I didn't, want I had no interest in investigating. That what. I thought, people. Today everybody. Makes money touring, and a lot of these bands that have been maybe the huge back twenty years ago still make a lot, of money touring, so the reality was he's fine. So, it was more about what what's, the wear and tear and it takes a toll on your body and I interviewed, and spend time with tons of musicians and the, thing that happens, is hearing loss that's the number one thing that goes which, makes sense. But. I was born with a cloth the automa in my eardrum, and it, was removed and then I was kind of I would always jump off a high places as a kid don't, ask me why, and I kept puncturing, it and so, I had all these operations, like five operations, I have a hole in my right ear so when he's telling her that story in the bar that's me that's all real that's like so, and. So, I I don't. Have hearing loss but I that when I have ear infections I, hear that tonight is sound so, I know it very well, and, then, it was all about in the mixing stage creating, recreating that sound sonically, for the audience so I'm. Glad you felt that way thank, you beautiful. You talked about, in. One of the interviews I saw it you just want it to be in this to create and make it real mm-hmm. So the, backstory you bring a bunch of friends some graduate school friends from, New. York City. And. You. Know you've been collecting people. Like Sam Elliot gaga over here I did TV show Elliot's and two of those actors are in the movie Ron Rifkin and Greg Grunberg Wow. Yeah so. That. Can't just be happenstance so. You've been collecting, talent. And ideas yes. What. Was the moment. You knew you could make it real was it when Warner, greenlit, it or was it just when you knew you had enough, conviction about and vision, for this. Film, that you, could pull it off I think it was working, with directors, who were allowed, me to be so collaborative, with them I think if it wasn't for David O'Russell there's no way I would have had the confidence but, he really it was like going to film school doing, those three movies particularly the two movies silver, linings playbook in American hustle. And, I really got it and but but even when I did alias I would I hate in LA and I and I like no no no one so and I only worked three days a week and I, just moved there for the Tina's television, show so I would just spend all my time on.
Set, And in the editing rooms and I, would get everybody's dailies, back I would take them home and that was when they were in VHS tape so I was always fascinated, by the process got, it so. I think it was just a constant, you know just sort of. You. Know listening, and observing it's. Once Pharrell, Williams, came to visit us and he said you know you, people are creatives, do you just do it with, your mice mm-hmm. Which, is actually a cinnamon. For coating I guess but, there is some analogy. Between editing. And. Knowing. What the end product you're looking for and it's, a very technical process from, oh yeah just, recording. Oh. Yeah, are. You expert, at that at this point or is that something that is also in its own way a collaborative, effort I mean everything's a collaborative effort but no, I we spent months and months I mixed every single, car. Exhaust, in this movie because, the film, itself is one musical element that's how it's all rhythm everything is rhythm and in life and and especially, a film it has to be one musical, element so that you're not you, know you're not bumping up against the guardrails what you're watching you feel like you're in good hands those are the best movies that I like to watch is I just oh right I the, rhythm is very is, very set. And. You create that in the editing room that is where you create it and then you had the bold move. Of actually. Filming. At Glastonbury. And Coachella, we last bearing the UK the biggest festival. Music festival me you know every summer, what, was that like that's, a real that's a real deal and that really came out of necessity which I'm sure, you're all aware of you know sometimes you know that an idea comes out of what you can't do and that we had a limited budget a limited time and I thought well has to be real and I watched, so many movies that had recreated live, performances. And you can really smell when, it's not working and I thought and actually Terrence Malick had just done a movie about songwriters. And I had happened to see the trailer and I thought and. I said oh he's so, I called him and he was happy was kind of to talk to me and, he said yeah I jumped on but it's very difficult but so that gave me the confidence that it's doable and I go to Glastonbury, every year because I'm a huge music fan and so I knew them and they were they, let me go on but that was crazy you read four minutes in front of 80,000, people in the Pyramid stage and, it, was. And. You're looking at it this way out onto the crowd but, just getting roads just getting back for a second to what you were talking about earlier that's one of the things that I really do love about the movie is when he when Jackson says to him the boy in a talent comes everywhere, but you, know everybody's got talent but having something to say in a way to say it so people listen to it that's a whole other bag, that. That's something that we all have the ability to do you know if there's one thing that I, hope people take from the movie is that they yeah fine what is it that you want to say and how do I want to say it. And. The meta that I think is that Lady Gaga did that in this movie and I was able to do that that we helped each other do that in this movie very. Cool. There's, something about determination. And grit that has to go into pulling, off something this epic but also you kind, of jumped. Out. Of your actors, skin and or the place that you were fans for these past 20 years have had you as an actor, and theater performer, into. This, surprise. He's also a great director there's, a lot of. Press. Around you, just, the shots close.
In Shots lingering. Shots like. Just an intense, visual, experience, that, is all of a sudden your, own in your first. Go. At this of course you've been in, film. For a while but. Talk. To us a little bit about that journey that. Did it require grit self-belief. Did you ever doubt yourself and are. You surprised, now at the reaction, of the. Critics and the press around Wow like. It's. A new Bradley I think it you. Know Elia Kazan said if you're gonna audition to, play a cowboy show up with the horse because, people only know what they see so, so, I for, me it wasn't a shock because I've been thinking about shots since I was a kid you, know and observing, movies and seeing like and the. Movies that I loved is form always follows function an arbitrary, cool shot if, I'm watching a movie and I'm aware as I'm watching in the movie although that's a cool shot I'm to. Me that's not enjoyable, as a, viewer of a film I want to I want to serve afterwards. When I'm thinking about how I felt emotionally, is that oh wow Martin Scorsese that was one shot as they went into the Copacabana oh wow right you know that's that that's, that that's the goal so, there's no so, I've you know it's and it's all character, base for this movie Jackson, takes, his hat off when he's on stage he wants to avoid the camera she doesn't even she's not even aware of her talent, but the movies telling you in the beginning she comes out of the bathroom and she's in the center of the proscenium she's on the stage already. Even though she's in the bowels of a. Building in the bathroom, so, you could do things like that cinematically. With shots but it's all based on story and then by the end of the movie he can't avoid the camera any more so when he's in the bed with her the cameras right on top of them that, he can't escape it so the hope is that you're feeling these things but you're not quite sure why but it's because I'm manipulating, it through the choice of the shot and that's that to me is what's fun about telling, his story cinematically, that's the whole point otherwise, I never would have tried to direct, a movie if I didn't have, a point of view of how I wanted to shoot it I asked, you earlier in, what we called the Green Room, whether. You're still playing to sing, played, a guitar and you said there's one song you want to go finish in the studio so, talk. To us a little bit about that. Journey. And whether. You do it in the shower or are you gonna go back into the studio permanent I did sing shallow in the shower at the hotel the other night I thought can I still sing that song. It. Was okay I think it's it's, when you shower it all sounds good doesn't it. No, I don't think I mean here's the thing I love about what I get to do for a living is I get to enter into a world like. Like. A sociologist. You know and and learn about everything and and, so, get in not just cerebral. Eve but also sensorial E and then then then get to transferred, into some sort of ritualistic. Performance. So, it's a wonderful way of learning. And, this was incredible, it took four years six, years when I thought about that's when I was at the concert with Metallica. And, and the truth is I've been lucky enough there's something else that I feel that, obsessed, by now so, I'm kind of my head, in my heart is somewhere else now and and, I only know how to do this if I am completely, in love with it because as you said it's true it takes a tremendous amount of work I mean. I edited, the movie in my house thank God because we were pulling 16-hour, days for like six months Wow and and. I just had a kid so those that - I'm, always wondering if she's gonna like grow up and like oh because of this set because we edits, loud it was right below her bedroom and I thought she's gonna hear this music for like the first six months of her life I, wonder, if she's gonna like hate, our music or love it yeah. So. So I don't, know how to do anything to, this degree unless I completely love it that said I. Absolutely. Enjoyed, singing but, I hope, that what I want to do at least for the next decade or two is to make movies. But. There was that song too far gone that's in the the, top bar and I only wrote the first verse and chorus and. I had the other day I had this thought of the second verse and a bridge so I'm gonna go he's, a songwriter.
It's. Multi-talented. You you just. Said you are a bit obsessive so what are you obsessing about now I kinda want to say cuz if it doesn't happen. All. Right but hopefully you'll like it in five years when I go sure we're like you. Know a number, of us have watched your career, and know your characters, so well and I remember. Wedding. Crashers you played so effectively, it. It. Was sack lon it was. Football. Game yeah and his they put. His tie over when he would beat somebody up yeah you made no sense what. What's. Your favorite character did, I played yeah that's a Jack. Jackson. No I have to say I think it's still Joseph, Merrick when I did the Elephant Man yeah that makes sense yeah, that, was a year long run yeah yeah, Broadway. In London yeah. That's. A lot of effort yeah. Sometimes. To shoes day so, you made a specific choice in making Jack Jackson's. Character. An alcoholic, and a drug addict, who's morose, and verbally cruel but he's not violent, so. Someone, has asked this question, it seemed to me you were pointing to the power of words could. You talk about the development, and nuance of building, that character, hmm, yeah. Absolutely to me he's a mean, it's for you now but to me he's a character, who's stuck. At 13 14 years old when that traumatic experience, happened to him and everything. Comes from that and he hasn't cultivated. Any other aspect, of his life except for his, music, because the world was telling him this, is what is important, that, this is what we want from you and he was able to share that now he's 43 and we meet him and he could tell his body is starting to take, it toll his hearing, and this. Gets old if you don't cultivate, the rest of your life. But. He to me he's somebody that that's. What he loves and he still has an interest in people and music and and love, of the work, and. That's why he's sort of blown away by her but, he's nothing he's you, know I don't see him as cruel at all in fact the only really cruel thing he says is that horrible thing he says in the bathtub but, she doesn't even remember cuz he's so. But. Even the way he says that it's. Almost in this. It's. Not in a but it's not in an aggressive way, it's, you know so so I never saw him as. Firstly. He's also not a wordsmith he's not somebody who talks a lot you know he chooses his moment. You know they mean I just. I feel, a lot of I, care, about him a lot I just I wish that he was taking, care of more, you. Know by his older brother you. Know I himself too is important. Listen to us all once, Ali is discovered. We. Do see Jack's hesitant. Reaction, to her transformation. What. Should, we understand, about Ali's. Reaction. And also like Lady Gaga's own experience. In that character, transformation, which. Doesn't. Really parallel her, own. No. Not at all yeah, the. Main difference with the other movies I think are these two characters, and that, that's what we're sort of circling, around and the other movies, the. Male character, is, jealous. Of her fame and and. Doesn't like that he's losing the spotlight, and. She is a character, who's sort of an ingenue, and looks at the world the world is my oyster I don't know what's gonna happen but this is all great these, two characters, it's. A guy who doesn't. Even think about Fame it's a byproduct that he's had to deal with he. Just cares about sort, of trying. To find a pure moment to fuel him she's. Somebody who's 31, years old and has been told, by the world, or, by corporate, music driven. By men that her, physical. Appearance does, not merit her songwriting ability, so she won't be they don't want her to sing the very songs that she's written and so, she's relegated, to singing, in a in a. Bar in a dark bar and singing. A cover not even her own music so that's a totally different character that's a character who's just about given up but she can't quite give up she still has that need to perform. But, it's it's it's in this it's tucked away in this little corner and, so. That's. What I loved about this, story is these, two characters, meet and, when. She's thrust into this world that is the the commune oh the the mechanized, world of music in a way, she's. Taken in a different direction but, we. Were I was always conscious that, she still, had a voice in it you know when they have that fight in the bathtub she says yeah those are my lyrics you have a problem with my lyrics you, know her manager wanted her to go blonde and she went, you, know she still had a choice but.
She, Did sort of lose her way as one does but it's a wayward Road a career, and I always thought thought that was a shortcoming, you know is that just, because she's doing something else doesn't mean that it's not as truthful, it's just the road is very winding, our. Talk is going to be aired on YouTube, which has on any day more, than a billion half. Viewers. Around the world and they care a big plot, point in our movie yeah yeah yeah, so, I'd. Love to just, ask you what you think these the, platforms. That we have now these technical, platforms, but YouTube in specific, how has it. Enabled. Creativity. How how do you view. It do you spend. Time consuming. Content. On I, mean. They're, in. Its best form what. What, these platforms, and technology, has given us is the the, means by which we can create. Story, in in various, forms, which is incredible, I was, talking to somebody yesterday. In Dallas about you, know what took Stanley, Kubrick six, years to develop because he wanted to have some sort of flowing shot you could do with your iPhone, now and. Then and then you could post it and the. Fact that that you can get content, out there is, just. Incredible, so it kind of goes back again you just have to figure out what does you want to say and how to say it because the means by which you can tell that story are at our disposal you. Know it's almost too easy that's, the other thing about shots, it's like but, form to me at least form still has to follow function, it all still has to do with what is it that you want to say and how do you want to say it and then use technology. In order to help you. Know convey that well, Bradley thank you so much for having something beautiful to, say and the way in which you say it in a star is born' is. Is. People, are reacting. Enraptured. It opens, October 5th, we. Can't wait those of us were in here to see the preview to, see it live and I, just want to thank you for coming to Google thank you. You. You.