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Interview: Bradley Cooper Talks The Hangover Part II

Photo credit : Handout
Interview: Bradley Cooper Talks The Hangover Part II

Bradley Cooper is sitting at the head of a long conference table, wearing a bicycle helmet with a flip camera attached to it.

The helmet-cam comes courtesy of a Toronto radio personality known for conducting interviews while wearing the unorthodox get-up. When Cooper enters the room, the actor quickly nixes the plan -- before offering to wear the helmet himself for the entire interview.

“You can take me seriously, right?” Cooper jokes, before adding: “Nobody can take photos of this.”

It’s Cooper’s “eh, what the hell” attitude that made him a perfect choice for The Hangover, the massively successful 2009 comedy that shot him, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and director Todd Phillips to superstardom. Since then, Cooper has transformed into one of Hollywood’s A-list leading men (“It doesn’t feel like it in this helmet,” he quips). He’s starred in the big-budget action flick The A-Team and opposite Robert De Niro in the thriller Limitless. However, the 36-year-old warns against the perception that The Hangover’s success has made his life easier.

“More doors have been opened, for sure, but it’s not like I sit back with a cigar on Monday morning and go through the scripts that have been offered,” Cooper says. “That’s not the case. I still put myself on tape to audition for movies and try to get roles.”

So, when the time inevitably came to film The Hangover Part II, Cooper jumped at the chance -- even though it meant a grueling film shoot in sweltering Bangkok.

“It was that hardest shoot I’ve ever done. Logistically, to get from Point A to B is difficult, with the bureaucracy and getting things done. There are always tons of people around,” he explains. “That said, I absolutely loved it. I loved how foreign it felt; I loved how it felt like I was in Blade Runner a lot of the time. I love the pageantry that goes along with the culture. Everybody loved it.”

The Part II of the film’s title indicates that it’s a continuation of the first film, rather than a straight-out sequel. Accordingly, the second movie follows a similar trajectory to the first one. This time, the group heads to Thailand for Stu’s (Helms) wedding. After what’s meant to be a low-key evening drinking beers on the beach, the friends wake up the next morning in Bangkok only to find that the 16-year-old brother of Stu’s fiancée has gone missing.

Cooper concedes that moviegoers will notice a lot of familiar elements to the story, but he says they should prepare themselves for where The Hangover Part II will take them.

“When we first talked of a sequel, there was a choice: do we stray from the structure [of the first film] or do we run straight for it?” he says. “We agreed, no question about it, that we haven’t earned the ability to take these three guys out and put them in a new structure. There needs to be a ticking clock, there needs to be a missed night, there needs to be somebody gone, there needs to be a woman waiting to get married and a guy who needs to get married. But it’s like, look, guys, you’re going to get the same movie but it’s going to be a lot darker and the stakes are going to be raised. Just strap yourselves in.”

And despite the pressure to top the craziness of the first Hangover, Cooper applauds Phillips for taking risks with Part II.

“It’s a more confidently-directed film by Todd,” he says. “The first one moves like a bottle rocket; this one takes its time. I’m curious how people will react to how dark it is and how much time is taken with it.”

Before long, the interview ends and Cooper takes off the goofy helmet-cam. Handing the contraption back to its rightful owner, Cooper utters the words familiar to anyone who has experienced a terrible hangover: “Let’s not mention this again, OK?”

The Hangover Part II opens in theatres Thursday, May 26.