Bradley Cooper mines Philly childhood in "Silver Linings"

Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:02am EST
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Bradley Cooper may be best known for his role in the hugely successful comedy franchise "The Hangover," but the American actor is gaining positive reviews for his role as a bipolar former teacher in "Silver Linings Playbook."

In the film, which will be released on Friday and won the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, Cooper plays Pat Solitano, who has just been released from a mental institution and is trying to put his life back together.

Directed by David O. Russell and based on the novel by Matthew Quick, "Silver Linings" sees Cooper's character move back home with his parents, played by Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver, with hopes of reconciling with his ex-wife. Things get complicated when an abrasive widow, actress Jennifer Lawrence, enters the picture.

Cooper, who is shooting a third installment of the "Hangover" films, spoke to Reuters about his role, why it is unlike anything he has done and what he thinks of all the Oscar talk.

Q: You were born and raised in Philadelphia. Did you use your childhood experiences growing up there to create the character?

A: I upped the Philadelphia accent a little bit. Everything about it is where I come from. So yeah, I was able to mine what I'd grown up with. For example, Lenny Roberts was a guy in high school that dressed like the way we decided Pat would dress like. And my grandfather had an art deco face of Christ on a necklace, which we made Pat wear.

Q: Is this the first time you've played a character from your home state?

A: It's funny because when I was doing the role I thought, I don't know how I'm going to be able to pull this off. We were shooting one day and my mother was (visiting the set). We had just shot a really demented scene and she said, "Oh my God, Bradley, it's like you're not even acting!" I thought, "What do you mean, that Pat Solitano is me?"   Continued...

Actor Bradley Cooper attends a news conference to promote his film "Silver Linings Playbook" during the 37th Toronto International Film Festival September 9, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill