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On a near-spring Sunday evening, on a forgotten block of midtown Manhattan, two young men in a Szechuan restaurant are talking about food and the world. "You took the words right out of my mouth," one says to the other.They are in that early-twenties stage of being politically aware and culturally acute but otherwise kangaroos in pouches. The boy in plaid is using chopsticks to stab crispy bits with one hand and a spoon to shovel lobes of tea-smoked duck into his mouth with the other."Oh, I also saw Limitless," says the boy in the brow.The other is overweight in a panama hat with the long singular brow of a samurai. A freshman NYU course during which Taxi Driver revolutionized the curly-headed boy's life. But Bradley Cooper, man — I don't know." "You think he's got staying power? But I bet he gets seriously laid." In a great room somewhere in Tokyo, Madrid, or Los Angeles, Bradley Cooper has just read that quote and he is smiling and amused. He has spent a lifetime trying to become dinnertime conversation, but sometimes you get the custom Corvette only to find they have installed Camaro seats. I mean, we will have one waiting there for him, but Bradley doesn't need to be driven around. At Whole Foods he's waiting by the entrance in sunglasses and a scarf and old soft pants and a button-down shirt and sneakers. This is the shit you can't stop eating." "Look at you.""I can't fucking stop." They begin to speak of the documentary Inside Job, the utter mindfuck of it.
He says he did not mean that in terms of Di Caprio, you are famous, and I, Cooper, am wearing a doorman uniform. Di Caprio, then in 1998, was riding the Titanic swells, and Cooper, enrolled at the Actors Studio, was still pinking in the audience when De Niro came in to guest lecture.
He laughs and asks questions, and is engaged while also surveying the future. Like seeing a unicorn in a clearing you have just rubbed your eyes and holy shit, a woman in a fur scarf cares that Bradley Cooper is picking out olives! One day in the life of Bradley Cooper doing press is violent. A series of fifteen phone and video conferences for outlets in Australia and New Zealand. The unasterisked irony of a phone interview with Bridget Jones from the Sunday Star Times. A car will be on hand to take you to Univision — a man named Jorge in Miami is calling you via satellite. Please know you will have an hour break at some point in your day. Part of getting there involves shedding old things and recasting yourself.
On the schedule it says, Each print interview will last approximately thirteen minutes with a two minute turnaround. There is a clip I have watched a dozen times, it is from Paris in 1985, Bruce Springsteen is about to sing "I'm on Fire" in a sleeveless shirt and blue jeans and he precedes the song with a fraught story about his difficult father. Bradley Cooper is not Bruce Springsteen in Paris in 1985. Part of it is timing, and an audience that wants to believe in your transformation.
On their table are five steaming plates of silken and brown and diaphanous noodles and meats and a bottle of good white. The film has been out a week and has grossed million so far.
One young man is curly-headed, wearing plaid flannel, and might invent a social network. "De Niro," says the boy, "was fucktastic." They pause to celebrate past De Niro films.
Ryan Kavanaugh, the CEO of Relativity Media, which is the distributor behind the film, made a bet.