Bradley Cooper in Esquire, is he a tool or is this lazy journalism?


Bradley Cooper covers the June/July issue of Esquire magazine, and the online version provides a few scant excerpts, so I went through the print edition to see if there was much more to the story. And, disappointingly, the final product is a mixed bag. The odd thing about this interview really isn’t that Bradley and the journalist (Lisa Taddeo) cooked dinner together, which isn’t out of the ordinary because Esquire usually does things a bit differently and more intimately with their cover stories than merely transcribing a standard few minutes at a press conference. One example of this approach would be Matthew McConaughey’s weekend hospitality tour, which was rebuffed by a different writer with startling similar results to the case at hand.

The bizarre thing about this particular article is that, within the entire breadth of the seven-page interview, there are very few quotes from Cooper himself. Mostly, the journalist reveals what other people say about Cooper as well as her own impressions of him, which doesn’t appear to be a positive take. Basically, the story is that the Taddeo and Cooper went to Whole Foods and purchased some pasta and squid to prepare at her home. Presumably, cooking and eating the dinner as well as the conversation itself was a process that took at least a few hours, yet it seems like an entirely wasted effort on Cooper’s part. Either Taddeo made up her mind before doing the interview and didn’t bother preparing proper questions, or Cooper is a major tool; for now, I’m leaning towards the former possibility:

On Interview Travel Arrangements: “He doesn’t need a driver,” his publicist says. “I mean, we will have one waiting there for him, but Bradley doesn’t need to be driven around. He isn’t like that.”

On How Fame Feels: He shakes his head. “Since Limitless opened, my agent calls me every morning and asks, “Do you feel any different?” And I’m like, “Nope. Do you feel any different?”

On Working It: [His publicist] reads a giddy e-mail from one of their foreign partners, they say they have simply never ahd a movie star so amenable to doing publicity. And then in France did you know that he replied to every single question in French! This is true, he gives his whole body to the human at hand, but the inaccurrate thing is when it’s described as though Bradley Cooper is doing everyone else — Relativity, his directors — a favor. The raw truth is that Bradley Cooper knows better than anyone else that this is his moment. “There is no off switch for his career,” say three of his friends in three separate conversations. He is willing himself into being a star and the way he does that is by always being on, active, and engaged. Even when he is genuinely connecting with someone, he is using his hair and is eyes and tilting his chin and smiling and nodding at your very interesting story.

We’re about to eat dinner with no wine or water and he was going to make this after-dinner digestive of fennel in olive oil. He starts to say it’s an Italian custom, and i say that yes, I know about it…and suddenly the opportunity to impress is over. “Do you think we need it?” he asks.

He Avoids Ridiculous Questions: Sitting down, I ask him how many times he’s been in love. He says, “But really, what do you think about the squid?”

On The Occasional Bout Of Sloth: “Oh my God, I am so f&#@king lazy,” he says. But even his laziness is moderated, because all is about capitalizing on a moment.

I say something about someone from my past that he reminds me of, and he looks into my eyes, and like a movie scene, he says, “I’m not that guy.” And even as I’m thinking, What the hell is he talking about? I’m also nodding. Hypnosis, eyes, hair smile. Yes, whatever you say, Bradley Cooper.

On Being A Tabloid Darling: “Being in Us Weekly does not make you famous. Paul Thomas Anderson does not read Us Weekly and go, ‘Hey look at this guy! I want this douchebag in my next film.’ ”

On His Admiration of Zach Galifianakis: “I like the way he walks through life,” He pauses, “I like that line.”

“Are you imagining the way it will look in print?” I ask. Because we have been narrating the story all day. Cooper reaches for the saute pan and the sea salt. Cooper crosses his legs, and then Bradley Cooper looks out the window at his rising star in the night sky.

He laughs. I like they way he walks through life. “If you have me saying I like the way that sounds, then yeah, that makes me sound like a douche.”

[From Esquire June/July 2011 print edition]

From what I gather in the entire seven pages of this interview, the journalist thinks very little of Cooper and is attempting to sway the readers’ opinions in favor of him as a self-obsessed, image-conscious actor who attempts to manipulate the perspective of those who interview him. Hello Miss Captain Obvious, that’s generally the way things roll with the Hollywood publicity machine. Yet the writer here seems to think that she’s making some groundbreaking, existentialist observation about the construct of one Bradley Cooper, and it comes off as a petty move. To me, it seems like Cooper was probably weary and jaded from his recent experiences with the press (after all, the piece does note that the interview was conducted immediately after the Renee Zellweger breakup), and he did a decent job of deflecting some brainless, unnecessary questions with some self-depreciating humor.

Beyond the interview, the accompanying Esquire photoshoot isn’t much better and features Cooper surrounded by a cache of cougar-esque beauties, all of whom are vying for his attention. As a cover story, it’s not terribly impressive for a magazine that used to conduct amazing interviews but has recently grown a bit too much attitude for the job.






Photos courtesy of Esquire


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33 Responses to “Bradley Cooper in Esquire, is he a tool or is this lazy journalism?”

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  1. Samigirl says:

    …I think the journalist doesn’t like him. I know they have to put their best faces forward, but I really find him to be likeable in interviews and on Conan and Ellen. I could be wrong though. Never met the guy.

  2. Liana says:

    These “interviews” are becoming more and more unprofessional and editorial in nature. Bradley Cooper was OK on the set of “A-Team,” but I think he has a little of the overaggressive ego thing going on.

  3. KJ says:

    The interviewer seems like kind of a bitch, to be honest. I got the impression just from the pulled quotes that she had already formed her opinion of Cooper as a manipulative and self-obsessed actor types we all know exist, and that she was simply jotting things down that backed up her opinion. People do it all the time – you zero in on things that confirm your bias like “AHA! I knew it,” and just ignore stuff that disproves it.

    I’m not saying Cooper ISN’T a self-obsessed actor-type, or that he’s not extremely conscious and controlling of his image, but this writer sounds like she was just there to reaffirm an opinion she’s not willing to rethink in the first place.

  4. anneesezz says:

    These are the worst pictures I’ve ever seen of him. I’ve watched him in many interviews and he seemed sincere and down to earth. Whatever. I’m more concerned with whether his movies are any good.

  5. Eve says:

    He seemed really nice on Late Show with Letterman…he’s got a delicious laughter (and he mentioned “Airplane” which is always a plus to me). I don’t know about anything else though…I don’t read that much about him to even try to build up an idea of how he may be privately.

    That cover is really cheesy, it looks like those ads for Paco Rabanne’s “1 Million” perfume.

  6. Quest says:

    Esquire photoshoot isn’t much better and features Cooper surrounded by a cache of COUGAR-ESQUE beauties – Kaiser

    I thought you said cougar-esque, it looked more like ancient-esque.

  7. ZenB says:

    Picture #3 is creeping me out in a Fassbender/Zoe kind of way. ICK. I don’t get much of him from the interview. I’ve seen better. Based on the above excerpt, I don’t know if he is a self-obsessed douche or not. I will assume the affirmative because I assume they all are but I am sure his ego is not Sean Penn level nor is his weirdness level compare to Matthew McConnaughey. He seems decent in the few video interviews I’ve seen but those are from last year.

    He moved his mother in (as per the online version of said interview); so he can’t be that douchey however, he may have a secret life on World of Warcraft.

  8. Slim Charles says:

    What a bitch! I don’t even like Bradley Cooper and this woman seems like she has a chip on her shoulder. Duh, of course he’s taking advantage of “his moment”. Who the hell wouldn’t? Are we supposed to look down on actors for being ambitious?

  9. mln76 says:

    I’m not really a Bradley Cooper apologist but I heard an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air and he seems like a reasonably decent guy but I could see how his insecurities would rub some the wrong way. Seems like Esquire interviewers enjoy doing hatchet jobs on these midlevel celebs.

  10. Slim Charles says:

    Who is the actress with him with the big teeth? She looks familiar.

  11. Jen says:

    Wow. That interview reflects more of the bitchiness and unprofessionalism of the journalist than the personality/character of BC.

  12. rkintn says:

    Really? She had a couple of hours alone with The Coop and all she could think to do was cook squid and dis him in an interview?! What the hell is wrong with that bitch? lol The interview would have been much more interesting if it had been written while she was basking in the Bradley Cooper post-coital afterglow, smoking a cigarette;)

  13. RobN says:

    The guy moved his mom in with him after his dad died. Douchebags don’t do that and it makes me give him a lot of leeway, especially when the writer here seems to have such an axe to grind with him.

  14. Amanda G says:

    What a strange cover…

    He seems like a good guy, but I get the impression that he’s too eager for people to like him. He tries too hard to be funny and 70% of the time it falls flat. In other words, I don’t think he has much personality. I don’t care though, he’s HOT and I will still see his movies LOL

  15. Stubbylove says:

    I was turned off by the idiotic cover pic to be honest.

  16. chalen says:

    it sounds like they didn’t mesh from the get go, journalist and interviewee, and trying to do something benign and domestic, like cooking dinner, only made it more awkward.


    I chalk this up to a bad interview, and probably the fault of both of them to a certain extent, as well as the seemingly inviting setup that probably only served as more of a barrier between them.

  17. Really? says:

    Looks like he reminded her of an ex. “I say something about someone from my past that he reminds me of, and he looks into my eyes, and like a movie scene, he says, “I’m not that guy.” And even as I’m thinking, What the hell is he talking about? I’m also nodding. Hypnosis, eyes, hair smaile. Yes, whatever you say, Bradley Cooper.”

    Been there, done that. Good looking, selfish guy with a hypnotic gaze makes the worst ex ever. Clear that she hated Bradley for whatever the other dude did to her.

  18. marge says:

    he does look really uncomfortable in the cover… lol

  19. gabs says:

    Um yeah I dont care for him but the journalist sounds like an asshole.

  20. Kara says:

    I don’t get the attraction to Cooper. Yes, he’s nice looking….but that’s his job? what else does he bring to the table? Great movie roles? There’s been the hangover 1 and 2, the one with rdj (which if I watch would be for rdj)and, oh yeah, the a-team. He’s okay but imo not a super-star (that if he’s in a movie i gotta see it) and not a noted actor (that if he’s in a movie i gotta see it).

  21. Nancy says:

    This guy takes himself very, very seriously. Did anyone see him on Inside the Actor’s Studio? He could barely speak because he kept choking up throughout the whole interview. Dude, it’s fine to be proud of your success and full of yourself, but you’re not curing cancer or bringing peace to the Middle East.

  22. Liana says:

    “I say something about someone from my past that he reminds me of, and he looks into my eyes, and like a movie scene, he says, “I’m not that guy.” And even as I’m thinking, What the hell is he talking about? I’m also nodding. Hypnosis, eyes, hair, smile. Yes, whatever you say, Bradley Cooper.”

    * * * * *

    My translation? She said he reminded her of an ex and he said “I’m not that guy, so don’t take it out on my interview.”

  23. ZenB says:

    I forgot my Kindle so I bought the thing at lunch and read it. He’s not a douche, he wants something so bad he can taste it and he is really afraid he will miss it (again). He knows he’s disposable. He knows he is a commodity. He is very, very, very eager to please. He is cocky yet very insecure. I am not sure he takes HIMSELF that seriously, he takes “it” that seriously. He’s obsessed with it but never thought he would get close. He was the first person from that Actors Studio to be on that show. To me that implies 99% of them never make it. He did. I get why he got choked up like that. If I ever got married I would never survive the ceremony – but that ain’t going to happen.

  24. Jen34 says:

    What a bad interview, although not as bad as those photos. Yuck. I caught parts of Wedding Crashers the other day, and he is perfectly cast as an upper crust douchebag. It’s really hard for me to separate him from that character. But if it’s true that he moved his mom in with him, then he must be sweet.

    There was a piece on him over the weekend on the HuffPo, and most comments were about his sexuality; and when they weren’t, they were still pretty negative. The guy can’t get any love.

  25. Drivel Lady says:

    I heard an interview with him on Terry Gross’ show on NPR and he sounded fairly down to earth and even humble. That show asks pretty deep questions too.

  26. JD says:

    I’ve hung out w/ Brad Cooper many times because I share a mutual friend with Renée Z. He is one of the nicest, humblest guys in Hollywood you’d ever meet. He’s as astounded by his success as anyone, and he’s reacting to massive amounts of attention the best way a down-to-Earth person would. The attention is actually embarrassing, but he has to say SOMETHING or he’ll come off ungrateful, which he’s not. This Esquire piece is unfair. I know the guy, and he’s not a douche. Seems there has to be a “backlash” at some point…and it’s just Hollywood bulls*it.

  27. MB says:

    This photo shoot is possibly the worst I have seen from a magazine with a rep as good as Esquire. Also the interviewer seems amateurish. I feel ba for Bradley – if he is a douche then he is a douche but this article seems to be mocking him without a lot of direct quotes to back it up.

  28. Esmom says:

    Looks like the photo stylists had an axe to grind, too. Creepy with a capital C…those ladies are well beyond the cougar stage. Even more inappropriate given the fact he talks about moving his mom in with him. Ick!

  29. bunny says:

    He is cute and seems nice, but he is an average actor very one note.

  30. ALBERT CLAYTON says:

    I agree with JD. He knows BC and knows better than to pander. I get interviewed a lot and I am often silly and then take myself too seriously. I liked the comment that he/she judges him by how he/she likes his movies. The fact that he played a stuck-up social climber in the Owen Wilson movie only proves he can act. I give all actors a wide open space until I see their movies and then I bark and bray that I have seen a stinker. Lighten up. BC is obviously a nice enough guy with JD to prove it. Magazine profiles are no measure of the man–take my word for it.

  31. Shoe_Lover says:

    terrible photos!! And if Esquire keep making out like the celebs they interview are jerks they wont be getting many high profile interviews

  32. gamblea says:

    The cover is tacky. And he doesn’t look like he’s really enjoying being pawed. I like the drink of water picture.

  33. jemshoes says:

    This is the strangest interview I’ve read in a while. Instead of drawing her subject out, the journalist makes him even more self-conscious and wary – even annoyed. That’s not lazy journalism – it’s BAD journalism, and unprofessional. And results in a bad interview. Bradley Cooper may be a tool, but in this interview the journalist comes out looking like the bigger one in the shed, unfortunately.