Paul Thomas Anderson wants Bradley Cooper for his ’70s high school movie

Every school has that one handsome teacher – could it be B-Coop?


Charles Bramesco


Cinephiles will be relieved to hear that even though the coronavirus pandemic has stalled shooting in Hollywood, we’re still moving down the production pipeline to a new feature by Paul Thomas Anderson. Once on track to be a highlight of this year’s release calendar, at least the gestating project remains on track to be a highlight of next year’s release calendar.

The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop that Bradley Cooper had entered negotiations to star in Anderson’s upcoming film, though the details of his role have been withheld. At present, all that’s known is that the film will return Anderson to the ’70s-era San Fernando Valley of his classic Boogie Nights, and that the multiple-thread plot follows a child actor as he traverses the treacherous wilds of high school.

Where this youth-oriented milieu leaves an adult like Cooper poses a headscratcher. The armchair casting directors among us can only see him in one of two positions: either as a dad, or as the resident hot teacher that every school seems to have. In either respect, we can only hope that he’ll revive his pin-curled coiffure from American Hustle, the last time Cooper time-traveled to the ’70s.

At first glance, Cooper doesn’t seem like the type of movie star Anderson prefers to align himself with. He either prefers the self-serious artiste types in the vein of Daniel Day-Lewis or Joaquin Phoenix, or the malleable stars like Mark Wahlberg and Adam Sandler he can play against their type. Cooper doesn’t fit either description, though he’s not in the main role, so who’s to say.

At any rate, casting will likely continue for some time; Anderson generally likes to work with big ensembles for his LA movies. (Inherent Vice, Magnolia, and Boogie Nights all connected extensive constellations of stars.) Focus Features are reportedly prepping for a shoot by the fall, though that’s operating under the bold presumption that the overall situation will be less FUBAR at any point of the immediate future.

Until then, we wait, and think about what judiciously selected period-appropriate pop hits he’ll include on the soundtrack.

Published 3 Aug 2020

Tags: Bradley Cooper Paul Thomas Anderson

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