Before making "Silver Linings Playbook" together, writer-director David O. Russell and Bradley Cooper had planned to join forces and battle the undead in Regency-era England in an adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's horror-lit mash-up "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." The project died an unkind death, but the qualities that attracted Russell to Cooper for that remained fixed in the filmmaker's head.
"He had really good bad-guy energy," in "The Wedding Crashers," Russell says in this clip from The Envelope Screening Series. "Bad guys are interesting. To quote Vince Vaughn in 'Swingers,' they're like the R-rated Guy. You're not sure where he's coming from."
To investigate the source, Russell and Cooper had many long conversations on the phone before meeting.
"He had been angrier," Russell says of the actor. "He had been less happy. He had been 30 pounds heavier. All of which mirrors the character in the film. And he was a very open, vulnerable guy."
For his part, Cooper feels fortunate to work with a filmmaker who, he said in a recent interview, was part of the reason he "took out a loan from the government to go to grad school to move to New York City" and become an actor.