Bradley Cooper


  1. Mark Wahlberg, Four Brothers, 2004.    Cooper, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Vin Diesel, Ethan Hawke, Brad Pitt and Jeremy Renner were in the mix for the head of the brothers avenging the murder of their adoptive mother. Came across like Death Wish meets The Sons of Katie Elder (except John Waye and his real siblings were avenging their Dad’s killing in the 1965 Western). A planned sequel called Five Brothers never happened. Thankfully.
  2. James Franco, Milk, 2007.       Director Gus Van Sant had first planned a film in the early 90s about the first openly gay elected to US public office – assassinated for it (with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone) in 1978. Van Sant’s  main candidates back then for  Harvey Milk’s lover, Scott Smith, were Bradley and Chris Evans.
  3. Sam Rockwell, Everybody’s Fine, 2009.    One of the most bizarre auditions –  Coop taped his own test  – with his mother playing Robert De Niro’s role!  However, Coop  lost the chance to be De Niro’s son. “You’re not going to get the role. But I see something.”  This was De Niro  going out of his way to meet and comiserate with Cooper. “And [he] gave me a hug. And I left… That kept me going, like, forever.”Three years later, this time with him, in the lead role of The Silver Linings Playbook, De Niro played Cooper’s father! Thery also made three other films: Limitless, American Hustle and Joy.
  4. Ryan Reynolds, Green Lantern, 2010.     Directors changed (Kevin Smith, Zack Snyder, Quentin Tarantino and even the producer Greg Berlanti) as often as the superhero hero – Jack Black, Nathan Fillion, Brian Austin Green, Emile Hirsch, Jared Leto, Eddie Murphy, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake, Sam Worthington. And two Brits: Henry Cavill, Michael Fassbender. Once 007’s Martin Campbell took over, he wanted Cooper and was greatly miffed when the suits signed Reynolds behind his back. The two guys never got on and the film flopped as the 2009 Hangover star joined the next wannabe golden franchise, The A Team. That flopped, too.
  5. Tom Hardy, This Means War, 2011.      Two  CIA Buddies fall for the same girl.  (Reese Witherspoon ?!!). Mayhem ensues.  Not!  Cooper was  in until his diary ruled him out. Or he read the script again. As Chicago critic Roger Ebert put it:  If there’s anything worse than a stupid action comedy, it’s an incompetent stupid action comedy. 
  6. Liam Neeson, The Grey, 2011.       After  a guest cameo in The Hangover Part I, this was the second time Cooper suggested his buddy from The A Team, 2009,  for a movie – this time  for Cooper’s role!  Even though  the big Irishman was 23 years older.
  7. Sam Worthington, The Texas Killing Fields, 2011.   In the mix – then not… Watching John Hurt as The Elephant Man, 1979,  is what turned  Cooper on to acting.  By 2014-2015, he was playing the role, himself, on Broadway and in London’s West End.
  8. Joel Edgerton, The Great Gatsby, 2011.  Australian director Baz Luhrmann asked actor Ben  Affleck to be Tom Buchanan opposite the great Leonardo DiCaprio but director Affleck was recreating the 1979 Iran hostage crisis in Argo. Edgerton, who narrowly lost out on being “the new Jason Bourne,” was then chosen. And proved the weakest link of the fourth Gatsbymovie since 1926. Either of the other candidates – Bradley Cooper and Luke Evans – would have been superior.
  9. Zac Efron, The Paperboy, 2011.     First Cooper, then Tobey Maguire had to walk from  being (really) urinated upon by Nicole Kidman when stung by jelly fish in 1969 Florida.  “I just don’t find urination shocking,” said  Kidman. “I think I peed in the beginning of Eyes Wide Shut, too.  I felt shy singing in Moulin Rouge! But peeing – no, not shy.”
  10. Armie Hammer, J Edgar, 2011.   Cooper auditioned as J Edgar Hoover’s er assistant Clyde Tolson for a director named Clint Eastwood – and won his titular American Sniper three years later. Eastwood then passed his old Star Is Born project to Coopser to direct and star in for 2018. The 6’5” Hammer, who was the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network, 2010, continued to show promise didn’t break-out until the rapturous Call Me By Your Name in 2016.

  11. Owen Wilson, You Are Here, 2012.     Cooper and Jennifer Aniston were suddenly morphed into Melissa Rauch and Owen Wilson. Not the same charm at all.
  12. Javier Bardem,  The Counselor, 2012.      Ridley Scott looked at Cooper and Jeremy Renner before voting Bardem – and his wife, Penelope Cruz, as well, although, for the first time in a film  together, they never shared a scene. 
  13. Chris Pine, This Means War, 2012.   Cooper, Colin Farrell, Sam Worthington were also up for the CIAgent at war with his junior partner (James Franco, Chris Rock, Seth Rogen or Justin Timberlake) – over Reese Witherspoon?! Way back at the turn of the century, it was to be a black two-hander for Martin Lawrence and Chris Rock. Cooper said he had schedule problems. Hah! He’d read the script – “whose sensible parts,” suggested New York Times critic Louis Lumenick “would fit on a napkin with enough room left over for the Gettysburg Address.” Chicago’s Roger Ebert added: “So bad it’s nothing else but bad.”
  14. Peter Sarsgaard,  Blue Jasmine, 2012.     After four years, Woody Allen’s back in the USA!  Even if it is (mainly) the West Coast…  Cooper was up for a role.  That was the problem. He was up for many others.  Schedules  never meshed, so Peter joined Cate Blanchett in what she  called “a part to swing a cat in.”
  15. Ewan McGregor, Jane Got A Gun, 2013.     Producer and star Natalie Portman got her gun but kept losing  her villain in what seemed a cursed Western.  Michael Fassbender, Jude Law, Bradley Cooper all quit for one reason or another. Cooper’s American Hustle had been delayed by the aftermath of the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.  And he was already committed to global-promo for The Hangover 3 and filming with Cameron Crowe, Steven Knight and Steven Spielberg.
  16. Henry Cavill, The Man From  UNCLE,  2013.    After securing  the 60s’ TV series rights in 1993,  producer John Davis went through 20 years, 14 scripts,  four directors (letting slip Soderbergh and Tarantino!), plus 19 Napoleon Solos. From George Clooney in 2010 to Tom Cruise three years later. By way of the early-21st century suspects: Cooper, Cavill, Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joel Edgerton, Michael Fassbender, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Gosling, Jon Hamm, Joel Kinnaman, Ewan McGregor, Robert Pattinson, Chris Pine, Ryan Reynolds, Alexander Skarsgård (he switched to Tarzan), Channing Tatum. Even Russell Crowe, surely a better bet at 50 for old Waverly, the UNCLE boss.  Poor Davis never got it right!
  17. Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart, TV, 2013.     Barbra Streisand spent ten “earnest and passionate” years trying to direct a screen version of the Larry Kramer’s 1985 play. He complained he’d be dead before she managed it – nothing, of course, to do with him insisting on $1m for his script which must be used without changes.  He next accused Streisand of making Emma the most important role,  when she only offered to play her, as well as helming, to help raise a budget. Kramer couldn’t give it away over the next decade,  until TV hot-shot Ryan Glee Murphy talked  HBO into a deal.
  18. Luke Bracey, The November Man, 2013.   Good move from the David Mason novel (There Are No Spies) had Pierce Brosnan’s ex-CIAgent tracked by one of his pupils – Bracey, succeeding a far too busy Cooper. As co-producer, Brosnan brought with him, his 007 stuntichian Mark Mottram, and Daniel Craig’s Bond Girl from Quantum of Solace, Olga Kurylenko.
  19. Sam Riley, Pride, Prejudice and Zombies, 2014.   David O Russell had planned Cooper and Scarlett Johansson as Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet – battling circa 1813 brain-eaters. What? Oh, you didn’t know about 19th Century zombies? Nor did Jane Austen! Directors and schedules kept changing – losing Natalie Portman as the star but becoming one of seven producrs.
  20. Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs, 2015.       Christian Bale was in,  then out (like Sony Pictures!).  Other  potential Jobses  included Cooper, Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio.  Christian baled for The Accountant andLeo took over another Bale reject, The Revenant… before“a lengthy break from acting.”

  21. Ben Foster, The Program, 2015.    Not so much for the same film as the same villain and disgrace.  Lance Armstrong. Who suicided his name, fame, reputation when finally  admittin  (to Oprah Winfrey on TV) that he had won his sevenconsecutive Tour de France victories by doping.  Dustin Hoffman nearly made a Tour film in the 80s. Not enough drama (!) said Hollywood.  There sure was now… Paramount and Warner  were warming up Armstrong movies – both offered to Cooper. But in the UK, good old Working Title and director Stephen Frears sped off first. 
  22. Ezra Miller, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, 2015.      
  23. Ezra Miller, The Flash, 2019.   Released in 2023…  After their Gotham triumph, the Batman boys, Jon Peters and Peter Guber, planned the first Flash movie as long ago as 1991.  Much later, Ryan Reynolds was up for what would have been the first of his three superheroes (counting Captain Excellent in Paperman). Next?  Chris Pine in 2016. They never happened. But 28 years later, Bradley Cooper, True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten, Scott Porter and Daniel Radcliffe, were in the mix.  Plus the Lost star Matthew Fox…  back in ’91 the choice was another Fox – Michael J   Furthermore, the actual writer-creator (with artist Harry Lampart) of the three scarlet speedsters was yet another Fox – Gardner Fox, 1911-1986. (What? Oh no, the fourth Flash, Barry’s grandson, Bart, didn’t arrive until 2006).  





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