Bradley Cooper: Wet Hot American
BY Brandon Voss
May 06 2009 12:00 AM ET
Your character's kind of a prick in The Hangover. His outgoing voice-mail message says, "Don't text me; it's gay," and at one point he summons his pal with the phrase "paging Dr. Faggot." What do you make of the straight community's use of homophobic slurs as insults?
It has a lot to do with the way you're brought up. Luckily, I was brought up right. My grandfather in particular was against us ever using any sort of slur, so that's been ingrained in my head since I was a kid. But I see no problem in playing characters that say "faggot" and stuff like that. I'm just representing a character, and you have to understand him for all of his faults and assets. I don't think there's anything off-limits in terms of storytelling. We actually shot that "paging Dr. Faggot" scene at 8:30 in the morning on a beautiful street populated with a lot of gay couples, so I'm screaming "faggot" and thinking, Oh, my God, what am I doing?
What's the purpose of the homophobic humor prevalent in so many "dude" comedies?
It depends on what movie we're talking about, but what it's usually depicting is the lack of comfort so many males have even talking about homosexuality. But I think the stereotype has been changed to reveal that the guy who calls everybody "faggot" is probably gay or certainly has issues he's not dealing with. If there's something about someone that bothers you, usually it's something that you don't like about yourself.
Feeling exploited as cocky actor Aidan Stone playing a doctor in Nip/Tuck's show-within-a-show Hearts & Scalpels, your character protested, "How come I'm the only one in my goddamn underwear?" Do you feel similar frustration in your own life? Because, not that I'm complaining, you lose your shirt in just about everything, including The Hangover.
Well, that's in my contract. [Laughs] In the Hangover script I was actually supposed to just be in my underwear the whole scene when we wake up in the morning, but I put my shirt on pretty fast. Certainly with Nip/Tuck we wanted to utilize how outrageous that character was. [Series creator-writer] Ryan Murphy and I talked about how Aidan's more than bisexual; he just wants to fuck everything. So I brought a lot of ideas to the table, like, "What if he's stretching and he's got on really tight, crazy underwear?" But I thought that served the character. Otherwise, honestly, we as humans have our shirts off sometimes, so you just happen to catch my characters at those moments.