Bradley Cooper Revealed That He Almost Quit Acting Before "Licorice Pizza"

·2 min read

Bradley Cooper's got a few movies in theaters right now — and he really knocks it out of the park portraying larger-than-life film producer Jon Peters in Paul Thomas Anderson's latest, Licorice Pizza.

Cooper smashes the windows of two cars and he kneels in between them
MGM / courtesy Everett Collection

Even though he's in the film for just a few minutes, Cooper's performance is one of its most memorable aspects — proof of his undeniable talent as an actor. Which is why it's surprising that he recently almost gave up acting entirely.

Cooper puts his hand on Cooper Hoffman's shoulders in a scene from the film
MGM / courtesy Everett Collection

In a conversation with Mahershala Ali for Variety's "Actors on Actors" series, Cooper admitted that he almost hung it up entirely before PTA offered him the role in Licorice Pizza.

Cooper walks down the street with his hand in his pocket
Raymond Hall / Getty Images

"The reason that I didn't give up acting is Paul Thomas Anderson," he said. "When he called me to maybe be in his movie, Mahershala, I mean really, I think I'd open up a door in his movie. I'd do anything."

Cooper poses for a photo at a step-and-repeat for his film Nightmare Alley
Dia Dipasupil / WireImage / Getty Images

Cooper explained that he was able to shoot Licorice Pizza during a break on filming Guillermo del Toro's latest, Nightmare Alley. "I was able to grow a beard, and Searchlight was praying that I didn't get COVID, because we had to go back and continue Nightmare Alley. But I was like, 'There's no way I'm not doing it.'"

Cooper walks down the street
Raymond Hall / GC Images / Getty Images

Cooper shot his role in Licorice Pizza at the beginning of the film's shoot, but he stuck around set for three weeks, taking notes from Anderson and soaking it all in.

Cooper walks down the street with his hands in his pockets
Raymond Hall / GC Images / Getty Images

"I watched all the camera tests," Cooper said of following PTA's lead on set. "[He] was teaching me all about lenses, things I never knew. He's incredible."

Cooper holds his stuff while waiting outside
Mega / GC Images / Getty Images

And Cooper will have a chance to showcase that newfound knowledge soon: He begins work on his next directorial effort, Maestro, a biopic on late composer Leonard Bernstein, later this year.

Cooper crosses his arms while smiling
Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Watch the entire interview here.

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