See Another Video of Young Bradley Cooper Asking Thoughtful Questions on ‘Inside the Actors Studio’

To most of the world, Bradey Cooper: Serious Actor is a rather new concept. But to Cooper himself, I am assuming that has been his intention all along. And by now, we’ve all seen images from a less-polished but adorable young student Coop asking Robert De Niro a very acterly queston on Inside the Actors Studio

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Bradley: How you doing Mr De Niro, my name is Bradley Cooper and my question is regarding Awakenings. You talked about your research and how you, you interviewed a lot of patients and people who had the different diseases. There was one mannerism you had during the interview process when they were asking you when you wanted to go outside the building and go for a walk and you went like this with your finger and you sort of made up for it by rubbing your eyebrow and I was wondering, is that something that you saw people do, trying to make up for their ticks or was that something that happened in the moment?
Robert De Niro: That’s a good question.

I had seen that clip in my past obsessive James Lipton phase, so after seeing Silver Linings Playbook for the first time, my immediate reaction was immensive pride for Bradley Cooper—which is a weird feeling to be consumed by. Anyway, as the Oscars are this Sunday, it’s interesting to see Hollywood come full circle as Cooper and De Niro are nominated alongside one another for Silver Linings like the good father-son duo they are. It was De Niro afterall who championed Cooper for the role.

But that wasn’t his only time on the show. In another episode—new to me—we see a long-haired and tie-clad inquisitive Cooper propose a question to Sean Penn and then watch him very intently as he answers. All y’all acting students out there…take notes?

‘Gangster Squad’ Is the Most January Movie Ever

Any seasoned cinephile is familiar with the January Movie: something genre-driven, with a kind of gray or bluish tint, that wouldn’t even register were it not released in the dead of winter, when we’ve already seen everything good but still don’t want to sit around the living room making conversation. Gangster Squad, I am pleased to report, takes this underwhelming formula to new heights lows middles.

First up, of course, you’ve got A-list talent wandering around doing laughable noir voices—Josh Brolin is a notch below Michael Shannon’s Boardwalk Empire growl, and Ryan Gosling landed near Al Pacino’s high-pitched Godfather. The ultraviolence is a Dashiell Hammett novel rendered as Itchy & Scratchy cartoon. Oh, and never have so many dudes fired WWII-era machine guns at people five feet away and missed entirely.

It’s Sean Penn who should be really pissed, though: easily the most impotent bad-guy super-mobster in half a century. The Terminator-like good guys (seriously, one of them is Robert Patrick, who played the T-1000) basically destroy his empire throughout the movie as he rages helplessly in a mansion and never comes close to exacting any adequate revenge. Plus, terrible makeup. And it looks like they ran out of money in the final fight scene, so it’s just a bunch of dark, grainy footage that Michael Mann may have cut from Public Enemies? All it was missing, really, was a labored nod to Chinatown. Just kidding! That’s in there, too. 

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‘Gangster Squad’ Cast Gets a Noir Makeover

2012 has been an interesting year for cinema—both for Hollywood and independent film. We’ve fallen in love with indie wonders and foreign hits like Beasts of the Southern Wild, Sound of My Voice, and Holy Motors, while still getting swept up in Silver Linings Playbook, The Master, and Argo. But as it’s only the second week in December, there’s still Django Unchained, Amour, and Les Miz (set to be released in the coming weeks) to keep us rolling into theaters. But between January’s Sundance Film Festival and the slew of films to be released in the late winter months, we’re looking to the New Year with savory anticipation. And one of the films that seems as if we’ve been waiting forever for to see is Ruben Fleischer’s nod to old Hollywood, Gangster Squad.

After a few set backs along the way—with necessary reshoots, a reworked finale, and marketing change—the film will finally burst into theatres on January 11 and we’re excited to see what the cast of leading men and Emma Stone (in a role that looks to be a more siren-esque than we’ve seen her before) will deliver for us. The 1949-set gangster film stars Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Michael Peña, Giovanni Ribisi, and Anthony Mackie in a flashy shoot-em-up crowd-pleaser that tells the story of LAPD officers fighting to keep the East Coast mafia off their golden streets.

As an added promotional bonus for the film, photographer Estevan Oriol rounded up the cast for a series of minimalistically stylish and slick black and white portraits that harken back to the leading men of classic noir. But looking at these great photos, you can’t help but wonder—what if Fleischer had chosen to shoot the film with this aesthetic? What if the film was filled with some Gordon Willis-esque shadowplay and say, Cliff Martinez and Max Richter covering the music for the film? What if he took the pacing down a notch, with less explosions and thrills and more smokey simmering? Damn, that would have been good. But maybe this will be too! I have only seen the trailers afterall. Either way, check out the photos from the shoot and two additional featurettes

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A Brief Birthday Celebration of Things David Byrne Has Done (Beyond Talking Heads)

Talking Head and musical pioneer David Byrne turns 60 today. Sixty years is a long time, but it’s safe to say with a resumé as long, extensive and eclectic as his, he’s made pretty fantastic use of it. There’s the funky, new wave explosion of the Talking Heads, propelled by Byrne’s lyrics and unmistakable voice—the band’s been cited as an influence by countless artists and even begat a certain British musical darling courtesy of the song "Radio Head." But the Heads disbanded in 1991 (save for a 2002 reunion), and in that time, Byrne has stayed busy. In honor of his big six-oh, we give you a brief celebratory rundown of some of his more recent enterprises. 

In the twilight years of the Talking Heads, Byrne founded Luaka Bop, one of the world’s most recognizable and respected "world music" labels, which began as a vehicle for releasing a few compilations of Brazilian music. As the label grew, releases included works by some of the most well-traveled artists from all over the globe, including Brazilian Tropicália pioneer Tom Zé, Congolese-Belgian vocal group Zap Mama and tamboura-dropping Britpoppers Cornershop (Remember "Brimful of Asha?" Of course you do.). He produced the killer track below from Jorge Ben: 

Byrne has done a veritable crap-ton of composing for film and television, including works for Season 2 of Big Love. But it was his score with Ryuchi Sakamoto for the Bertolucci flick The Last Emperor that netted an Oscar, and was awesome.  

Ever look at a bike rack and think, “Man, I wish that looked more like a guitar or a dollar sign or the silhouette of a woman?” David Byrne made your dreams come true. Byrne, a bike enthusiast, created a series of whimsical racks (on racks on racks) that appeared around New York, and published his book on cycling, Bicycle Diaries, the following year. He’s also extended his efforts into visual arts with the likes of Arboretum.

In 2010, Byrne released Here Lies Love in collaboration with earworm-master Fatboy Slim. The funky, star-studded concept album tells the story of Imelda Marcos, the former First Lady of the Philippines. Last month, it was announced that the Public Theater in New York City would be producing a musical based on the album. Here’s one of its catchier tracks, “American Troglodyte.”

Not only did the 2011 film This Must Be the Place, which stars Sean Penn as an aging, Nazi-hunting rock star, get its title from one of Byrne’s most memorable songs, but he also scored the film and appeared. In this scene, a rather precocious kid covers the titular tune.

And, just because it’s still pretty awesome, a bit of Stop Making Sense:

‘Gangster Squad’: Old-Timey Cops Growl and Love Jay-Z

There’s been a fun little trend in movies in the last few years in which period films are all ramped-up and kick-ass. Remember A Knight’s Tale, the Heath Ledger-fronted middle ages comedy featuring a dance-off to David Bowie? Or Baz Luhrmann’s whole aesthetic? Well, now we can extend the same idea to La-La Land of the Golden Age of Hollywood, as the trailer for Gangster Squad, this fall’s ensemble drama about the LAPD’s war on organized crime, is set to Jay-Z. Sure, why not?

Gangster Squad, which I’m going to call Growlin’ Squad, features hard-broiled dudes like Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, and Nick Nolte teaming up with pretty boy Ryan Gosling (we know how I feel about him) to tell the story of the LAPD’s attempt to rid the city of East Coast Mafia-types in the ’40s and ’50s. If the trailer above is any indication of how things worked back then, these cops, who apparently shot everyone in a movie theater (an perfectly executed cinematic image that I am guessing takes a bit of liberty with historical accuracy), put the crooked policemen in L.A. Confidential to shame. Like Curtis Hanson’s movie (which celebrates its fifteenth anniversary this year), Gangster Squad features Mickey Cohen, although more prominently. We’ll have to wait for the actual film to see if there are any high-class Hollywood hookers, and I’m assuming that Danny DeVito won’t be getting waterboarded by Josh Brolin. Bummer!

I just hope Cohen isn’t the only big-name gangster in this movie, because I’m picturing this group of rag-tag L.A. cops as an older version of Monster Squad. Mickey Cohen’s got nards?

Morning Links: ‘The Artist’ Wins Big at the Golden Globes, Sean Penn Named Ambassador to Haiti

The Artist was last night’s big Golden Globe winner, taking home three awards, including one for best comedy. Otherwise, Ricky Gervais’s jokes were far more forgiving than last year’s, and Ryan Gosling wasn’t there. Why did we even bother? [NYT]

● Congratulations to Kelsey Grammer and his young wife, who are expecting twins. "I’m really looking forward to meeting these new arrivals," said Grammer of the situation, backstage at last night’s Golden Globes. [People]

● Good-doing Sean Penn beat out Kim Kardashian and Wyclef Jean for the ambassadorship at large to Haiti. [Page Six]

● Just one week old, and Ivy Blue Carter already has a namesake strain of marijuana. [TMZ]

● "I haven’t seen myself naked in the mirror for probably a decade," says Carey Mulligan, who most recently starred in Shame, a movie about sex addiction. "I’m very prudish."  [Gaurdian]

● Mark Wahlberg is "considering" a jailhouse visit to Whitey Bulger, where he thinks he might be able to get the real scoop on the reputed mob boss. "He knows, you know, we can do it better than anybody else," he says. [Huff Post]

Morning Links: Beyoncé Debuts Video For ‘Love On Top’, Sean Penn Calls the Tea Party Racist

● There have already been videos for “Run the World (Girls),” “1+1,” and “Countdown,” and now the New Edition-inspired “Love On Top” makes four from Four. [Beyoncé/YouTube] ● Sean Penn suspects that the Tea Party — or the “Get the N-Word Out of the White House Party,” as he thinks they might be more aptly called — has just one, very racist thought: “At the end of the day, there’s a big bubble coming out of their heads, saying, ‘Can we just lynch him?'” he told Piers Morgan. [THR] ● Lindsay Lohan faces another year and a half in the slammer if she is found guilty on Wednesday of violating her probation by skipping community service dates and therapy appointments. [TMZ]

● Meet Mary Kate and Ashley’s rising younger sister, Elizabeth, who has been careful to make sure her debut is as an adult actor rather than a child star. [NYT] ● “Alan,” a dead man whose body will be mummified “like an Egyptian pharaoh” on Britain’s Channel 4, just might be reality television’s first post-life star. [DailyMail] ● Coldplay named their upcoming album Mylo Xyloto because they wanted something “Un-Googleable” for their fifth album, and also because, as Chris Martin says, “Mylo” is “just a great name…for anything.” [NYT]

Sean Penn Didn’t Get ‘Tree of Life,’ Either

If you had a tough go at trying to figure out what role CGI dinos and undulating nebulae played in a story about a 1950s family coming apart, you’re not alone. Sean Penn, one of the stars of Terrence Malick’s blockbuster-for-smart-people Tree of Life now admits he had some issues with the finished product.

Penn spilled the beans in French publication Le Figaro:

I didn’t at all find on the screen the emotion of the script, which is the most magnificent one that I’ve ever read. A clearer and more conventional narrative would have helped the film without, in my opinion, lessening its beauty and its impact. Frankly, I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing there and what I was supposed to add in that context! What’s more, Terry himself never managed to explain it to me clearly.

So. some people watch Tree of Life and scratch their heads, others simply burst into tears.

May’s Key Events: Met Ball, Beastie Boys, Cannes Film Festival

May 1: The Met Ball celebrates the launch of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Watch your step, Paz! May 3: Scary Spice: Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, Beastie Boys’ first album in four years, is released today. May 4: Kylie Minogue plays Hammerstein Ballroom, which is probably the size of her dressing room in England.

May 6: Let the Natalie Portman authenticity debate continue! Thor, starring Chris Hemsworth and the Oscar-winning body-double enthusiast, comes out today. May 10: Rob Lowe releases his memoir, Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography, a book that, unless you’re Rob Lowe’s friend, is totally blank. May 11: Yes we Cannes! American directors invade the Riviera as Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, Gus van Sant’s Restless, and Jodie Foster’s The Beaver screen at the prestigious film festival. May 12: Sleigh Bells play the Music Hall of Williamsburg to a crowd of people who discovered them first. May 20: Serious actor Johnny Depp continues his adventures in moneymaking with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. May 23: Lady Gaga releases Born This Way, the first and only concept album about a cesarean section. May 25: No! More! Ooooooprraahhhhh! Harpo Studios says goodbye to screaming moms and toaster ovens when Oprah Winfrey airs her final show. May 26: The Hangover II, in which the guys go berserk in Thailand, hits theaters. Haven’t they ever heard of Gatorade? May 27: CGI dinosaurs meet real-life dinosaurs in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn.