DETAILS: Have you given any thought to being a dad yourself?

Bradley Cooper: Of course I have. I really hope I have that experience in my life. I saw how much joy fatherhood gave my own dad. So I hope it's part of my journey. You go through stages in your life, and fatherhood seems like a natural stage.

DETAILS: It's probably not something you're planning right now, particularly since your mother is living with you at the moment. How's that working out, by the way?

Bradley Cooper: The best way I can answer that is to say we're surviving. Both of us. Let's face it: It's probably not easy for her, by the way, to be living with her son. It's life. And right now, two years after my father's death, this is where we are. My family is very close, and my dad dying was brutal for all of us. It was a schism, and its aftershock has not stopped. And we need each other. So here we are. But don't get me wrong. It's not without complications. It's not like I live in a compound and she's in the guesthouse. No. She's in the next room. But here's the thing: She's a cool chick. We can hang, and she can roll with the punches. If that wasn't the case, there's no way.

DETAILS: Does being nominated for an Oscar change you at all?

Bradley Cooper: Not so much. That whole experience was fun and amazing, but I try not to get too carried away with that stuff. And maybe if you start feeling a little too big for your britches, hop on the Internet and take a look at some message boards for five seconds. It's not something I do often, but if you do, it'll take you right back down. Oh, my God. First of all, let's be honest: It's incredibly narcissistic to do that. And masochistic. You want to feel shitty about yourself? Boom—it's easy. To me, this business is the ultimate humbling experience. You're constantly dealing with rejection. My journey has not been people kissing my ass.

DETAILS: Still, it must have been pretty cool to be up for Best Actor alongside guys like Denzel Washington and Daniel Day-Lewis?

Bradley Cooper: That was surreal. Of course I knew I wasn't going to win. But something pretty funny happens on the actual night. Even though I knew there was no chance I'd win, the millisecond in between when they open the envelope and they say the name, your brain goes, "Wait a minute. It could happen. It's possible. A one-in-five chance, right?" And that's the moment when they have your face on camera. And all of a sudden, you're dealing with the fact that you didn't get something that you knew you weren't going to get in the first place. And that reaction shot—I mean, that camera is right there in your face.

DETAILS: The Oscar nod certainly goes a long way to undoing the perception that you were just the guy from Wedding Crashers and the Hangover movies. Now you're at a place where you can have a searing drama like The Place Beyond the Pines and The Hangover Part III in theaters at the same time. But did you ever worry about being pigeonholed?

Bradley Cooper: I never thought about it until I got nominated and then so many people were like, "What the fuck?" I had no idea how many people didn't think I was really an actor. That surprised me. To me, I look at that guy in The Hangover, and that's a full character that I worked on with the director to fit the story. Just like Sack Lodge in Wedding Crashers. So I'm creating characters that I think are full and rich, and everyone thought I was that guy. People must have thought I was that dude—this cocky asshole of a guy. But that's what people had to go on.

I'm somebody who likes to know everything. Acting and moviemaking are an art form, sure, but it's also my business. This is how I make my living. I want and need to know all the bad shit. So I surround myself with people who are honest with me.

DETAILS: But consider the business you're in. What about the adage that all agents are liars by nature?

Bradley Cooper: I've been working with my agent for a while, and it took some time, but we have a really honest relationship. I don't need to be protected. I need to be told the real. He doesn't have to bullshit me. He can call me after I meet with a director and say, "He hated you. Says you can't act." Or I'll try to get a meeting with a director, and he'll be like, "He's not a fan. He doesn't even want to see you." "Oh, okay." It stings, but it doesn't debilitate me. I also know that people change their opinions. Like I do.

• • •

More on Bradley Cooper:
Bradley Cooper Is High on The Hangover
Bradley Cooper: The All-Star
Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifinakis on Details: A Really Good Publication For When You've Run Out of Cologne

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