“I’ve never been allowed into that group”: Bradley Cooper Battled Insecurities and Ego After Replacing Leonardo DiCaprio in Guillermo del Toro’s Movie

Bradley Cooper had to deal with his deep-rooted insecurities to take a part that was originally supposed to go to Leonardo DiCaprio in Guillermo del Toro's movie.

"I've never been allowed into that group": Bradley Cooper Battled Insecurities and Ego After Replacing Leonardo DiCaprio in Guillermo del Toro's Movie

SUMMARY

  • From the success of The Hangover series to his MCU journey as Rocket in The Guardians of the Galaxy, Bradley Cooper has done quite a lot to cement his name in the industry.
  • Yet, despite his immense success, he hadn't quite felt welcomed into "the club."
  • The director, del Toro approached him for a role initially thought out for Leonardo DiCaprio. For Cooper, who had long harbored a desire to be part of "the club," the timing was nothing short of ironic.
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Bradley Cooper’s talents could aptly be summarized with the title of one of his films, Limitless. With over two decades dedicated to Hollywood, he’s undeniably one of its biggest stars. From the success of The Hangover series to his MCU journey as Rocket in The Guardians of the Galaxy, he has done quite a lot to cement his name in the industry.

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Yet, despite his immense success, he hadn’t quite felt welcomed into “the club.” It was his recent departure into more serious roles, including stepping into a role replacing Leonardo DiCaprio, that allowed him to confront the insecurities and emotions he’d accrued over the years.

Bradley Cooper in the film NIGHTMARE ALLEY. Photo by Kerry Hayes. © 2021 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved
Bradley Cooper in the film NIGHTMARE ALLEY. Photo by Kerry Hayes. © 2021 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

Bradley Cooper’s Struggle with His Insecurities

Bradley Cooper, despite his glittering Hollywood success, grappled with an unshakeable self-doubt even in his finest of works. Even after boasting an impressive range of performances, he yearned for something more. Feeling confined by the industry’s tendency to typecast, he found himself at a crossroads. And thus, instead of waiting for doors to open, he took charge, by writing and directing, and created opportunities for himself to do work he is proud of.

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And lo and behold, his gamble paid off handsomely, and in came projects like Maestro and A Star is Born, roles that not only showcased his talent but also spoke to his soul. In a Variety Actor on Actor interview, the actor explained,

“And I wanted to tell a love story, and I wanted there to be singing. A lot of that was because the directors I admired weren’t hiring me and because they have already made a decision in their mind whether you’re right or not for something. So once you pass that audition point, but then you become like, “Oh, I know Mahershala.” Do you know what I mean?”

Willem Dafoe and Bradley Cooper in the film NIGHTMARE ALLEY. Photo by Kerry Hayes. © 2021 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved
Willem Dafoe and Bradley Cooper in the film NIGHTMARE ALLEY. Photo by Kerry Hayes. © 2021 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

When Bradley Cooper decided to write A Star is Born, he was driven by a deep feeling inside him. But what really pushed him was the desire to prove himself as a great actor, to shake off any doubts he had about his talent. And Guillermo del Toro also played a huge role in helping him overcome his insecurities.

How Replacing Leonardo DiCaprio in this Guillermo del Toro Project Boosted Bradley Cooper’s Confidence

In 2021, Bradley Cooper appeared in Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley. Interestingly, the opportunity came as a surprise to him. The director, del Toro approached him for a role initially thought out for Leonardo DiCaprio. For Cooper, who had long harbored a desire to be part of “the club,” the timing was nothing short of ironic.

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After just starting out independently, the recognition felt like a cooling balm to his aspirations. Reflecting on this in the same Variety conversation, he described it as quite flattering. He said,

““Nightmare Alley” was an interesting example of how insecure I am. I was like, “Oh, I guess I still am the guy that wants to be in the group,” because I had no intention of acting in anything other than I’ve been writing. Leonardo DiCaprio fell out, and Guillermo del Toro came to me. I still remember thinking, “Oh wow, the guys that don’t hire me, they want to hire me?” And then it was like, “Of course I have to do it just because I’ve never been allowed into that group.” It was insecurity and ego.”

Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett in Guillermo del Toro's Nightmare Alley
Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett in Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley

And it turned out to be an unforgettable experience for him. As he further explained,

“Thankfully, it wound up being an incredible experience. And that was very interesting to me to play a character, Stanton Carlisle, who has clearly been traumatized as a kid, has no parental foundation, has no foundation for love, intimacy, real connection, and he just is surviving off of a gratification and a desperate need to find out who he is.”

Bradley Cooper’s ongoing struggles with self-doubt haven’t dimmed his talent. Despite the occasional setback from his insecurities, he continues to captivate audiences as an actor. While he’s been venturing into new territories like writing and directing, fans do hope to see more of him on the silver screen.

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Nightmare Alley is available on Apple TV to rent.

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Written by Sampurna Banerjee

Articles Published: 927

Sampurna Banerjee, an ardent enthusiast of pop culture and movies, pours her passion into her role as a writer for FandomWire. With a penchant for Marvel, DC, and sitcoms, she has contributed over 400 articles, staying up-to-date to the entertainment industry's latest buzz. Moreover, she's penned over 300 articles for Animated Times and shared her work across several Instagram pages. Currently she is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Calcutta University.