Bradley Cooper nearly quit acting before he was offered a role in Licorice Pizza

Bradley Cooper in Licorice Pizza
(Image credit: Universal)

Bradley Cooper has revealed that director Paul Thomas Anderson is the reason he didn't quit acting.

Cooper plays real-life producer Jon Peters in Anderson's latest movie Licorice Pizza, an erratic character who's dating Barabara Streisand and buys a waterbed from child actor turned adolescent entrepreneur Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman).  

"The reason that I didn’t give up acting is Paul Thomas Anderson," Cooper told Mahershala Ali as part of Variety's Actors on Actors series. "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. We broke from 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.' 

"That was the first movie back from COVID. And Jon Peters was the beginning of the movie, so I started with everybody else, which was wonderful, rather than coming in when everybody’s already downriver. I spent three and a half weeks with Paul. I watched all the camera tests. He was teaching me all about lenses, things I never knew. He’s incredible."

The '70s-set coming of age flick also stars Alana Haim, Benny Safdie, Sean Penn, and Tom Waits. Hoffman's character is loosely based on movie producer Gary Goetzman, who started his career as a child actor and produced a range of movies from The Silence of the Lambs to Mamma Mia!.

Cooper also recently starred in Nightmare Alley, a psychological thriller from Guillermo del Toro. He plays carnival worker Stan Carlisle opposite Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, and Willem Dafoe.

If you've already seen Licorice Pizza, fill out your watch list with our picks of the other best movies of 2021.

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.