IT MUST REALLY BE LOVE
The rom-com formula gets a smart twist with Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone sparking some very funny chemistry in a new film
Ask Emma Stone ( The Help, Crazy Stupid Love) and Bradley Cooper ( The Hangover, American where they first discovered each other’s work and there’s little chance of getting a straight answer.
“I remember when I saw her in Winter’s Bone I thought: ‘There’s something very special about her’,” says Cooper.
(Jennifer Lawrence starred in Winter’s Bone.)
“I absolutely loved him in Shame. Obviously he’s naked a lot, but I thought: ‘This guy’s gonna go places’,” says Stone.
(Michael Fassbender starred in Shame.)
Where Stone and Cooper met for the first time is a little easier to pin down. It was on the set of 2008 comedy The Rocker, in which The Office’s Rainn Wilson starred as a daggy old metal drummer making a comeback.
“We met then,” Cooper confirms, “but we never had any scenes together.” That all changed with Aloha, the new romantic comedy (with a few curveballs) from Singles/Jerry Maguire/Almost Famous writer-director Cameron Crowe.
But, of course, the pair turned up on set each expecting another so-hotright-now actor.
“Which was really disappointing,” says Stone. “Major let down.”
“I tried to get out of the movie at that point,” adds Cooper, “but my contract, I’d already signed it.”
“I’m still to this day dying to work with Michael Fassbender,” Stone giggles.
The non-stop jokes between Stone, 26, and Cooper, 40, at least bode well for their comic chemistry in Aloha.
Cooper plays Brian Gilcrest, a soldier turned military contractor brought in to act as a go-between when the armed forces, NASA and a private tech entrepreneur (Bill Murray) need an indigenous Hawaiian community to give up their land for a satellite launch. If it’s not sounding like a rom-com yet, well, there are those Cameron Crowe curveballs.
“Cameron wanted to create a movie reinvigorating the romantic comedy,” Cooper says, “with this slightly heightened world and characters, yet grounded in real serious issues.”
Stone is Allison Ng, a rising star in the US Air Force (a “fastburner F-22 pilot”, as she’s called in the film) assigned to babysit Gilcrest.
Ng is uptight and by the book; Gilcrest is jaded and smarting after screwing up and getting injured in Afghanistan. Yet, scratch the surface ...
“They’re complex,” says Stone. “Ng is such a straightshooter and so professional for a long time. But being around Brian, she feels this effervescence that she hasn’t really felt before. So she has a beer and, like she says, she’s ‘dancing with the devil’.”
As for Gilcrest, Ng “definitely opens him up”, Cooper says. “He goes there and finds this fastburner and it rejuvenates him.”
Ahh, if only love were that easy ... Hawaii also happens to be Brian’s old stomping ground, full of memories and one big complication in particular: Tracy (Rachel McAdams), the girl he let get away.
Crowe says Aloha is about “the lure of the past and the promise of the future”. The director had been developing the project with older actors in mind until he met Stone and, with her input, took it a different way. “I had been a fan of Cameron’s for so long and I wanted to work with him really badly, so we were talking about the script and working on these ideas for close to a year before Bradley signed on,” Stone explains.
One of the best moments in Aloha is a confrontation between Tracy’s husband (played by John Krasinski) and Gilcrest.
Tracy complains her husband doesn’t talk; Gilcrest reckons a man can say a lot without words. So the two men sort out their differences with nothing but facial expressions and pats on the back.
Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone in a scene from Columbia Pictures'