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

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - LIVE & LOUD PLAY - NEALA JOHN­SON

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.

Pic­ture: NEAL PRE­STON/SONY PIC­TURES EN­TER­TAIN­MENT

Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone in a scene from Columbia Pic­tures'

Aloha.

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