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It is fitting that Bradley Cooper plays a writer in his new film "The Words."
To be more specific, he plays a frustrated writer, a man whose attempts to break into the world of publishing are met with indifference until he stumbles across a long-lost manuscript, known to nobody, and decides to claim it as his own. He ends up winning acclaim for the piece and falling into a life that he doesn't earn, even as the real author of the piece stumbles across his own words, finally in print after having disappeared for almost a half-century.
It's a really nice performance by Cooper, but these days, he's not pretending to be a writer. He's doing it. He's working on adapting the Dan Simmons novel "Hyperion" into a film, something that's been frustrating filmmakers for a while now.
When I sat down with Cooper and Brian Klugman, one of the writer/directors of the movie, I didn't intend to bring up the project, but it seemed like a natural progression in the conversation, and I was curious to see what he had to say about the state of the script right now.
I find it sort of disarming that he deflected the question mainly by claiming that he's not a writer. As far as I'm concerned, if you write, you're a writer, and Cooper's got a hell of a challenge ahead. If you haven't read "Hyperion," it's hard to explain in a short succinct sound bite. It's heady science-fiction about travelers to another planet who all have secrets, stories that explain why they're on this particular pilgrimage to this particular place, and the way the stories are teased out and explained is both intellectually satisfying and emotionally devastating. Dan Simmons is one of those guys who might just defy adaptation to film simply because of how dense and rich his fiction is. I can't imagine a film version of "The Terror" that would work, and even with Guillermo Del Toro interested, I have to think "Drood" is going to remain a lovely "what if?" at best.
For now, check out what Cooper had to say about the project, and we'll have more of that interview a little later this week.
"The Words" opens in theaters this Friday.