Image: Getty

The question you should be asking of the upcoming film A Star Is Born is not “Can Lady Gaga act?” (because I already think she can) but rather “Can Bradley Cooper direct?”

Newsflash: Bradley Cooper is no longer just an actor known for giving—aside from maybe Silver Linings Playbook—totally average performances as the resident “hot asshole” in a wide variety of comedies. Bradley Cooper is now an auteur. A very serious director who’s been a tad pretentious during the press tour for A Star Is Born. Here’s what I’ve learned about him in the past few weeks while he’s promoted this movie. Please imagine him delivering all these quotes while wearing a beret and a Criterion Collection shirt.

He’s above in-depth interviews, even for the New York Times.

People want to know, I tell him. People want a deeper sense of where the movie came from. He wanted to show a piece of himself in the movie. This is an extension of that, I told him.

“It’s different,” he said. “This is because you’re creating content.”

“But it’s your story,” I told him.

“But you’re doing it,” he said.

“I’m going to write your story,” I said.

“I won’t have any control, and it really isn’t a collaboration.”

Sure it is. That’s why I’m asking questions.

“You have all the say,” he said. “It’s not like you’re going to show it to me and say, ‘Let’s work on this section.’ You know what I mean?”

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And when he is interviewed, he wants it to be very serious. British TV personality Alison Hammond, who I remember fondly as giving a hilarious interview last year with Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, tried to lighten the mood in a recent on-camera chat but failed to charm Cooper. She sang a funny song while he stared at her, stone-faced.

Cooper has always known that he’s had six, surprisingly specific characters in him, he told W Magazine.

“I always thought I had six characters in me, and I’ve already played a few of them,” he said. “I’ve been a soldier [American Sniper], a musician [A Star Is Born], a chef [Burnt], and a disfigured person [The Elephant Man]. I still want to play a conductor. And then who knows?”

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Why conductor? I don’t know. God, he’s such a mystery!

He isn’t into photos either, he told the magazine. He wants to speak only in his art.

Cooper has always resisted photo sessions. He is clearly more comfortable being seen in the context of his work...

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He freakin’ loves “the cinema.”

“I’ve always thought in those cinematic terms, just because I loved film so much growing up,” Cooper says. “Cinema was the place where I felt I could excavate and find those personal things inside of me that I wanted to share with people, because movies for me were very healing — and are healing, to this day.”

Don’t you dare use the word movie, you peasant.

He is under the assumption that as a three-time Academy Award nominee, he is an underdog.

“I’ve always been an underdog,” he said. “I was always operating under the lens of not really being seen as the ‘main guy.’

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He might have been named People’s “Sexist Man Alive” in 2011, but Cooper wants to remind you that Hollywood doesn’t agree. He told Vanity Fair:

He is obviously good-looking, but at a certain point in his career he was told after an audition that those casting the role had found him “not fuckable” (only in Hollywood . . .).

Even so, he still has a lot of famous friends he wants to impress. Lots of musicians. Because, ya know, he’s basically a rock star now given his method acting. He tells The Washington Post:

Regardless of his modesty, Cooper is the kind of person with enough clout to randomly call people up and offer them a role in a big studio picture. He is also the kind of person who nonchalantly rattles off the names of famous musicians whom he knows personally, and who inspired Jackson as a character: Bono, Lenny Kravitz, Lars Ulrich, Eddie Vedder and even Noel Gallagher, who Cooper hopes will watch his performance in the movie and “not, like, laugh at me.”

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As a director, Cooper was told not to pursue this project, but he stuck to his guns. Specifically, according to Yahoo! Entertainment, he stuck to his guns even after Eddie Vedder told him to quit it.

“I went up to Seattle and spent four or five days with him and I asked him 9,000 questions,” Cooper revealed. “And he gave me minor, little things that only musicians know about what to do, just aesthetically and the inner workings.”

Vedder’s initial reaction to hearing The Hangover star would croon onscreen wasn’t as encouraging, though. “He thought it was crazy I was going to do this movie,” Cooper laughed. “He was like, ‘What? Bro, don’t do that.’

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You know, bro, I’m glad he did do it.

He casually cast his IRL dog, grad school pal, and ear doctor in A Star Is Born, he told People.

“There was no nepotism — I wanted this relationship with the dog. [Jackson and Ally] don’t have a child together but they have a dog together, and I wanted it to be part of their story. I love dogs.”

“The character of Tommy is played by ‘Gabe Fazio, who I went to grad school with,” Cooper said. ‘Derek Jones. My ear doctor is the doctor in the movie, Dr. Slattery … so why not Charlie?’

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The Safdie brothers better watch their BACK.

I also have to remind you that he did this to Lady Gaga.

She walked downstairs and there he was, staring at her. He stepped toward her, examined her face: concealer, mascara, rouge.

“Take it off,” Bradley Cooper told Lady Gaga.

She noticed something in his hand. It was a makeup wipe. With it, he erased the colors from her forehead down to her chin.

This is the woman Cooper wanted in his film, “A Star Is Born.” Not the pop star masked with face paint and headdresses and hairpieces. Just Stefani Germanotta. “Completely open,” he said. “No artifice.”

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Inspiring.

And also this, according to the New York Times Magazine.

Earlier in the afternoon, she showed me a room that was empty save for a gigantic photograph of her own face, at least 15 feet across, in a gilded frame. “It was a gift from Bradley,” she said. “It’s the last frame of the movie. Do you know the scene?”

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Creepy.