Bradley Cooper gives us the plus side of taking experimental (and possibly fatal) brain drugs

Illustration for article titled Bradley Cooper gives us the plus side of taking experimental (and possibly fatal) brain drugs

You may remember Bradley Cooper from such rugged roles as Will Tippin from Alias and Face from The A-Team. In Friday's pharmaceutical thriller Limitless, he plays a luckless everyman who develops hyper-intelligence thanks to an illicit brain drug.


In Limitless, Cooper plays author Eddie Morra, who takes a black market, non-FDA approved cognition enhancer known as NZT-48 to overcome his writer's block. The drug gives Eddie perfect recall and enhanced cognitive function, and he uses it to play the financial markets.

We had the opportunity to speak with Cooper about playing Eddie. I first asked Cooper if Limitless was a commentary on the abuse of real-life cognition-enhancing drugs (like Adderall) — he responded that "the narrative was more about what if someone could reach their full potential and what that would look like."


When I asked him if he would take NZT if it existed in real life, he answered yes (despite its deleterious withdrawal effects, which include memory loss, psychosis, and death). He wouldn't sure what he'd accomplish on NZT, as "the drug inspires you in ways and opens up possibilities you never knew existed."

Of course, taking NZT bring Eddie into contact with some sinister characters. In one sequence, Eddie uses his total recall to reenact fighting maneuvers from martial arts films he had seen as a child. Cooper said these scenes weren't particularly arduous. "We filmed those scenes quickly, I had gone through fight training in The A-Team," he noted.

In another dark NZT-fueled moment, Eddie drinks a lot of blood — without going into the spoilery specifics, Cooper noted, "That was the scene that sold me on the script." Another highlight Cooper mentioned was working with Robert De Niro (of course) who plays the financial mogul Carl Van Loon.

Given the science fiction trappings of Limitless, I wondered if Cooper had any other scifi stories that he was a fan of. He cited Dan Simmons' Hyperion series as one of his favorites and further dismissed rumors that he was in line to play DC Comics' The Flash. He claimed he hadn't heard about that casting hubbub but "would be open to a superhero film if the possibility presented itself."


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Any movie, TV show, book, etc. which has "humans only use 10% of their brain / this lets you use your whole brain" as a premise immediately makes my hackles rise.