Bradley Cooper has returned to the scene of the crime: Caesars Palace, where the actor, his castmates and the crew of the new big-screen comedy "The Hangover" lived for more than month.
It's here that they portrayed the destruction of a $4,000-a-night hotel suite and, oh yes, the livers of the film's four lead characters.
"The odd thing is, it's weird that it's not weird," Cooper said Saturday. "In fact, it feels so comfortable being back in Vegas, the slot machines in the airport that used to make me feel awkward and anxiety-stricken, now I feel sort of at home."
Directed by Todd Phillips ("Road Trip"), "The Hangover" serves up a bachelor party that goes so wrong, the groom goes missing, perhaps for good.
As the groom's best friend, Cooper returns to on-screen matrimonial mayhem: He played Rachel McAdams' sociopathic boyfriend in 2005's "Wedding Crashers," and earlier this year, he starred as Jennifer Connelly's philandering husband in "He's Just Not That Into You."
If "Hangover" is a box-office winner, it could signal Cooper's leap from character actor to movie star. Such talk makes him a bit fidgety.
"'The Hangover' hasn't (even) come out yet," he said. "Grandiose thoughts don't do anything for me. I'm better off just sitting here enjoying this interview with you now. If I start to think beyond that …"
There are what may be considered to be more concrete signs that Cooper's star is on the rise. He has two more features expected later this year: Sandra Bullock's comedy "All About Steve" and the long-delayed Renee Zellweger thriller, "Case 39."
He's also recently scored some serious celebrity press, with a recent "People" headline: "Bradley Cooper Denies Romance With Jennifer Aniston."
"It's completely hilarious," said Cooper, who shared billing, but little else, with the "Friends" actress as part of the huge "He's Just Not That Into You" ensemble. "I met her like three times," he said.
Also don't count on Cooper leading DC Comics' Green Lantern to the big screen, which also has been widely reported. Cooper said he has spoken with "The Green Lantern" producer Donald De Line, but nothing's set.
Cooper said his phone is ringing more of late, but for how much longer remains to be seen.
"A lot hinges on how well 'The Hangover' does," Cooper said. "You know, you're one movie away from falling off or ascending. That's the beautiful thing about this business."
"The Hangover" opens June 5.
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