We all have movies that had a profound impact on us, stories that inspire us or emotionally impact us. Wedding Crashers is probably not that movie. Wedding Crashers has hilarious lines and it makes us laugh until we hurt, but it probably didn't change many lives. But it was a career-defining movie for Bradley Cooper. While the movie was Cooper’s biggest film to date, he says watching Vince Vaughn be willing to fail changed his perspective on acting.
If you weren’t a fan of TV’s Alias there’s a good chance you didn’t know who Bradley Cooper was prior to Wedding Crashers, when he was cast in what became one of Cooper's best roles as the comedy’s villain. In a round table discussion with other Oscar-nominated actors for Variety. Cooper says that watching Vaughn really blew him away filming a particular scene and being willing to try things and fail. He explained…
Up until that point, I was always just trying to get it right on camera. Be present and get it right. I’m watching Vince Vaughn destroy a scene, just crush it, and then he wants another take. It was the scene where the grandmother is shooting him, takes the gun out and he’s running out. He’s just like, ‘I want to do another one.” In front of everyone…this huge crew and lights and it’s so nerve-wracking…and it was his willingness to fail.
It’s not uncommon, especially in comedies, for actors to try variations on a scene to see if they can find what works best. It leads to some hilarious gag reels if nothing else. But what impressed Cooper was the way Vaughn was able to make a scene work and then was willing to keep going anyway. Not everything Vaughn did worked, it sounds like some of the scenes went pretty badly, but it didn’t stop Vaughn from trying. Cooper continued…
Watching Vince Vaughn…this huge tough guy, funniest guy, quickest guy…I was just in awe of this human, this man just failing, just willing to try anything. At some point, he was just scatting and caught onto this thing and was doing this song. I loved seeing it, but clearly it wasn’t working. But it didn’t even matter. It was all of us watching this artist just explore with complete abandon. It was like a diamond through the middle of my head going, ‘That’s it! That freedom to just be absolutely willing to fail.’ It changed me forever. That was the moment.
You have to be pretty willing to screw up in front of people to be an actor in the first place, but Vince Vaughn apparently took things to another level, and it changed Cooper’s perspective. Instead of focusing on doing it right, he’s now perhaps a bit more willing to get it wrong if it means possibly finding something special.
Fans had hoped for Wedding Crashers 2 years ago but we haven't heard much about the idea for a while. Perhaps if Bradley Cooper wins an Oscar and thanks Vince Vaughn for his inspiration, we can make that a possibility again.