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Music

The crucial advice Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder gave to Bradley Cooper

@josephtaysom

When Bradley Cooper decided to throw himself into the musical arena, he needed to turn to an expert who could offer him advice, and there’s nobody better placed to do so than Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.

Cooper called upon the frontman when preparing to play the lead role in A Star Is Born alongside Lady Gaga. In the film, Cooper portrays troubled musician Jackson Maine, who suffers from substance abuse issues, and falls in love with a talented unknown singer who he helps nurture.

It was the fourth time the story had been turned into a feature film, and Cooper was celebrated for his authentic performance. Often when musicians are depicted on screen, it can come off as pastiche, but he masterfully avoided this common trope.

Cooper worked hard to make sure he did the role justice, and as part of his process, he called up Eddie Vedder. He agreed to spend a few days with the actor and let him try to get inside his brain. “I went up to Seattle and spent four or five days with him and I asked him 9,000 questions,” Cooper told Yahoo! Entertainment. “And he gave me minor, little things that only musicians know about what to do, just aesthetically and the inner workings.”

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Although Vedder was happy to help assist Cooper with his performance, the singer did attempt to talk him out of taking part in the project, but it was to no avail. “He thought it was crazy I was going to do this movie,” Cooper added. “He was like, ‘What? Bro, don’t do that.'”

In an interview on The Howard Stern Show, Vedder elaborated on the kind of tips he gave. “We just hung out for a couple of days, and [Cooper] just asked me a few questions and I told him things like, you know, ‘Make sure your guitar covers your balls at all times’.

“I think sometimes the guitar gets a little high. It looks more like a bib… That way, if the crowd throws anything, like an orange or tennis ball, you’ll be covered.”

Vedder also spoke about his hesitancy to watch the film and revealed that his mind was swirling with ways he “could let him down nicely” on his journey to watching A Star Is Born for the first time.

Fortunately, Vedder didn’t need to use any of the ideas he’d dreamt up because he adored Cooper’s creation. He continued: “And I tell you, when I saw it, I was just fucking blown away. It just took me there, and what he can do with his eyes and what [Cooper and Lady Gaga] did together and then Sam Elliott. It really took me there. I’m getting chills right now.”

The advice that Vedder gave Cooper may have only been small details that the untrained eye wouldn’t even notice. However, when these micro-ingredients come together, they paint a vivid portrait of Jackson Maine and help make him feel genuine.