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Secret to Bradley Cooper's 'Hangover' success? That hair

December 14, 2009 |  5:37 pm

Bardleycooper Though Bradley Cooper has been successful as a working actor for years, his breakout hit "The Hangover" upped his status to leading man almost overnight.

"The Hangover" director Todd Phillips spoke with me about heartthrob Cooper's step up in the acting ranks, which he says is largely due to the man's mane.

"I said to him" in the early stages of filming the comedy, " 'We're going to turn you into a leading man, but first we have to grow your hair,' " Phillips said.

Cooper had kept it cropped in recent films such as "He's Just Not That Into You" and Jim Carrey's "Yes Man," but Phillips insisted on longer tresses.

"Something about the long hair, it registers more pain," the director said.

Oh, yeah: "It's also his extraordinary acting ability."

"The Hangover" grossed more than $275 million domestically, so naturally the director and his team are gearing up for a sequel. Don't necessarily expect a return to Las Vegas, however.

"Filming this movie in Vegas was bittersweet. We lost some crew members to this town, to their various addictions. Their wives came to collect them," he said.

And though Sin City was certainly a character in its own right, the director believes the teaming of Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Justin Bartha is what will bring the audience back. 

"I think the thing that worked about this movie is the characters and the chemistry between them ... so hopefully we'll take them and put them in a new situation," Phillips said.

The flick is out on DVD and Blu-Ray on Tuesday. 

-- Matt Donnelly

More on "The Hangover" from the Ministry of Gossip:

Heather Graham wants to play a pregnant stripper in "The Hangover" sequel 

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