Bradley Cooper’s Groovy ‘American Hustle’ ‘Do Didn’t Come Easy

Adam Pockross
Movie Talk

In the first trailer for David O. Russell's "American Hustle," Bradley Cooper toasts a new era, but his hair is definitely stuck in the past.

Sporting hair curled tighter than a tourniquet, Cooper plays Richie DiMaso, an unbalanced federal agent who forces a brilliant con-man (Christian Bale) and his savvy girlfriend (Amy Adams) to help with a high-profile corruption case.

[Related: David O. Russell Gives GMA an Exclusive First Look at 'American Hustle']

The film is loosely based on the ABSCAM scandal, which brought down a U.S. senator and six congressmen in the late '70s/early '80s, which also happened to be the hey-day of questionable fashion. Rounding out the all-star cast is Jeremy Renner, who plays a good-hearted New Jersey politician caught up in the scandal, and Jennifer Lawrence, Bale's pain-in-the-rear wife, who threatens to blow the whole case wide open.

While groovy 'dos are pervasive in the film, Cooper's curls are certainly the cat's meow. We recently had a chance to ask Cooper about his "American Hustle" perm when we interviewed him over the phone for his and Ryan Gosling's powerfully intriguing family drama, "The Place Beyond the Pines," which gets its Blu-ray release this Tuesday, August 6.

We specifically asked Cooper how often he had to get his hair permed for the part.

"Well, I guess technically I didn't get a perm. I curled my hair every day, because that's what the character did. He curled his hair. His hair was straight, Richie DiMaso, and he actually curled it himself, as many men did in the late '70s," said Cooper.

[Related: Sony Shows First Footage of Jennifer Lawrence in ‘American Hustle’ at Cinemacon]

Since we'd expect an Oscar-nominated actor like Cooper would strive for as much authenticity as possible, we asked if he used an era-specific curling iron to get the look just right.

"Not curling irons. No, you put the curlers in it’s sad that I know the process but you wet your hair and you put the curlers in, and we put like 110 curlers in, and then you sit under the dryer [like] women do for 45 minutes," said Cooper. "Three hours every morning before work."

Now that's dedication. But before you go feeling bad for the actor's rigorous follicle forays, Cooper let us in on a little secret: "You know, it wound up being relaxing, actually."

[Related: Steven Spielberg and Bradley Cooper Team Up for ‘American Sniper’]

If you look closely, at about a minute and twenty seconds into the new trailer, you can see Cooper as DiMaso, getting his hair all dolled up. It certainly puts a new curl into the phrase "let the good times roll."

But as the trailer's rocking use of Led Zeppelin's "Good Times Bad Times" would imply, the good times are probably not going to last.

Regardless, we can't wait till  "American Hustle," begins its Oscar run on Christmas Day, 2013.

See photos from the set of "American Hustle":