Chris Cooper – A Real Contender
by Brad Balfour
Originally posted on September 22, 2004.
Actor Chris Cooper didn’t need a crystal ball to figure out how to make his character in Silver City — the bumbling local politician running for governor of Colorado — resonate in this hard-hitting reflection of our times. His campaign becomes the backdrop for investigator Danny [Huston] to solve a murder that involves pollution and illegal immigrants. Loaded with an incredible cast that includes Maria Bello, Thora Birch, Richard Dreyfuss and Kris Kristofferson, the film offers parallels with a certain Presidential candidate and illustrates how smoothly this Oscar winner (for Adaptation) can slip into a role. A consummate character actor, Cooper has risen through the ranks to become an A-list actor who has starred such hits as The Bourne Identity, Seabiscuit and American Beauty. Now he joins his old friend John Sayles in this timely, provocative tale of crime and politics.
IT’S NO SECRET THAT THE CHARACTER YOU PLAY IN SILVER CITY DICKIE PILAGER, IS MODELED AFTER GEORGE W. BUSH – HE’S ALSO PROBABLY THE DUMBEST CHARACTER YOU’VE EVER PLAYED.
I just think he’s a strong believer in what he’s doing. He’s got this whole born-again thing. Pretty obviously he’s stumbling along in politics but first and foremost he believes. John said that Dickie Pilager was a man who doesn’t have the imagination to consider his beliefs seriously and what that entails. That said a whole lot to me. He can be passionate and really not know what he is talking about.
DID YOU DO ANY RESEARCH TO GET THE CHARACTER DOWN?
I’m a bit of a news junkie and watch too much news, so these politicians are in my face everyday. This was one of those situations where I didn’t have to beat myself up with the research. It’s there in your face everyday.
DID YOU WATCH ANY OLDER BUSH FOOTAGE?
No I didn’t do that because it’s not an impersonation. If it were I would have done a better job. There is no doubt there will be some recognizable bits in this character. It was a lot of fun with a character I can relate to.
THERE’S A LOT OF GREAT MALE ROLES IN SILVER CITY. WHAT MADE YOU PICK THIS PART?
John originally came to me with the intention of playing Kris Kristofferson’s character of [billionaire] Wes Benteen. That was fine with me. If John requests my services and I can then I will be there at anytime. A good month or so later he got Richard Dreyfuss as the manager which was a big relief which gave him a good age range of the other characters.