Director, Actor, Producer, Screenwriter
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After toiling for several years as an unknown but employable actor, Scott Cooper took his career by the reins and directed "Crazy Heart" (2009), the poignant tale of a broken-down country music singer that earned critical acclaim and several key awards. Cooper was born in Virginia, but spent a fair part of his youth being raised in Somerset, KY, where he attended Somerset High School for one year before moving back to Virginia with his family. Growing up, he was reared on bluegrass music and Southern literature, which had a profound influence on his creative decisions later in life. Meanwhile, he ventured north to the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York, where he trained to be an actor. Cooper had a minor supporting part in "Gods and Generals" (2003), which starred his acting mentor Robert Duvall as General Robert E. Lee. Following a small part in the crime thriller "Takedown" (2004) and a larger supporting turn in the uplifting "Ladder 49" (2004), Cooper was finally noticeable as Henry 'Heck' Gilpin in the award-winning miniseries, "Broken Trail" (AMC, 2006), which gave the actor an opportunity to work again with Duvall. Unsatisfied with the roles he was being offered, Cooper set out to make inroads as a writer and director; his first effort was the script for the horror film "For Sale By Owner" (2009), in which he also starred. But instead of crafting his own performance piece, he next instead stayed strictly behind the camera as the writer and director of "Crazy Heart" (2009), which starred Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake, a burnt-out country music star reduced to playing gigs at bowling alleys while trying to hold on to what remains of his self-respect. With a trail of broken marriages and even more broken bottles, Blake finally starts to find redemption with the help of a journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who starts to uncover the real man behind the music. After writing the script, Cooper turned to Duvall, who immediately offered to be the executive producer. Determined to land Jeff Bridges for the lead and T-Bone Burnett to compose the music, Cooper did just that, fulfilling what he considered to be his top two requirements to make the film. Purposely directed with a 1970s feel, "Crazy Heart" won widespread critical acclaim, particularly for Bridges, who began to accumulate all the major acting awards in early 2010. Cooper next co-wrote and directed the crime thriller "Out of the Furnace" (2013), starring Christian Bale and Woody Harrelson. He was attached to write the script for Angelina Jolie's second film as a director, "Unbroken" (2014), though the final credits went to Joel and Ethan Coen, Richard LaGravenese, and William Nicholson. Cooper's next film as a director and producer, was the mob drama "Black Mass" (2015), starring Johnny Depp as real-life Boston mobster turned FBI informant James "Whitey" Bulger opposite Joel Edgerton and Dakota Johnson.
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