Bradley Cooper On Adapting Hyperion Even Though He Doesn’t Think He’s A Writer

By Brian Williams | Updated

It seems like every other day you hear about an actor or director that decides that they want to change things up in their career by taking on a new job that they’ve never done before, usually because they get the chance to work on a well known property that they love. Bradley Cooper, star of The Hangover and heartthrob to middle-aged women everywhere, is joining in this time honored Hollywood tradition by attempting to write a screenplay adapted from a book. He’s not trying to adapt just any book though; he’s trying to adapt one of the greatest science fiction series of all time, the Hyperion Cantos.

During a press junket for his new movie The Words, Cooper talked about working on the Hyperion script. Here’s what he had to say…

Cooper says he doesn’t consider himself a writer, but loved the story so much that he wanted to make the project happen after reading the book. He had wondered why it had never been made into a movie before and then found out the James Cameron and Leonardo DiCaprio had been interested in making it before Cameron got sidetracked with Avatar. Cooper then hooked up with friend to co-write the adaptation and have been trying to piece together a script ever since.

For Bradley to admit he doesn’t consider himself a writer is a little alarming to hear for Hyperion fans. The literary style of author Dan Simmons is just that, literary. If you’ve ever read anything by Simmons then you know that he blurs the lines between what is considered genre fiction and literature while couching his stories in truly unique, incredibly detailed settings. It’s great that a true fan is trying to adapt Hyperion into a movie, but honestly the story is so incredibly huge, you need someone with the skills of Christopher Nolan to pull off a script that has any chance of doing it justice.

If you haven’t read the Cantos before, Hyperion tells the story/stories of a group of individuals who were chosen by a space age death cult to go on a pilgrimage to a mysterious death dealing entity known as the Shrike on the eve of galactic Armageddon. The first book of the Hyperion Cantos, only tells half of these pilgrims’ stories and uses the “frame story” literary device to tell you why each of them is going on this pilgrimage to meet what could very well be their doom. Each of the six separate stories in the book are absolutely gut-wrenching and integral to building the conclusion of the tale that happens in the second book Fall Of Hyperion.

Taking on the Hyperion Cantos is a huge project and the format of the first book doesn’t lend itself very easily to big screen adaptation. As a huge fan of the series I do hope it gets made in one form or the other, but to me something as big as Hyperion just isn’t meant to be condensed into a 3 hour movie. I guess we’ll see just how much of a writer Bradley Cooper is or isn’t if he ever gets finished with the screenplay.