Will Tippin is Now People’s Sexiest Man

After People’s announcement that Bradley Cooper is 2011’s Sexiest Man of the Year, I sat and pondered for a few minutes about how Bradley Cooper became THE BRADLEY COOPER when to me, for the first years of my awareness, he was Will Tippin. There was definitely a subtle and then a massive shift from “Bradley Cooper, the guy that plays Will on Alias” to Bradley Cooper, action/comedy film star/A-lister. And I don’t want this post to be another…I knew Bradley before he was big, yada yada yada because plenty of people did. I am more interested in my own thought process and how I had to completely re-frame my view of him as a result of his celebrity.

As Will Tippin on Alias, I couldn’t help but root for him throughout the BS he went through (being in love with Sydney, being utterly clueless at all the problems he was causing, Francie…R.I.P.), especially in the first two seasons. And he was, for the most part, the voice of the common person in a show full of intrigue and Rambaldi. I knew that I liked Bradley, that he went to school for English (I think?), and definitely would not have put money on his future as a sex symbol, except to the fangirls who adored him (moi included).

Not surprisingly, I am far from the only person to still have this weird association to Will Tippin:

@Sepinwall: I’m imagining Will Tippin, Sexiest Man Alive calling up Sydney Bristow to taunt her about never taking him seriously as a love interest.

@jasonlynch: @sepinwall  I also made the Will Tippin ref this morning. Who would have ever thought that Will would go the distance? Certainly not Vaughn.

@Sepinwall: @jasonlynch  Now I’m imagining Michael Vartan shaking a fist at the sky and vowing “REVENGE!” on Cooper for eclipsing him so badly.

And during Bradley’s run on Alias and the years immediately following, it was difficult, yet always exciting to discover other BC roles. I could watch Wet Hot American Summer all day, everyday (and I have to wonder if Bradley wishes that movie would slowly fade into the sunset but I hope he is proud of it). Wedding Crashers is really only appealing to me because of his involvement. That was followed up by Failure to Launch, which I love solely for his character’s “ability” to converse with numerous creatures and the Justin Bartha/Zooey Deschanel scenes.

Around this time, he was definitely getting steady work (him plus Nicholas Brendan couldn’t maintain my interest in Kitchen Confidential though). I remember his arc on Nip/Tuck in my freshman year of college (strange but welcome and what isn’t strange on Nip/Tuck?). And other than He’s Just Not That Into You, I saw all of his other pre-Hangover movies post the release of The Hangover, when marketing movies like Midnight Meat Train became en vogue because THE Bradley Cooper was in it. With HJNTIY, I felt even the layman was starting to recognize his name but he was still the other, original Bradley to me. Then I want to Prague for a month in 2009 and He. Blew. Up. My last thoughts on him before boarding a plane off to Europe: looking at the summer movie guide in my Entertainment Weekly, I saw the below photo for The Hangover and an overwhelmingly positive synopsis: yay, Bradley Cooper FROM ALIAS is coming out with another movie.

In the post-The Hangover world, somewhere around…I assume Fall 2009 Bradley became THE Bradley Cooper, Hollywood’s new Everything Man; he owes that to being Phil and the genius of The Hangover. Phil I love, but I am more of a Stu girl. With The A-Team, The Hangover: Part II and the lead role in Limitless, he officially abandoned the Will Tippin-image in my mind. I remember sitting in a theater as the Limitless trailer played, thinking “huh, he has made it, crazy.” I am very happy that Bradley Cooper is a household name but I sometimes miss the Will-ness of BC that was overshadowed by his new found “Sexiness.”

And then my mom (who sat through seasons of Alias and didn’t so much as bat an eye at Will Tippin) started to declare “mmmm Bradley Cooper” at any mention of his involvement in a movie. Game Over.

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About Staciellyn Chapman

Grad student at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. This blog is an attempt to condense the craziness that is my TV viewing habits (with the occasional aside into film, music, and general life).

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