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On-screen experience handy for Cooper

Scribe thought like an actor to adapt 'Crazy Heart'

Scott Cooper’s decade of experience in front of the camera as an actor came in handy when he sat down in late 2006 to adapt Thomas Cobb’s novel “Crazy Heart” into a screenplay.

“During the entire writing process I was thinking like an actor, trying to tell the truth as simply and honestly as possible,” Cooper says. “I spent about 20 different drafts really honing down and finding the essence of (Bad Blake) and his narrative thread.”

Cooper’s character-driven technique appealed to fellow thesps Jeff Bridges and Robert Duvall, who immediately signed on to act in and produce the project.

“The first person I sent it to was my mentor, Robert. He loved the script and immediately said, ‘Let’s shoot this.’ So this process really has been a rags-to-riches story in the sense that it grew from nothing into something because people were passionate about the piece.”

Hometown: Abingdon, Va./Los Angeles

Schools: Hampden-Sydney College, Lee Strasberg Acting Institute

First writing gig: “For Sale by Owner,” recently released on DVD

Influences: Hal Ashby, Horton Foote, William Faulkner

Screenplays that impressed this year: “A Serious Man,” “Two Lovers,” “The Hurt Locker”

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