Bradley Cooper Wants the Bradley Cooper Role in Baz Luhrmann's 'The Great Gatsby'

Bradley Cooper has got to be feeling the sting of fame by now. The actor has nearly universal recognition after "The Hangover" and "The A-Team," but despite his considerable comedic chops and genuine charm, he isn't really taken very seriously as anything more than a pretty boy and a passing fad.

Cooper has what a lot of matinee idols do not, which is magnetism. If this were the studio era, he and Ryan Reynolds would be two of the biggest names in the business.

But as being a modern actor means taking on very actorly roles, it comes as little surprise that Cooper is hot on the trail of the Bradley Cooperest of characters - Tom Buchanan in "The Great Gatsby."

Buchanan, along with Gatsby himself, has sort of provided the template for what we picture when we think the East Coast upper class. Or at least the kind worth writing about.

He's inextricably entitled, an alcoholic, attended Yale largely through connections, and oh is a big fan of polo. AND he's that classic pre-feminism womanizer; he sees nothing wrong with his constant affairs, but is incredibly jealous when other men notice his wife, Daisy. It comes as little surprise that F. Scott FItzgerald based Tom on a man he despised.

In an interview with The New York Times, Cooper effuses, "To me, he's the best character in the book. He's so complicated. He's xenophobic, he's an alcoholic, but he also understands some profound stuff about class. Whoever plays it has to take a gentle hand, because it could so easily be stock, where he's a rich jerk you don't identify with at all."

At least he seems to be in it for the right reasons. And, as I said, he is a really great screen presence, the kind of guy who could own the room he's in, a quality much needed for someone like Tom. He will, however, have to finally shave and cut his hair.

"I don't even know if I'm on [writer/director Baz] Luhrmann's radar," he admitted. "Maybe he'll read this article after the role's cast and say, "Oh. Ha. Yeah, that guy was never going to get it."

We'll find out soon enough - Luhrmann is diving into pre-production this month with an aim to shoot his 3D (yep, Gatsby comin' atcha!) epic in August for a 2012 release. Leonardo DiCaprio is in as Jay Gatsby, Tobey Maguire is set play Nick Carraway, and the unstoppable Carey Mulligan is playing Daisy.