Pop Culture

Curls, undies: What we learned about Globe nominees Cooper, Cranston, Timberlake

Those curls Bradley Cooper was sporting on “American Hustle?” All him. From the idea to the execution to the actual look, the Golden Globe nominee was in control of his character’s signature look.

How is it possible that Bryan Cranston does not have a Golden Globe for his masterful work on “Breaking Bad?” We don’t know the answer, but the man who brought Heisenberg to life really, really wants one. And he is the one who knocks.

If you think Justin Timberlake is a polite sweetheart, that award should go to his family. The Grammy winner is nominated for his first Golden Globe and you can count on him saying “please” and “thank you” if he wins. Or his mom will put him in a time-out.

In candid interviews with Dateline this week, the Globe nominees let loose. None of them has taken a Globe home yet, will Sunday be the day?

Justin Timberlake, Bryan Cranston and Bradley Cooper could be first-time Golden Globe winners on Sunday.

Bradley Cooper did not perm his hair
At first, Cooper, 39, tried on some wigs for his “American Hustle” role as FBI agent Richie DiMaso. “But it looked like ‘The Three Stooges,” he said, so he asked the set stylist to give the real thing a try. Three hours later, and 110 curlers in his hair, Cooper felt he had transformed into Richie.

“I loved it,” he went on. “And then we decided that, you know, that that’s what this guy does, that he curls his hair…let’s have a scene where the audience realizes what he does in his house, in his shotgun apartment—with his mother and his fiancé, and that’s he’s in the bathroom eating chicken, listening to the baseball game. And he’s got curlers in.”

Cooper said he didn’t mind the three hours he spent in the stylist’s chair every day.

“It was this weird meditative sort of state that I was able to go into,” he said. “I’d just sorta, like, zone out.”

Besides, the curls helped his antagonistic character stand out, Cooper said.

“We kinda wanted to make him somebody that you hadn’t seen before, ‘cause it could be very easily slide into the FBI straight guy, the law. And that time period is so rich with…those emotional colors…and what happened in that time period. We thought, ‘Let’s really create as colorful a guy as we can. So, probably, we should try to make me as unrecognizable as possible.”

Bryan Cranston talks about the truth behind those tighty whities 
To inhabit Walter White, a.k.a. Heisenberg, Cranston went in the opposite direction and shaved his head. But that’s not the only thing notable about Mr. White’s special look. The chemistry teacher-turned-meth kingpin-turned-pathological murderer is also known for his tighty whities, a garment Cranston first resisted because his character on “Malcolm in the Middle” also wore them.

Understanding his concerns, creator Vince Gilligan told Cranston that he could wear whatever underwear he chose. So Cranston said he “kept looking at the underwear. And there was jockey, and boxers, and long, and short. I kept thinking, ‘Why would he put in 'tighty whitey'? Why would he write that? There's gotta be a reason. And I started thinking, ‘I think it's in line with what I was thinking that Walter White, when we first met him, was depressed. And he just didn't care. Didn't care how his hair looked, or his silly little moustache, or-- he was a little paunchy. And he just went to seed. He didn't care. And I thought, "Well, that's a very good visual of not caring. He is still wearing boy underwear.”

So the tighty whities stayed. And became famous. And even sold in October for nearly $10,000. But will they help three-time Emmy winner nab his first Globe? Cranston hopes so.

“People use to say in false modesty and in some honest modesty, ‘It's just an honor to be nominated,’” he said. “Well, that's the first time you get nominated to something. It is. It's, ‘Oh, someone knows I'm alive.’ It is an honor. And then after you have been nominated--I was nominated several times on “Malcolm in the Middle”--I didn't win any. So after a few times, it's like, "Okay, now, I wanna win.’ I don't wanna just go to the party. I wanna be able to dance, you know?”

Justin Timberlake owes who he is to his family
Justin Timberlake just had the biggest year of his career, but one of the most important lessons his mother ever imparted came when he landed the final audition for “The Mickey Mouse Club” at the age of 10. Timberlake recalled her words as follows: "I want you to understand that you have a very special gift. But you have to treat it like a gift. It doesn't mean that it makes you a special person. And I'll never forget this, she said to me, ‘You know, as a matter of fact, it's going to make things harder for you as a human being.’”

The 32-year-old triple-threat superstar feels lucky to have grown up in a small town near Memphis, where his mother, stepfather and grandfather taught him how to treat others and that his life should not be measured in terms of success and failure.

“It was just implanted in my brain when I was really young from my parents…not be one of those people that, you know, at the end of the day, that is what you have,” he said. “It could be one of the bigger reasons why success and failure doesn't seem, you know, isn't the end of the world. It doesn't put me on top of the world or six feet under…At the end of the day, all you really have is who you are.”

Catch the complete interviews of the above nominees, as well as interviews with members of the "12 Years a Slave" cast when "Going for Gold," airs Friday, 8/7c on NBC.