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Bradley Cooper cast his own dog in 'A Star Is Born' for the sweetest reason

The actor-director gave his canine companion, Charlie, a role in the movie and says, "he's a great actor." And it goes without saying that he's also a good boy.
/ Source: TODAY

It's all about who you know in Hollywood, and for one fluffy pooch with no previous acting experience, knowing Bradley Cooper really paid off.

That's how Charlie, the actor-director's very own labradoodle, landed a part in the most buzzed-about movie of the year, "A Star Is Born."

Bradley Cooper stars alongside Lady Gaga in "A Star Is Born." His dog Charlie also makes cameo appearance in the film.
Bradley Cooper stars alongside Lady Gaga in "A Star Is Born." His dog Charlie also makes cameo appearance in the film.Warner Bros.

But don't get the wrong idea. According to Cooper, despite the fact he hired his furry friend, "there was no nepotism" involved.

"I wanted this relationship with the dog (in the movie)," he explained to People at the film's Los Angeles premiere last week. The lead characters, Jackson (Cooper) and Ally (Lady Gaga) "don’t have a child together but they have a dog together, and I wanted it to be part of their story."

And Charlie happened to be perfect for that part. Besides, Cooper added, "I love dogs" — and, obviously, he adores this dog in particular.

But casting Charlie wasn't just a way to include his canine companion in the film. It was also a way to include someone else who couldn't be there.

Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper with his father, Charles J. Cooper, in Nov. 2010./Shutter

The 43-year-old star's father, Charles J. Cooper, died in 2011 following a battle with lung cancer. He recently cited that devastating loss as part of what made it possible to tackle his gritty role in "A Star Is Born."

Charlie was named after the actor's beloved parent. "That meant a lot for him to be in the film," he said.

Evidently, it meant a lot to Lady Gaga to have Charlie around, too. In a red-carpet chat with Entertainment Tonight, Cooper confessed that, during the making of "A Star Is Born," "We were always playing with Charlie!"

And when play time was over, Charlie proved he had real acting chops, too.

As the film's director, Cooper noted to AOL, "I could have brought him on set anyway, but he's a great actor."

Charlie's method? "I just told him where to go, and he did the rest."

That good boy has even earned his first rave review.

On Thursday, Lisa Lange, the vice president of animal rights group PETA, said in a statement that "Bradley Cooper's happy, adorable and much-loved dog steals the spotlight — and viewers' hearts — in this film because it's clear that he loved being with his real-life 'dad.'"

Lange added that, "PETA has witnessed so much abuse and neglect of dogs, both on and off set, that we’re hoping Cooper’s kind decision (to cast his own dog) sets a precedent for all of Hollywood to follow.”

In an effort to encourage that, the organization has given the star their Compassion in Film award for his work with Charlie.

That's good news, but unfortunately for Cooper, his "great actor" dog has let all this success go to his shaggy head.

"(Charlie) has an agent," he joked to People. "I don’t talk to him much anymore. He doesn’t return my calls."

See Charlie — and Cooper and Gaga — in action when "A Star Is Born" hits theaters Oct. 5.