Call it the Silver Linings Hookup.
Long before “Silver Linings Playbook” — the 2012 box-office hit that earned him his first Oscar nomination — a young Bradley Cooper was writing the script on besties becoming boos.
The Cooper Opinion — in a 1993 column titled “When best friends cross the line” — was published in the “Fresh Ink” teen section of the Philadelphia Daily News when the actor was a high school senior at Germantown Academy in the Philly suburbs of Fort Washington, Pa.
I know this because I was the young editor, barely out of college myself, who helped Cooper find his pen game when he was a lovesick lacrosse player.
“Can best friends who are of the opposite sex hook up with each other without destroying their friendship?” he wrote.
Then — with an appropriate paragraphic pause for dramatic effect — he added, “In my case, yes … so far.”
As if he was already ready to write his own personal “When Harry Met Sally” about his relationship plot twist with his senior prom date Deborah Landes, Cooper got real about how “suddenly you start to hate that guy she always told you was hot” and about how “once college hits, our relationship will definitely return to a ‘best friendship.’”
Long before Cooper, 48, started working his baby blues on the leading lady likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Lady Gaga and, currently, Carey Mulligan — in “Maestro,” his Leonard Bernstein biopic that began streaming on Netflix this week — the baby heartthrob was already into his romantic feelings.
“There has always been an underlying attraction between the two of us,” he wrote.
But then he continued to get into the conflicted heart of it all: “Before, we could never fathom the idea of being more than just friends, especially because she was involved in a relationship with a friend of mine. After they broke up, things began to change.”
Points for slowing your roll with the bro code, Bradley. Points.
Back when it wasn’t cool for teen boys to be sensitive like that, he even admitted that “the real test will probably come when I have to hear about how much fun she is having at the shore this summer.”
Clearly, Cooper possessed the innate spirit of a storyteller who could see a good dramatic turn in his own young life — and also get the (romantic) comedy in it all.
When he was interviewed by the Philadelphia Daily News in 2009 — right before making his big-screen breakout in “The Hangover” — Cooper laughed at his high school self and his true confessions that felt more like they were straight out of “Seventeen” magazine.
“I wrote it like a lovesick puppy,” he said, “and I went to a lacrosse game the day it came out and people were booing me.”
But Cooper — who is currently on the awards-season campaign trail to add to his nine Oscar nominations as star, director and screenplay writer of “Maestro” — waxed nostalgic about recently attending his 30th high school reunion on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on Tuesday.
“It was awesome,” Cooper told Fallon about the reunion at Chestnut Hill Brewing Company in Philadelphia. “It was just regular. I think it was just like, time had passed, and it was just cool.”
He even wore a “Bradley” name tag to show just how “regular” he was.
“But when I was in high school, I used to go by Brad, and now I go by Bradley,” he explained — as if we might confuse him with that Pitt guy.
As Hollywood as he may have gotten, Cooper remains fiercely loyal to his Philly roots — especially when it comes to his beloved Philadelphia Eagles (who, if you remember, were a big part of the plot of “Silver Linings Playbook”).
And as a fellow Philly homeboy who caught a glimpse of this star being born, I’ll always be rooting for him.