DOMINIC Cooper is keeping busy. The Hollywood star from Greenwich is currently on the small screen as Bond author Ian Fleming in Fleming and this month has two films hitting the cinema, Need for Speed and Captain America: Winter Soldier.
Vibe caught up with him as he returned to London to promote Need for Speed, in which he plays baddie Dino Brewster.
The film is an adaptation of the massively successful video game series and features characteristically fast cars and huge stunts, many of which were done with Dominic behind the wheel but a stunt expert in control.
Dominic said: “It’s absolutely horrifying.
“What’s terrifying is you are driving at 180 or something between another car that’s driving 180 and a car behind you that’s driving 180.
“You’re in a race but you have absolutely no control.
“Stunt people are mad as well, they’re a totally different breed of human. They were ex-racing driver stunt men so you felt completely safe in their hands but there’s steering wheel that doesn’t react and three pedals that do nothing.”
At face value, the film is going to look to many people just like the Fast and the Furious. That’s something that Dominic – and his co-star Aaron Paul – were wary of at the outset.
He said: “That was certainly a fear of both of ours when we were approached about the job.
“The way (director Scott Waugh) wanted to shoot it and the way he wanted to cast it, it became very apparent quite quickly that it was going to be very, very different to the Fast and the Furious.”
He may be a Hollywood hunk now but Dominic, 35, grew up in south east London the son of a nursery school teacher and an auctioneer and attended John Ball Primary School and Thomas Tallis School in Kidbrooke.
His first car was a nothing like the Koenigseggs or flash Mercedes’ he got to drive in the movie, either.
He said: “I drove a 60s Austin Healy which had a hole in the fuel tank so I could only put £2 of fuel in and one headlight and no windscreen wipers. And I used to drive long distance.
“Everyone has to have first cars like that. I can’t bear it when I see kids getting these amazing first cars.
“Apart from safety, I can understand why parents don’t want their kids driving around in a cage or a skip with no wheels, but I think you have to have this piece of crap that is beat up and you learn how to respect. It also shouldn’t be very fast, really.”
Despite his roots in the area, he’s not so sure Kidbrooke would have made as an exciting setting for Need for Speed as the glorious vistas of the US.
He said: “We’re in a different location every five minutes. The landscape is stunning.
“We have a beautiful landscape but I don’t think it changes quite as dramatically as it does in America.
“You drive two hours and you have gone from mountains to sea. For that reason, it is very much part of the film, the American landscape.
“I think it really works in its favour. It has to look good, and Kidbrooke might not quite be the same...”
Need for Speed is out Wednesday (March 12).