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‘Limitless’ Star Jake McDorman on How Bradley Cooper Makes CBS Series ‘All the More Real’

“He’s been a pretty much constant resource,” actor says of original movie’s star

Bradley Cooper starred in the 2011 film “Limitless” and is now returning to the world he helped create by guest starring in and executive producing the new CBS series of the same name that continues the story of the film.

“Bradley’s involvement in front of the camera makes it all the more real,” series star Jake McDorman told TheWrap. “It gives the sense that all these events are happening around the same time.”

McDorman plays Brian Finch, a man who has accomplished little in his life with adulthood nipping at his heels. But when a friend presents him with a mysterious brain-enhancing drug called NZT, Brian’s mind begins to operate with supercomputer-like intelligence.

But it doesn’t take long before people come after Brian for the power the drug possesses. He must then partner with an FBI Agent (Jennifer Carpenter) in order to keep the drug out of the wrong hands. Brian is guided along the way by Eddie Morra (Cooper), the protagonist from the film who now serves as a U.S. Senator. In a case of art imitating life, McDorman said Cooper has proven to be an important influence on his performance.

“He really gave me all his notes from the movie,” McDorman said. “And he’s been a pretty much constant resource throughout the whole filming process. He’ll check in to see if I need anything or to see how things are going. To act with somebody of that caliber inevitably makes your performance better. I cherish every little bit of time I get with him.”

Executive producer Craig Sweeny echoed McDorman’s sentiments, extolling Cooper’s contributions to the show already.

“Bradley is a great producer in addition to being a great performer,” Sweeny told TheWrap. “He had a lot of good ideas. A lot of dialogue in the pilot came out of a meeting that we had. He’s a meaningful contributor within the context of being an enormously busy guy.”

Sweeny also said that he was a fan of the film before being approached with the series. “What I loved about the movie was the visual panache and style and wit in the sequences where Neil Burger and Bradley put thinking on film in a way that nobody had quite seen before,” he said. “So we wanted to import that sense of style and wit and mischief into the series.”

McDorman believes Sweeny has done just that, in addition to building on the events of the film without rehashing them. “This expands the universe that the movie created, which I think is so much better than rebooting it,” he said. “Some times TV shows are like, ‘Let’s just re-tell the story of the movie, re-cast the characters with different actors and take it from there.’  But the fact that this is an adjacent story line, not negating all the facts from the film, really makes it exciting.”

McDorman also feels that television offers storytellers an opportunity that film does not. “You can have an idea that you can squeeze into a two hour movie or even a trilogy of movies, but that pales in comparison to the amount of hours you can expend on that idea on television,” he said. “I think of ‘Game of Thrones.’ If that ended up being like ‘Lord of the Rings,’ three movies or one movie per book, how much they would have to truncate and get rid of?”

“Limitless” premieres on CBS Tuesday at 10 p.m.

Also: See TheWrap Magazine’s Fall TV Issue complete coverage: