Bradley Cooper jumped at the opportunity to be a part of filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson’s "Licorice Pizza", but before that offer came his way, he was thinking about quitting acting. Despite winning several awards and accolades, Cooper was contemplating giving up on his successful career in acting in the middle of the pandemic.

The actor told Mahershala Ali in a recent chat for Variety's "Actors on Actors" series that he would've done "anything" to star in the movie, despite his original plan to quit. 

"The reason that I didn't give up acting is Paul Thomas Anderson," said Cooper, 47. "When he called me to maybe be in his movie, Mahershala, I mean really, I think I'd open up a door in his movie. I'd do anything."

"We broke from 'Nightmare Alley,' I was able to grow a beard and Searchlight was praying that I didn't get COVID, because we had to go back and continue 'Nightmare Alley,'" he recalled, "but I was like, 'There's no way I'm not doing it.'"

Cooper, in his "first movie back from COVID," plays film producer Jon Peters—who was in a relationship with Barbra Streisand for close to a decade in real life. "Jon Peters was the beginning of the movie, so I started with everybody else, which was wonderful, rather than coming in when everybody's already downriver," Cooper told his "The Place Beyond the Pines" costar Ali, 47.

Bradley Cooper NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 08: Bradley Cooper speaks onstage during The National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on January 08, 2020 in New York City. Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for National Board of Review

Cooper when on to reveal that he "spent three and a half weeks" with Anderson, 51, who wrote, produced, and directed the film. Alana Haim, Sean Penn, Tom Waits, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman's son Cooper, are also a part of the movie.

"I watched all the camera tests. [Paul] was teaching me all about lenses, things I never knew," Cooper shared. "He's incredible."

Cooper then spoke to Ali about "Nightmare Alley" which is currently in theaters. He said that the psychological thriller, directed by Guillermo del Toro, "was an interesting example of how insecure I am" as an actor. In fact, he recalled how shocked he was when he learned del Toro, 57, "came to" him to play the lead after Leonardo DiCaprio exited the project, per People.

"I still remember thinking, 'Oh wow, the guys that don't hire me, they want to hire me?'" Cooper said. "Then it was like, 'Of course, I have to do it just because I've never been allowed into that group.' It was insecurity and ego."

"Thankfully, it wound up being an incredible experience," he added. "And that was very interesting to me to play a character, Stanton Carlisle, who has clearly been traumatized as a kid, has no parental foundation, has no foundation for love, intimacy, real connection, and he just is surviving off of a gratification and a desperate need to find out who he is."