Bradley Cooper is thrilled about finally becoming one of Robert De Niro's friends - because the movie icon has played a major role in his life.
The two stars have teamed up to make new movie Limitless and now De Niro accepts The Hangover star's calls - just years after a strange meeting with his hero in a Los Angeles hotel suite.
Cooper reveals he auditioned to play De Niro's son in 2009 film Everybody's Fine, but lost out to Sam Rockwell.
He felt like a winner, however, when De Niro got hold of his audition tape and arranged for a meeting in Beverly Hills.
Cooper recalls, "The director wouldn't even see me, but we have the same agent... and he got my tape and he called me in to meet him.
"He (De Niro) says, 'Yeah, um, I saw that tape and you're not gonna get it (the role), but I see it, I see you... OK, thanks for coming...' and then he hugged me, a really wonderful hug.
"And he said, 'Who was reading the other role?' and I said, 'My mother,' and he said, 'Yeah, I thought that.'
"I got in the car outside and my mother said, 'How did it go?' and I said, 'Well, I didn't get it but he said I have it.'"
Cooper met De Niro again at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York a year later - but the Raging Bull star he had no idea who he was.
But then Cooper found himself pitching his new movie to his hero: "Cut to I'm sitting in his hotel in L.A. trying to talk him into Limitless... I pitched him on it... and he signed on to do it. Now I love him; I talk to him way too much."
But the pair's history doesn't end there - Cooper also had an encounter with De Niro at grad school: "I went to the Actors Studio... and he came to our school and I asked him a question, so, like, I have this whole history - that he's not even aware of - that I have with him."