Bradley Cooper as Eddie Morra, performance-enhanced investment broker and former struggling author
New York City, Spring 2010
Release Date: March 18, 2011
Director: Neil Burger
Costume Designer: Jenny Gering
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
It’s been a long time since I watched a truly suspenseful and entertaining thriller that combined drama, action, romance, comedy, and – of course – thrills all into one efficient package. I worried that the genre had died somewhere between the greatness of Notorious, North by Northwest and Chinatown, leaving only a few mind-numbing attempts in its wake. Then, I saw Limitless.
Limitless kicks off with a timeless fight or flight scenario: will our obvious protagonist leap to his inevitable death or turn to face his angry, violent interlopers? It’s a dangerous decision that pulsates through the rest of this fast but smart ride of a movie. After learning about Eddie’s quick, unapproved-performance-enhancing-drug-assisted leap from ragged author to hotshot investor, we find him back where our ride started… standing back on that ledge. All of our basic questions have been answered with aplomb – Who is this guy? Where is he? Why are people banging on his door and leaving him with this sole option out? The only question remains – how will he get out of it?
What’d He Wear?
“As soon as he takes NZT, he’s an assassin. He’s stealth,” is how Bradley Cooper explained his desired look for Eddie Morra to costume designer Jenny Gering. Gering explains that his look “goes from night to day” after he starts taking the drug. Director Neil Burger adds that “everything kind of gets cleaner, sharper. Suddenly, he has a really good eye for style.”
Viewers of the film have no choice but to agree. Our first look at Eddie Morra finds him on that apartment building ledge, resplendent in a navy blue Tom Ford suit. It’s hard to look bad in a Tom Ford suit, and Cooper’s enthusiasm for the costume choices would have something to do with Eddie’s special brand of cool. “He starts to dress differently when he changes is really because it allows him to get where he wants,” explained Cooper, showing fine appreciation for the role of sartorial art in cinema. “And I love to wear suits, so that was actually fantastic.”
The dark navy Tom Ford suit in this scene is constructed from a lightweight wool and was custom-fit for Bradley Cooper. It appears to be the Regency model (or possibly a bespoke version based on the Regency) that Daniel Craig wore as James Bond in Quantum of Solace, which featured Craig’s arguably best-fitting suits of his 007 tenure to date.
The single-breasted jacket has large notch lapels that roll over the top button to the second of three, which is the only one he ever wears fastened. The pagoda shoulders sweep down to roped sleeveheads. Each sleeve ends with five functioning buttons. The outside of the jacket has a welted breast pocket and straight hip pockets with wide flaps. The ticket pocket above the right hip pocket also has a wide flap.
Cooper’s strong physique is emphasized with the suit’s fit. The jacket’s long double vents, flared skirt, and clean chest suppress the waist and show the audience that Eddie has physically transformed into a more athletic man after taking NZT.
In addition to the secret pockets stitched into the dark blue silk lining of his suit, this jacket has the standard inner pockets on each side of the chest. Below the inner left pocket, the familiar black “TOM FORD” label patch can be glimpsed as Eddie looks for his purloined stash.
Eddie’s matching flat front suit trousers have a medium-low rise on his waist. They are likely fitted since neither belt loops nor side adjusters are seen, although the Regency trousers sported by Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace had adjusters with buckle straps. Eddie’s trousers have on-seam side pockets and double jetted rear pockets that close with a button. The bottoms are plain-hemmed.
As costume designer Gering noted in a featurette: “Most of his shirts have a blue-ish cast to them. Very crisp-looking. That helps contribute to the fact that he’s healthy and in shape…”
Eddie’s primary shirt with this suit is a pale blue cotton twill Thomas Pink “Keaton Plain” Slim Fit shirt. The shirt has mitred 2-button cuffs and a front placket with stitched edges and blue buttons.
Thomas Pink is a wise choice for Eddie, who never wears ties with his suits. Pink’s site describes: “Inspired by non-tie wearers, Thomas Pink has designed a shirt that sits perfectly under a jacket. A tie performs several functions, one of which is that it handily keeps the shirt collar in place, especially when worn under the weight of a jacket. Take away the tie and the collar will collapse. Enter the Independent shirt with a collar specifically engineered to be worn independent of a tie. More robust than traditional collars, the Independent shirt collar is shaped to support itself.”
Multiple sources, including Nate D. Sanders’ auction photos and The Take, have confirmed Eddie’s shirt to be the Keaton model, which is still available from Pink’s site for $180 as of August 2015. Sanders’ auction, which ended in April 2014, describes the shirt as: “blue and white diagonal stripe long-sleeved shirt buttons up the front. Pink brand shirt in a slim fit is a size 16 1/2.” The “diagonal stripe” is an effect from the cotton twill fabric.
In an earlier scene when he goes to Van Loon’s office flanked by his bodyguards and gives a presentation, he wears a different shirt consisting of thin blue and white vertical stripes. This shirt is similarly styled with its strong collar, front placket, and button cuffs, but it appears to have a breast pocket.
Eddie’s black leather cap toe shoes are best seen when he is standing on the ledge of his apartment, in control of his own potential demise. They are clearly oxfords (or balmorals) with 5-eyelet closed lacing, although the manufacturer has been tough to track down. I heard an unsubstantiated rumor that Cooper wore mostly Cole Haan shoes in Limitless, so I checked their site even though it’s been five years since the production. Cole Haan does produce a “Cambridge” cap oxford in soft black leather that would look fine in any gentleman’s closet if he’s okay to part with $258.
Eddie’s dark socks appear to be blue, appropriately continuing the leg line from his trousers into his black shoes.
Eddie actually wears two solid dark blue suits; the other is easily differentiated by the slimmer jacket lapels and the trouser belt loops. It is only briefly seen when he initially hires his bodyguards and when he meets the detective in a restaurant about the murder.
Go Big or Go Home
…especially if that home is at a classic place like The Link, Eddie’s luxury high rise in Hell’s Kitchen. The address is 310 West 52nd Street, if you’re looking. The Link was developed by Elad Properties and opened in 2005 with 215 condos throughout its 44-story structure. According to Streeteasy.com, the sales price for these condos can range anywhere between $1 million and more than $5 million… so start saving.
How to Get the Look
Eddie’s simple look shows us how variations of a single color can look smart. It also speaks volumes about the power of good clothing without the need for frills like cuff links, belts, eyewear, or even a tie. All Eddie needs is a suit, a shirt, and a pair of shoes to be the best-dressed guy in the room.*
- Dark navy blue lightweight wool Tom Ford suit, consisting of:
- Single-breasted jacket with notch lapels, 3-roll-2 button front, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, ticket pocket, 5-button functioning “surgeon’s cuffs”, and long double rear vents
- Flat front trousers with fitted waistband, on-seam side pockets, button-through jetted rear pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Pale blue cotton twill Thomas Pink “Keaton Plain” slim fit shirt with large “independent” collar, front placket, no rear darts, and mitred 2-button cuffs
- Black leather 5-eyelet cap-toe oxford shoes
- Dark blue dress socks
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Buy the movie and check out Alan Glynn’s 2003 novel The Dark Fields, which served as the basis for Limitless and lent its title to the book Eddie publishes by the end. I haven’t yet read the book, but I purchased Limitless on a whim based on a suggestion from one of you fine commenters, and I’m certainly glad I did!
For a guy with a four digit IQ, I must have missed something. And I hadn’t missed much. I’d come this close to having an impact on the world. And now the only thing I’d have an impact on was the sidewalk.