Hill Harper, Jennifer Carpenter and Jake McDorman in a scene from the TV series Limitless.
Hill Harper, Jennifer Carpenter and Jake McDorman in a scene from the TV series Limitless. Channel 10

TV series Limitless finds a new way of thinking

BRADLEY Cooper helped to hand-pick the new star of his TV series Limitless.

The Oscar nominee is an executive producer of the new show based on his 2011 movie of the same name, which followed a struggling writer's transformation into a finance wizard thanks to the mind-boosting powers of a mysterious drug called NZT.

"Bradley is very passionate and sort of sentimental about Limitless," creator Craig Sweeny tells APN.

"It's the first movie he carried to success as the leading man, so he holds the property close to his heart."

M9 Bradley Cooper stars in Relativity Media's LIMITLESS.
Bradley Cooper in a scene from the 2011 movie Limitless. John Baer

Cooper reprises his role as Eddie Morra, now a US Senator, for a recurring guest role in the show opposite rising star Jake McDorman.

The two actors met on the set of American Sniper, and Cooper championed for McDorman to get the role of Brian Finch, a mediocre musician who starts working for the FBI after he starts using NZT.

"It's now hard for me to imagine anyone else playing the part," Sweeny says.

"Bradley spoke up for Jake at the highest level, and he had a lot to do with Jake getting the part."

While Cooper is the Hollywood A-lister who has generated a lot of interest in the new series, which debuted to nearly 10 million viewers in the US, it's the work of Sweeny and his team that will keep viewers watching each week.

As the drama's show runner - a position popular with US TV productions that combines the roles of creator, producer and director - Sweeny was tasked with taking the film's concept in a new direction in the show.

"I thought about what the elements of the movie were that felt essential to me, and that I responded to," he says.

"The first was the style and panache of the visuals and the second was the story of a guy whose life was turned around 180 degrees by this drug.

"I really just took those two things - like if you boiled down Limitless, that's what would be left, and we built outwards from there."

The result is a series that mixes procedural crime drama with an over-arching, character-driven narrative.

"The challenge of Limitless the series is not to repeat yourself," he says.

"You don't want to see Brian jumping off a balcony every week. You want to see some new and amazing representation of his thoughts."

As the series continues, Brian becomes more beholden to Senator Morra, who supplies him with a shot that offsets the crippling side effects of NZT and allows him to continue using the drug to solve crimes.

Bradley Cooper in a scene from the TV series Limitless.
Bradley Cooper in a scene from the TV series Limitless. Channel 10

 "I think the difference between Eddie and Brian is when Eddie took NZT (in the movie) he was happy to leave the person he was behind," Sweeny says.

"He is a bit cold and calculating. He sees the world from what he would describe as a higher perspective.

"Brian, for whatever reasons, considers it important to hold on to the person he was before he was on NZT, which is a source of conflict between them.

"To walk away from the guy his father raised him to be would not be something Brian could live with."

Limitless airs Sundays at 8.40pm on Channel 10.