In original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo director Niels Arden Oplev’s new crime thriller, Dead Man Down, Dominic Cooper plays Darcy, a character that is described as a hipster gangster and a man on a mission.

We spoke to Cooper (The Devil’s Double, Captain America, and numerous stage productions) about the film, what set’s Dead Man Down apart from the rest, his director, and whether we’ll see Howard Stark in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Cooper on what sets Dead Man Down apart:

I think for me, what sets it apart is having quite an in depth relationship with who those people are. We’re quite familiar with their plight and who they are and what they represent.

From my perspective, my guy is a completely sort of… I hope that you have some sort of care for him, even though he’s a criminal. He’s a lost guy and a lost guy that’s probably comes from a place that lacks any sort of love or care and he’s lost this girl and [thats] a sort of subject matter that we can all, kind of, relate too.

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Next, I asked Cooper about how he chooses projects and what matters most to him: a good director or a good cast.

On Niels Arden Opply:

You can, kind of, assess someone’s work — in terms of a director — when you watch their most recent film, and in this case it was the Dragon Tattoo, which I thought was incredibly moving.

I’m trying to work out how I met him. There was a very clear impression quite early on. It’s such an incredibly tough job. I’m always in awe of how many decisions are thrown upon them and how much they have to contend with — as artists — in that very short state of time.

When you meet someone, you kinda know. You just immediately and instinctively know, and sometimes you get it wrong, but you know whether that person can handle that kind of material, or whether their vision of it… and whether you believe in that vision and whether you believe that they can achieve what that vision is. With him: he’s a very clever man and a very funny man as well. I just believed that his sensibilities would achieve what this film needed to have.

On Noomi Rapace:

Knowing Noomi’s work, and instinctively knowing that I’d, kind of, get on with her — and we couldn’t have gotten on any better — that always helps when you’re thrown into those kinds of environments.

Of course, you do have to consider those things, and if you like someone’s work and you think that you can stare into that person’s eyes and be in a sort of fantasy land — a make believe land but its embedded in reality — then you’re onto a winner.

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As time wound down, I snuck in one last question to ask Cooper about Hayley Atwell’s rumored flashback cameo in Captain America: Winter Soldier and whether there was any chance that we might see him make an appearance in the film to play young Howard Stark again:

Yeah, they mentioned that, they mentioned it to me. But I don’t know how… I’m too busy. I’m trying to film, I’m filming at the moment, everyday, and I’m really trying to make it work but I think I’m stuck in Budapest, so at the moment its really, really tough, like I don’t know how I’m going to achieve it.

I don’t know how I’m going to get to… yeah, there was talk of it, and now I don’t know whether I can, which will be really annoying because I loved being part of those. You know, I think it it was such an incredible time, and I think — you know the first one — they did such an incredible job of it. So, I will try my hardest to get Stark back into a flashback sequence or some description, but its proving rather difficult in terms of scheduling at the moment.

Dead Man Down stars Colin Farrell, Terrence Howard, Noomi Rapace, and Dominic Cooper. It premiers in theaters this Friday, March 8th.