Joseph A. Cooper is a trained NASA pilot with an engineering background, and the pilot of the interstellar expedition. Cooper has two children, Tom Cooper and Murphy Cooper. He is portrayed by actor Matthew McConaughey.
Not much is known of Cooper's early life except that when he was growing up there were no baseball games played due to Food Riots among other things.
About ten years before the launch of the Endurance, Cooper worked for NASA as a test pilot. The test-bed he used was a prototype Ranger, while over The Straits, a gravitational anomaly caused him to crash the spacecraft. While at NASA, Cooper became acquainted with Dr. John Brand.
Cooper is roughly 35 at the time of launch of the Endurance. At first, he was very dismissive about Murph's fixation on a "ghost" in her room. Eventually he was swayed by odd occurrences around his household. Including a set of coordinates given to him in binary which led to the new headquarters facility for NASA.
He set out to find the facility and was accompanied by his daughter. Upon attempting to break into the facility, Cooper was tazed by TARS and taken to a makeshift holding area where he was met by Amelia Brand. It was at this point where he reconnected with her father John and given information on the Lazarus and Endurance missions. Though his loyalties naturally lied with Murph, John did not have to do much convincing that if he wanted to save his daughter's life Cooper needed to "get out there and save them." Murph was very much resistant toward the idea of her father leaving them. Cooper refused to tell Murph the true reason behind his leaving, inadvertently causing the two to depart on less than ideal terms.Cooper joined Amelia, Doyle and Romilly on a Ranger launched into low Earth orbit to conserve fuel for the trip to Saturn and beyond. He sent one final message back to Earth before sleeping all the way to Saturn. Once reawakened, he learned that his son Tom was advancing through school and that Murph was still not interested in speaking with him.
Once the crew of the Endurance transited the wormhole, Cooper suggested an alternative route that was unanimously agreed upon. The plan was to park the Endurance in orbit of Miller in order to conserve time and fuel. They continued further and traveled to Miller, which orbited extremely close to the black hole Gargantua. While on the surface of the water world it became immediately apparent that Dr. Miller was killed by a massive wave minutes in relative time. Cooper unknowingly sealed the rear door of their Ranger which saved Amelia and CASE but killing Doyle. Amelia and Cooper sat for many minutes before taking off from the planet and returning to the Endurance to discover 23 years had passed.
Cooper sat for some time watching video clips of his son Tom, he was very distraught about seeing his son literally grow up in mere minutes. After the final clip from Tom played, a subsequent video message from Murph was uploaded showing her still harboring animosity toward her father but claiming to have come to terms with his vacancy. He was very pained by the fact that the only reason Murph messaged him was to relay to him that she was now the same age he was when he had left Earth.
Sometime later, Cooper met with Romilly and Amelia to discuss a contingency plan now that so much time had passed and fuel was much more depleted than they originally thought. Cooper made the calculated decision to head for Mann's planet as opposed to Edmunds' planet refusing to agree with Amelia's suggestion that she was destined to meet her former lover on Edmunds. Amelia spoke to him later criticizing his objectivity and told him that she hoped that he would be objective when the time came to choose between the survival of the human race and seeing his daughter again.
Upon arrival on Mann, Cooper and the Endurance crew re-awoke Dr. Mann whom was grateful for being rescued. Though the facade wore off and Mann's true intentions became known. Mann later attempted to murder Cooper after learning that he intended to return to Earth. The two men fought as the cowardly Mann broke Cooper's helmet visor which would cause him to suffocate and die. He was able to call Amelia to come and save him then pursue Mann to the Endurance after recovering TARS from the compound. Mann was then killed when the rear door of Ranger 1 depressurized. Cooper saw that the explosion left the Endurance in a rapid spin which he accounted for by speeding their lander fast enough to match the rotation speed and slow the ship down.
When they re-entered the Endurance, Cooper made the decision to slingshot around Gargantua towards Edmunds' planet in an effort for Amelia to carry out plan B. Cooper detached from the Endurance in Ranger 2 and fell into the black hole which actually transported him into a bulk space zone TARS termed as the Tesseract. While inside the maze, he saw his daughter at various points in time and with the aid of TARS, he was successful in manipulating certain strings of time allowing Murph to reconcile gravity and quantum mechanics. Immediately afterward, the Tessaract closed and Cooper was transported to the wormhole revealing that he was the one that "shook hands" with Amelia.
Cooper was then found by two Ranger scouts near Saturn, he was taken to Cooper Station for recovery. His attending physician informed him that Murph was still alive and was en route from another station. The 22nd century was familiar to him yet strange. He met with an Administrator whom took him on a tour of the station and offered him the replica of his old place. Within two weeks, Cooper grew increasingly weary of his time on the station prior to reconnecting with his death-bed ridden daughter whom suggests that he "find Brand." Taking this to heart, Cooper stole a next generation Ranger and set out for the wormhole in search of Brand.
The name Joseph A. Cooper is the full name of the character featured in the script, in that version, they mention that Cooper Station is in fact Space Station Joseph A. Cooper.
According to some sources, Cooper was born in 2032, making him roughly 35 when the Endurance launches in 2067. He is 124 on Cooper Station in the year 2156.