Bradley Cooper: “The Bottom Line Is That All I Got Is Me”
Bradley Cooper opens up about his struggles with addiction, the loss of his father, and his once flailing career in a candid interview in the January issue of Vanity Fair. The actor tells the magazine that his past challenges have helped prepare him for the role of of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle in American Sniper.
For the upcoming Clint Eastwood-directed film, Cooper had to put on 30 pounds of muscle without the use of stimulants. “I did it naturally because I’ve been sober for 10 years and didn’t want to do anything,” he tells the magazine. “I had a realistic conversation. Can I do this in three months naturally? Can I gain 30 pounds of f*cking muscle? I didn’t know if I would be able to do it or not. Thank God, luckily, my f*cking body reacted fast.”
Cooper says he realized he needed to stop trying to be something that he is not after his father’s death. “Losing someone close to me. Going through love and loss,” says the actor, is what made him understand that “the bottom line is that all I got is me, so it’s about time to stop trying to be something that I think you would want me to be. Or that would give me what I think I need. As you get older, thank God, your body deteriorates, but your soul sort of flourishes.” He continues, “I see life much more gray as I get older. I was so sort of black-and-white in my late 20s. There’s right and there’s wrong and that’s it. That’s a tough way to live.” Cooper adds, “It’s rare that I judge somebody, really rare. I think people feel that, so it’s sort of easy to get close to somebody if you don’t feel judged by them.”
Long before his rise to fame, Cooper had struggled with his career and even considered getting his Ph.D. in English, so he could teach literature. Cooper says being cast alongside Julia Roberts and Paul Rudd in the Broadway play Three Days of Rain in 2006 was “an amazing opportunity” that changed his career. He recalls telling himself, “If this doesn’t work, then I’m not supposed to do this for a living.”
Cooper credits the play with helping him move forward with his acting. “I always knew I wanted to be in the trenches with a director making the movie,” he says. “I always felt that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. I always knew deep down that if I’m not going to do that then I’m not too long for this business.” Cooper says he may one day find himself behind the camera, working as a director. His American Sniper co-star Sienna Miller tells Vanity Fair, “He’d be brilliant, but he’d be a nightmare [as a director]. He won’t let anyone get away with anything.” What do you think of Cooper’s comments?