‘American Sniper’ Star Bradley Cooper Refuses to Compromise his Sobriety for Film
As humans, we have already accepted the fact that we fall far below the line of perfection and that is okay. At some point in our life, we also figured out and accepted that life would be a rollercoaster. Cushioned by the grace of life and the many chances it gives us, Bradley Cooper has now been sober for 10 years. Cooper’s hard earned 10 years wasn’t a walk in the park, but it sure was a turning point in his career.
Films such as Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, The Hangover, Limitless and The Place Beyond the Pines were a few of the roles that made him a serious leading man. Prior to the years of his sobriety, during his day of Alias when he played the enterprising reporter Will Tippin, he felt that his alcohol abuse was taking a toll on his career. His screentime began to decrease overtime, until eventually he asked the series creator and executive producer to write him off the show.
Soon after, the actor suffered an achilles tendon tear where he spent most of his time in his livingroom on VicoDins watching TV accompanied by depression. This was Cooper’s lowest point and a place where he began his journey in recovery.
Cooper’s past struggles now allows him to face new and unique challenges. Cooper, now a Oscar nominated actor, admits that his past experiences helped him prepare for his most challenging role in his career in Clint Eastwood’s, American Sniper. Based on a true story, Cooper plays a NAVY sniper Chris Kyle. The movie is based on Kyle’s memoir, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S Military History.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Cooper talks about the mental and physical challenges he faced preparing for the role of Chris Kyle. Maintaining a sober lifestyle and the struggles from his father’s recent death helped him further reach the role. Cooper says that the loss that he experienced allowed him to be more compassionate and grateful for what he already has. Cooper also sees aging as a positive process, growing wiser and becoming a more balanced person.
In order to fit the role of NAVY Seal Chris Kyle, Cooper needed to gain 30 to 40 pounds of muscle. Originally, Cooper would’ve had a year to get into the role, but Clint Eastwood planned to shoot in Morocco 2 and a half months later, before the weather got too hot.
This meant that Cooper needed to pack 30 to 40 pounds of muscle in less than 3 months. This transformation seemed merely impossible without the help of supplements and drugs. Refusing to compromise his 10 years of sobriety, Cooper decided to take on the challenge naturally.
The immense amount of mental and physical conditioning he went through is unthinkable. For almost 3 months, Cooper worked out twice a day, once in the morning and another in the evening while sandwiched around speech exercises to perfect Kyle’s particular Texas accent that involved little parts of every Texas accent there is. Cooper listened to the same exact playlist that Kyle listened to while training in between shifts in Iraq.
By the end of the 2 and half months, Cooper went from 185 pounds to about 225 pounds, eating about 5,000 calories per day. By the end of his training, Cooper was able to deadlift 415 pounds, doing 5 sets of 8 reps. “I had a realistic conversation. Can I do this in three months naturally? Can I gain 30 pounds of fucking muscle? I didn’t know if I would be able to do it or not. Thank God—luckily—my fucking body reacted fast” Cooper says.
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