Bradley Cooper has been in the news a lot lately for learning to sing and speak differently for A Star is Born. However, it was the work he had to put in for another drama, American Sniper, that actually shocked his celebrity trainer Jason Walsh. Walsh revealed in a recent interview that he never believed the actor would be able to physically personify Chris Kyle in American Sniper. He said:
For Bradley, it's all in. He wants to become that character. Chris Kyle, 225 pounds, military guy, highly respected and decorated. Bradley Cooper, 185 pounds wet, novice, never trained like this before. Not like this, not the kind of weight training we were gonna have to do. I'm going to be honest with you: This was the one that I was most worried about in my career. Because I didn't know if we could achieve what he wanted to achieve.
However, even though Jason Walsh never really believed that Bradley Cooper could get buff enough to capably play Chris Kyle, he told Vanity Fair that the two men got to work right away. Jason Walsh decided that a trap bar deadlift would be the lift they really honed in on along with to get him to a point where he could lift from the ground. Per Walsh:
We had almost 12 weeks total. I think it was the first eight weeks that we were doing two-a-days. I mean we had a lot. I thought, maybe 20, 25 pounds was doable in that time frame we had. Forty pounds heavier is a big deal. We had to get him moving, we had to get the weights going.
Ultimately, Bradley Cooper has shown a propensity to exceed expectations in all kinds of different movie roles. If you've seen American Sniper, you should know that Bradley Cooper got to the point where he was able to do the trap bar lift with 425 pounds, but it took a slew of 60-90 minute two-a-day workouts where he put his body through the ringer to get there.
Most of the time, Jason Walsh says the studios come to him about training someone for a movie. They have to figure out a lot of weird stuff. An example he gives is when Emily Blunt had to wear that huge exoskeleton for Edge of Tomorrow and they had to figure out workouts to help with the weight she would be carrying while filming.
For Bradley Cooper, it was less about needing to be mobile and more about needing to look like Chris Kyle, a former Navy SEAL and sniper who wrote the book American Sniper is based on. Chris Kyle was a large guy, bulky, who was later killed taking a vet who suffered from PTSD and schizophrenia to a shooting range.
When American Sniper came out in 2015, it was a big hit and the movie even earned awards nods, including a nomination for both Best Picture and for Bradley Cooper as Best Actor at the Oscars. Cooper also one a Critics Choice Award and an MTV Movie Award for the gig.