From being named People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” to earning three consecutive Oscar nominations, Bradley Cooper has had quite an interesting career. His big blue eyes have always won over the hearts of swooning fans, but Cooper had to pay his dues for many years to lead up to the critical-acclaim he has earned today. With roles such as the distant war hero Chris Kyle in the controversial American Sniper to a struggling bipolar man just released from a psychiatric hospital in Silver Linings Playbook, Cooper has shown a range of acting skills in the last few years that arguably had not been expected in the past.
The 40-year-old actor had his up and downs, starring in minor roles of a diverse assortment of characters. Living past the pretty-boy persona can be a difficult feat but despite Cooper’s own personal struggles he has far surpassed that, showing the world that he is a capable and talented actor. His days of being the beau to some famous actress are over, and now he is front and center. So here are 10 awesome things you probably never knew about Bradley Cooper.
He Auditioned For Green LanternThough talks of Bradley Cooper in the running for an upcoming Green Lantern role are currently traveling through the internet, this wouldn’t be the first time the actor auditioned for the part. Back in 2009, Cooper was a frontrunner against Ryan Reynolds for the titular role in Green Lantern. He told Conan O’Brien on The Tonight Show (via MTV) that during his audition he couldn’t help but imitate Christian Bale’s Batman:
I couldn't not do Christian Bale's Batman when I was doing the audition. I don't know what it was! I put a mask on and the director was like, 'Okay Bradley, be regular and talk.' And I was like, 'Yeah, got it... [in a deep, gravely Batman voice] listen, Sally, we're going to have to take your family away if you don't listen to me!' By the way, that's the worst Batman [impression] ever. I apologize.
He Gained 40 Pounds For His American Sniper RoleFor his role as Chris Kyle, Bradley Cooper put on about 40 pounds of pure muscle to resemble the war hero. He had two workouts a day of two hours each and instead of having a year, Cooper only had three months of prep before shooting started. Cooper told Vanity Fair that during his workouts he listened to the exact same playlist that Chris Kyle had when he worked out in between shifts as a navy SEAL. He ate 5,000 calories a day and by the end of his time working out he was able to deadlift 415 pounds for five sets of eight reps. He even learned how to hold and shoot the various weapons Kyle used from former navy Seals who served with him. He kept in character the entire shoot.
He Missed Graduation To Be In Wet Hot American SummerWhile Bradley Cooper was finishing up his MFA at The New School, he was beginning his acting career. He had taken some small guest role appearances on TV shows and even served as a presenter for a travel-adventure series called Globe Trekker But his film debut came in the cult classic comedy, Wet Hot American Summer. The problem was that filming happened to be right around the time Cooper graduated. He joked with GQ saying he missed his graduation to “get fucked in the ass by Michael Ian Black”.
He Asked J.J. Abrams To Write Him Off AliasBradley Cooper asked J.J. Abrams to write him off of Alias because he thought that he was going to fire him anyways. He explained in his GQ interview that his part grew less substantial as the show progressed and it nearly ended his career. Because of his aggravation he asked to be written off despite having no future jobs lined up, and within a couple weeks he ended up tearing his Achilles while playing basketball and spend the next year on his couch debating whether or not to quit acting all together.
His Most Difficult Role Was In The HangoverFor an actor who has played a bipolar man, an experienced war hero, and an FBI agent, it’s hard to believe that Bradley Cooper’s found his most difficult role to be that of a sunglass-rocking teacher named Phil. Cooper told The Guardian that his role in the box office hit The Hangover was actually his most difficult yet. He said:
That guy is so different from me. I'm always amazed by it, actually. When I look at that character on screen, I don't see me at all.
James Lipton Knew He’d Be FamousJames Lipton, host of Inside the Actors Studio predicted Bradley Cooper’s stardom. Not only was he sitting in on the auditions during Cooper’s application to the masters program, but he was particularly drawn to Cooper’s performance. According to Vanity Fair, after Cooper’s master’s thesis performance (which he performed scenes from The Elephant Man) Cooper’s mother asked Lipton what he thought and Lipton responded:
He’s going to go all the way. I never predicted that for any other student.
He Was In Sex And The City And Learned To Drive StickBradley Cooper’s first TV appearance when he moved to New York was in an early episode of Sex and the City where he played one of Sarah Jessica Parker’s hunky love interests. Cooper told The Guardian that upon landing the role there was one very specific thing that it required, “no tongues”. In a Backstage interview he divulged that he had a big problem with his newly earned role though, in that he didn’t know how to drive stick shift. He quickly went to a driving school in Manhattan, but it didn’t work out too well, and a stand-in had to drive instead.
He Knew He Wanted To Be An Actor After Seeing Elephant ManBradley Cooper knew he wanted to be an actor after seeing David Lynch’s The Elephant Man when he was 12 years old. He told Vanity Fair that he was sitting on the red couch in his living room sobbing and aware of the dignity and humanity of John Merrick, even though Cooper himself was still so young. And Cooper actually just recently revived the role of John Merrick in the Broadway revival of the Bernard Pomerance play The Elephant Man.
He Was A Doorman At Morgans Hotel When He First Moved To New YorkWhen he moved New York to study acting at the New School, Bradley Cooper worked nights at the Morgans Hotel in Manhattan. He told Esquire that every night he carried had to carry a bunch matches and as a new guest was welcomed he would have to relight all the votive candles and scurry to the door for them. Many celebrities stayed there as well, and one night he welcomed Leonardo DiCaprio who was hot off his Titanic role, and all Bradley could think about was how different the two actors were.
He’s Super SmartNot only is Bradley Cooper fluent in French (which has blown up the internet), but he also graduated with honors from Georgetown with an English degree. He told GQ he wrote his thesis on Nabokov's Lolita and he didn’t participate in much drama in high school or at Georgetown, but was more of an athlete up until he went for his MFA. Cooper somewhat randomly applied for his master’s at the Actors Studio Drama School in New York almost as a joke, but ended up getting in. Even during his acting career he has contemplated going back to school to get his Ph.D. in English and teaching literature.