Now that award season is upon us, stars like Bradley Cooper are putting themselves out there in revealing features for the public’s consumption. In the case of Cooper, he might be going for his third Oscar nomination with American Sniper.
The Clint Eastwood directed film is a true story about the late Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, who Cooper portrays in the film. For the Silver Linings Playbook actor, he says struggling with addiction and coping with the death of his father in 2011 prepared him for this role unlike any other.
The actor sat down with Vanity Fair to talk about his past struggles, and how he’s learned from them over the years.
For Cooper it’s all about, “Losing someone close to me. Going through love and loss…knowing what’s important. Realizing 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.”
He continued, “As you get older, thank God, your body deteriorates, but your soul sort of flourishes.”
A big turning point in preparing for his role as Chris Kyle, was whether or not he was going to gain 30 pounds of muscle the natural way or if he was going to take supplements. This was a difficult decision to make for the actor who was living a sober life for ten years.
“I did it naturally because I’ve been sober for 10 years and didn’t want to do anything. I had a realistic conversation. ‘Can I do this in three months naturally? Can I gain 30 pounds of f–king muscle?’ I didn’t know if I would be able to do it or not. Thank God—luckily—my f–king body reacted fast.”
This isn’t the first time the actor spoke about his addiction. Back when he was promoting American Hustle he said he hit rock bottom while filming the spy television show Alias. At one point he wanted to kill himself.
“I was like, ‘I want to f—ing kill myself.'” At the time he struggled with drugs and alcohol. “If I continued it, I was really going to sabotage my whole life.”
In the end Cooper has learned an important lesson. “The one thing that I’ve learned in life is the best thing I can do is embrace who I am and then do that to the fullest extent, and then whatever happens, happens.”