Bradley Cooper Always Knew He Was Going to Work with Clint Eastwood

The American Sniper actor—who was one of W’s February 2015 cover stars—opens up about learning how to shoot a gun, working with Clint Eastwood, and playing the “killing machine” Chris Kyle.

Released on 2/12/2015

Credits

Starring: Bradley Cooper

Transcript

00:04
I didn't grow up shooting guns.
00:05
I tried to talk my father into sending me
00:07
to the Valley Forge Military Academy when I was a kid.
00:09
And only because of movies, because of war movies.
00:12
There was something about Vietnam movies,
00:13
Platoon, Apocalypse Now, Deer Hunter,
00:16
where I thought there was something these soldiers had.
00:18
This understanding about life that I wanted to have.
00:22
There was something in their eyes.
00:23
I don't know, there's just something
00:24
I was always fascinated with.
00:25
Every time I could talk to a Vietnam vet
00:27
I would ask them a million questions.
00:29
I actually fell in love with the training
00:31
of an M4 machine gun.
00:33
We never trained with live ammo for the A-Team.
00:34
In this movie, I did.
00:36
The shoot of A-Team was long.
00:37
It was a six-month shoot, and we had two months prep,
00:41
or a month prep, so I spent every second
00:43
I wasn't on set, training.
00:46
None of it was in the movie. (laughs)
00:48
I don't even think I'd shot anything in the movie. (laughs)
00:50
I shot like once inside a train station.
00:52
Now I know what it's like to shoot a sniper rifle,
00:55
and I really loved the aspect of a Western-like story
00:59
in a war setting, and that it's a character study.
01:03
It felt a lot like Unforgiven to me, in many ways.
01:06
Your hero who's conflicted, who is not very verbose.
01:11
All of it is probably gonna be in the eyes.
01:13
That kind of thing.
01:14
Dealing with a family life, what he does for a living,
01:17
and then going out in country to do something.
01:19
He's in a way, a killing machine.
01:21
At that point, the only way I was gonna get it made
01:23
is if I said I would do it.
01:24
Chris Pratt was always the guy in my mind
01:26
who I thought would've been perfect to play Chris.
01:28
He's much bigger, and he just to me,
01:30
looked like Chris to me.
01:31
I mean I sat across from his father Wayne
01:34
who just said you know,
01:36
you know you're half the size of my son,
01:38
and you don't sound a god-damn thing like him,
01:41
so I don't know how you're gonna do it.
01:43
Clint just happened to be reading the book recreationally
01:46
while he was shooting Jersey Boys.
01:48
So I called Clint on a Friday.
01:52
Now I had auditioned for Clint Eastwood movies
01:54
since Flags of our Fathers.
01:55
I put myself on tape.
01:56
I put myself on tape to play
01:57
the Irish priest in Gran Torino.
01:59
And I put myself on tape to play J. Edgar's lover,
02:02
which Armie Hammer killed, by the way, it was right.
02:05
But I remember that was the closest I'd got.
02:06
For some reason I always had this idea
02:08
that I was gonna work with Clint Eastwood,
02:10
and I know that sounds crazy, but I just had this feeling.
02:12
And when that didn't happen I thought, oh man.
02:14
So I called Clint on a Friday, and I said hey Clint.
02:17
And he said, yeah he said,
02:18
yeah I'm reading this sniper book,
02:21
and I like it, yeah, yeah.
02:24
Why don't you call me on Monday?
02:27
We'll talk about it.
02:28
I said okay Clint, I'll call you on Monday.
02:29
And then Monday came around, called him,
02:33
watched Unforgiven over the weekend just to get re-juiced.
02:37
It was a very short conversation.
02:38
He just said, alright let's make this fucker.
02:42
And that was it.
02:43
You know what I did?
02:44
I have to say, I cried a little bit.
02:45
I mean come on, it's Clint Eastwood.
02:47
It's pathetic, but yeah, I did.
02:49
He and I got along like right off the bat.
02:51
I felt so comfortable with him.
02:53
I always thought, 'cause you know,
02:54
you always see these guys walk in movies.
02:55
And I always thought, God he walks like my dad.
02:57
You know, his hands were always sort of very loose
02:59
by his sides as he walks?
03:01
My dad did the same thing.
03:02
Matter of fact, I had just went to Walter Reed
03:04
when I got the call that Chris was murdered.
03:07
We had just shown Silver Linings to a bunch of vets there,
03:09
which is so crazy.
03:11
People who aren't really familiar with the plight of a vet,
03:14
seeing this movie, maybe you would think twice
03:16
the next time they see a vet walking past them.
03:18
You know, you're often in those airports.
03:20
It's so interesting.
03:21
There's just some guy sitting at the bar
03:22
and you think, what's his story?
03:23
The game's on, it's another day, you know?
03:25
And you don't even realize where this guy just came from.
03:28
And the fact that he just can't come home yet.
03:30
Somebody who has gone through it
03:32
who feels isolated and alone could look at this story
03:34
of this guy and think, oh wow,
03:36
I can relate to this guy's story.
03:38
If we could tick both of those boxes, total success.