Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Bradley Cooper on “American Sniper” and “Elephant Man”: “This is All I’ve Got, the Best I Can Do”


The march to the Oscars is filled with disappointment. There are about 15 men who could be nominated for Best Actor. Only 5 will make it. What do we do?
On Monday at a luncheon for Clint Eastwood and “American Sniper”– at the Four Seasons– I asked Bradley Cooper about his outstanding performances in “Sniper” and on Broadway as “The Elephant Man.” He put it to me bluntly: “This is all I’ve got, this is the best I can do.”

And it’s pretty good, his best. Not only is he killing it– the play just extended its run right through Oscar Sunday February 22nd. But he also rates an Oscar nomination as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in “Sniper.” Eastwood’s meticulous and analytical direction tells the Kyle family story with grace and sensitivity. Cooper and Sienna Miller are outstanding as Chris and wife Tea.

At lunch, Tea Kyle joined a panel that included Eastwood and the cast, moderated by Anderson Cooper. This young widow is remarkably literate and vocal. Once you’ve met her, you understand “American Sniper.”

So far the Golden Globes and the Broadcast Critics haven’t had a lot of love for “Sniper.” I think this is so wrong. It may be in part to the fact that the National Board of Review over-pandered to it. But Cooper gives a great performance. He told us that playing Kyle –which required beefing up and changing his body– was a “science experiment.”

Cooper, an Actors Studio grad, totally absorbed being Kyle. It’s instructive to remember that this movie is based on Kyle’s book, “American Sniper.” The screenplay was written before Kyle was murdered by a SEAL who’d returned with mental issues. Kyle’s death was not what caused the book and movie to be made–it was his life as a family man who returned home after four tours of duty to be with his family.

Meantime, it was grand to catch up with Clint. An amazing 84 years old, he’s had two movies this year. So now what? “Skiing with my family,” he said, giving me his trademark squint. “I need a break, don’t you think?” Yes, sir!

See Garland Jeffreys’ special New Year’s Eve show at Joe’s Pub!


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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