There are stories that are not told in a script but whose content makes for a dramatic (and long) movie. The life of Bradley Cooper, for example, it could be a saga. In 2018 the whole world applauded him with A star has been born, a film in which he starred alongside Lady Gaga and in which he made his directorial debut. What no one thought was that behind Jackson Maine, that character tormented by addictions, was hiding a piece of his life, one of the harshest and most dramatic.
Because if the actor understands something, it is tragedies and misfortunes. He experienced them in pairs from childhood to adulthood and that almost cost him his career, his illusion and his very existence.
When you see Bradley smile, the first thing that comes to mind, besides the good job his parents did, is that he is a happy guy. And so it is. But reaching this point at 46 has cost him a lot of work, and not exactly acting. Illnesses, accidents, painful losses, addictions, he has lived it all, but does not like to rejoice in it or wear medals. He is one of those who prefers to turn the page and keep what he has learned. That is why in his interviews it seems that he does everything possible to avoid uncomfortable questions, as if he does not like to dwell on the sordid chapters of his life, which there are, and a few.
He has overcome all of them with a lot of effort and suffering, two disciplines in which he has a master’s degree. That habit of constantly battling from a young age is what has made him have tanned skin and not give in to challenges, both personal and professional. So when he was advised not to direct the third adaptation of A star has been born because it involved too much risk, he jumped into the pool. “They told me it would be too difficult and that I should start with something easier. Luckily, I didn’t listen. I loved that this movie was very difficult to make, very much. Otherwise it would not have the same value. And that has always been my goal: to do something, no matter how difficult, that will be remembered.“, he explained to W Magazine.
The conclusion is very nice but getting there involved a few falls. One of the hits that nearly knocked him out was his struggle with alcohol and drugs. It happened at the beginning of the new millennium. He had already made his first steps in acting with a debut in the acclaimed Sex in the city and recognition as an actor in the series Alias, in which he landed a fixed character in the main cast as Jennifer Garner’s best friend. His career was taking off, but his life with that heavy slab called Hollywood where you leave the rest to get your star, would take its toll. Too much to prove. “I was so worried about what others would think of me, how I made an impression and how I would survive that day. I always felt like a stranger, I lived in myself. I realized that I was not going to be able to measure up and that terrified me. I said to myself: ‘I’m going to ruin my life, I’m going to ruin it‘”, He said in an interview with The Hollywood reporter.
You had to pretend that you were up to the task and that there were no fears. We are talking about Hollywood, the Mecca of cinema where dreams come true, so there was no room for error and weakness. “I remember one day I was at a party and purposely banged my head on the ground as if to imply ‘Hey, look how strong I am!’ I got up and started bleeding, but I did it again. I ended the night at the San Vicente Hospital with an ice pack and waiting for them to put some stitches on me”He continued. He is very clear that if he did not stop, he would have destroyed his career, his existence and all that promising future that lay ahead. “If I continued down that path I was going to sabotage my life“, Recognized the magazine GQ.
That world full of superficialities was too big and bleak. Suddenly you are and then you are not. Today I like you, tomorrow I don’t. You go from love to oblivion in tenths of a second. He lived it first hand in Alias, where it went from being one of the essentials to almost an extra. His little affinity with JJ Abrams, director of the series, and subsequent rupture of the Achilles tendon that kept him resting for a year without being able to do anything made him come to a simple conclusion. “There comes a point where you think the business just doesn’t want you in there, period.”, He told the same publication. It was at this time of insecurity and weakness that the addictions were accentuated and became his allies.
Despite this close relationship with alcohol and certain substances, whose names he does not want to remember, they never accompanied him to the filming. “No no no no no. If you mean something like, am I late? No, not that”, He clarified in the same interview. The way it did affect his work was not with irresponsible acts, but when it came to doing his roles and giving them depth. He channeled then, and continues to do so now, everything lived in his stories. In fact when he talks about A star has been born recognizes that there is much of its lights and shadows behind Jackson Maine, its protagonist. “The stories that exist in this story come from a very deep personal place and that is the only way I know how to communicate with people.”, Revealed to The New York Times.
To impregnate in his characters and his different works a piece of him is perhaps one of the keys to his success. But first he had to learn to accept who he was and what he was like, without shame or fear. “One thing I’ve learned in life is that the best thing I can do is embrace who I am, give my best, and whatever happens, then what happens. The Fewer Steps I Take, The Further I Will Be From Reaching My Potential”, He expressed to GQ. In other words, what do you fall for? Well you get up, but if you don’t try, you will never know what you are capable of.
Since he was 29 years old, that was 17 years ago, he has not had a drink or tasted anything illegal. “Being sober helps a lot”, Recognized THR. But where they see him, it is not the first personal war with which he has to deal. Shortly after birth, his parents discovered that he had cholesteatoma, a benign tumor that alters a large part of the ear membrane. It didn’t help that years later, while diving, he got his ear pierced. “I had 4 or 5 operations from 5 to 18 years old. I have a hole in my eardrum and I can’t swim without earplugs”, He detailed to THR. He was not deaf by sheer miracle.
The chain of tragedies did not end with his hearing somewhat touched. This handsome boy named the sexiest man by People magazine, was about to lose that beautiful face that made his way on celluloid and television. A serious accident in his childhood was about to leave him disfigured. His face was shattered when a crystal chandelier fell on him at the age of 15. “I could not move part of my face for 6 months. I had plastic surgery”, He explained to the same medium. If you look closely, the scars remain all over his face and for a long time they also remained on his self-esteem, which was damaged. However, today he displays them with pride and with that wonderful security that only the years give.
This series of events, not exactly very pleasant, also had a lot to do with those dark years of the actor. It all adds up. But he didn’t wait to hit rock bottom or for something terrifying to happen in his life to get out of that tunnel. He realized before a catastrophe happened. The love of his family, specifically his parents, Charles and Gloria, and the passion for his career, for which he had prepared at Georgetown University and at the Actor’s Studio in New York, would prevail over everything else. He fell in love with acting at age 12, when he saw David Lynch’s movie, The elephant Man, a story that a few decades later, exactly in 2014, he was able to star in himself, this time in the theater.
It is the living example that dreams are not gifted or rain from the sky, but thanks to those pebbles on the road it is that one grows and heals. When in 2005 he played the tyrant Zachary in The wedding crashers He had the opportunity to pour out all that anger that, for one thing or another, he was dragging along. The character was not the protagonist, but he became one of the most popular and the most hated! And although that opened doors for him and led to interesting opportunities like A rocker of balls O Bride by contractIt was not until 2009 that his Hollywood career did not take the triple somersault. His entrance to the temple of the stars was with Hangover in Las Vegas, the comedy directed by Todd Phillips that marked a before and after in his hectic life. Everything he had done before seemed anecdotal. Part II, in Thailand, and Part III followed, but neither had the same impact as the first.
The world fell at his feet, and his eyes. We discover a funny, resourceful and full of possibilities Brad. But not only us, he also realized what he could do. Just when he began to enjoy not only the honeys of a more mature success but the arrival of truly capricious roles in which he would even debut as a producer, life would have another trick for him: the death of his father. An episode that everyone experiences at some point in their life, but that in their case occurred, once again, as if it were a movie scene.
Charles Cooper, a successful stockbroker, died in his arms in 2011. The experience, far from traumatic as many of us might think, was so enriching and magical that, in his own words, it took a radical turn in his life. “It was everything, it was the greatest gift he gave me, well the second after bringing me into this life. That he allowed me to witness his death like that was gigantic”, He told Oprah Winfrey deeply moved. “His head was here (points to his arm) and literally when he took his last breath I felt like he was getting into me. I’ve never felt anything like it since then”, He described.
The death of his father filled him with life despite the pain of the loss of a loved one. From that moment on, his existence took on another meaning and he began to see things in a different way, much more pleasant and less tragic. “Changed everything“, Asserted the protagonist of The Sniper. Few experiences have been so unique, magical and special for the actor. Only one resembles him in his own words, and that is fatherhood. In 2017 the interpreter and his then partner, supermodel Irina Shayk, had their princess Lea.
It was another personal event that filled him with desire for everything and infinite illusions. This is how the Oscar-winning producer perceived it Joker -May we not forget this little great detail from your resume-. Swapping the roles from the scripts for diapers was transformative. “It changed everything. Our daughter is amazing and I see my father in her very often”He expressed to Ellen DeGeneres in an interview on his show. “It has helped me embrace my childish side without any fear of judgments “, he highlighted. Since then, like a child, he has enjoyed cartoons, meaningless games and everything that enhances innocence, the one that we should never completely lose.
His daughter not only awakened his most childish side, but also helped him in some way to develop his character Rocket with more enthusiasm in the second installment of Guardians of the Galaxy and in Avengers: Infinity war.
And, at this point in the game, Bradley has achieved much more than that insecure and fearful young man was capable of imagining. Actor, producer, director and father in love, what more could you ask for? Well, as we wear, an Oscar. Despite his 8 nominations for the golden statuette, this one resists him, and it will not be because of a job well done. The closest he got was with the one that Lady Gaga won for his song Shallow. An issue that may have worried you before, but not now. This frustrated military man and believer to the core no longer needs external recognition to be happy. He has more than shown that hers is more than just a pretty face and that awards are not always given to the best. Life’s achievements, in the end, are the most satisfying.
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Bradley Cooper’s Chain of Misfortunes