Bradley Cooper Talks 'American Sniper,' How It Changed His Life

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Bradley Cooper talked with People magazine recently about the experience of playing Chris Kyle in the film American Sniper. More importantly, the actor dished about how the privilege of playing such a role ultimately changed his life. In addition to putting on weight, becoming a proficient target shooter, and studying with a voice coach for the role, Cooper maintains he walked away a better man.

"I've always been interested on a personal level in helping our vets. I've been a part of USO on tours for over eight years," he said. "I had an appreciation for veterans before this, but what I definitely did not know is the toll that it takes on the family."

Bradley Cooper and Chris Kyle's widow, Taya Kyle, hosted screenings of American Sniper for veterans all around the country.

"People were willing to express themselves in a format that they would never do normally," Cooper said. "But because they saw Chris's story, they were willing to say, 'Thank you for putting a guy I can relate to up there and have it be something right away that I know is accurate.' "

"It's been life changing," the actor added.

He is thrilled with how American Sniper resonates with veterans.

"People who see it can relate to it and go, 'Well, if he goes through that, then maybe it's okay that I'm going through that," Bradley Cooper says. "'If his family had to deal with that stuff, then maybe I am not alone.' That's a lot of what Chris was doing when he got home. He was telling his story. He got his life together, and a lot of that is when he found a purpose in being able to help vets."

Taya Kyle says Bradley Cooper "gets it."

"He went above and beyond just acting in a role. He got into the mind and heart of Chris. You can't do that and not come out with a special appreciation for guys who lost a limb for this," she explained.

Cooper says being nominated for an Oscar for his role as Chris Kyle is only part of the thrill of having starred in American Sniper. It means much more to him than that.

"I would be lying if I said I didn't get emotional when I heard my name and saw Chris's picture up there," Bradley Cooper said. "I thought, 'Thank God,' because I felt the role merited that. I just hoped I did a good enough job for the Academy to recognize that his story is worthy to be a part of these other people's stories."

Have you seen Bradley Cooper in American Sniper yet? Do you think he'll win the Oscar for his portrayal of Chris Kyle?

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.