Four-time Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper has a reputation for going full bore for the big screen. In the forthcoming cooking drama Burnt, Cooper plays first-class chef Adam Jones, an ultra-demanding culinary virtuoso trying to keep his past addictions behind him as he strives to earn the food world’s coveted three-star Michelin rating. (Watch the exclusive trailer above!) As Cooper described to Yahoo Movies during a recent phone interview, he brought as much intensity to the kitchen in Burnt as he did to the battlefields in American Sniper, and to the stage in last year’s Tony-nominated The Elephant Man.
What’s your relationship with food and cooking in real life?
When I was a kid I would screw up cooking with my grandmother. It was an Italian family, so cooking was a huge part of it. Being around food is very soothing to me. My grandfather had a garlic business. I grew up with that environment, and it reminds me of my childhood.
For Burnt, did you go as hard-core as you did for American Sniper in terms of training?
We shot this in-between American Sniper and The Elephant Man. I didn’t have as much time to prep, but I was able to spend a month living and breathing it. [But] the thing that really paid off was the fact that I’d been doing research since I was a kid, working in restaurants. I was a busboy at a Greek restaurant and a prep cook at an [Italian] restaurant called Mirabella’s in Somers Point, New Jersey. I’d be there from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., just cooking. And having shot a TV show [Fox’s Kitchen Confidential, which aired in 2005] where I prepped then, too. For that I got to cook at Le Halles [in New York], which is the restaurant Anthony Bourdain cooked at. … For Burnt, I had access to [celebrity chefs] Marco Pierre White, Marcus Wareing, Gordon Ramsay, and Clare Smyth. These are all Michelin-star chefs. It’s a whole other world.
How do your skills measure up with the pros?
I actually learned how much I can’t cook by doing this film. You sit through one session with Clare Smyth, and you realize this is a level of execution that’s world class. To get three Michelin stars is literally almost impossible. The level of perfection, discipline, and sacrifice is incredible.
Did you model your character after anybody?
I created a guy I see as a mixture of the three guys I studied: Marcus Wareing, Gordon Ramsey, and Marco Pierre White. He’s a combination. Little things he does, physical things, are basically things I stole from all three of those guys… It wasn’t conscious, but going back and watching the movie I see, “Oh yeah: That’s him… that’s him … [and] that’s him.”
Read the entire interview at the Source