How Bradley Cooper's Acting Coach Taught Him to "Relax"

Elizabeth Kemp and Bradley Cooper

Posing for THR's Oscars Issue, the 'American Sniper' star and his longtime acting guru Elizabeth Kemp reveal the unusual technique she shared with him in 1997.

This story first appeared in the Feb. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

"I was never able to relax in my life before her," Bradley Cooper once said of Elizabeth Kemp, his longtime acting guru. Though the teacher-pupil dynamic ended when he graduated from the Actors Studio Drama School in 2000, Kemp, 56, has advised the 40-year-old star — in person or via Skype — on nearly every one of his film roles, including his Oscar-nominated performance in American Sniper.

This story first appeared in the Feb. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

"I was never able to relax in my life before her," Bradley Cooper once said of Elizabeth Kemp, his longtime acting guru. Though the teacher-pupil dynamic ended when he graduated from the Actors Studio Drama School in 2000, Kemp, 56, has advised the 40-year-old star — in person or via Skype — on nearly every one of his film roles, including his Oscar-nominated performance in American Sniper.

One technique she taught Cooper in 1997 was to take note of all his dreams for a week. "It's a way to prepare, to relax, to open up," she explains. In Sniper, "the performance is the under-layers," says Kemp. "You could feel them. Even if he's just standing there or sitting there or just staring at something. He actually transformed himself into Chris Kyle — not only the exterior but the inner life."

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