LOS ANGELES: In the past five years, Bradley Cooper has played handsome leading men, a perm-coiffed 1970s cop, a sniper and a rogue raccoon. But playing a chef on a quest for a Michelin star in Burnt really turned the heat up on the actor.
“I had a background as a cook and I thought I knew that world, but it scared me to pull off that level of a chef, and if something scares you, it’s usually a sign that you should do it,” Cooper said. In Burnt, Cooper plays Adam Jones, a bad boy culinary genius led astray by the excesses of success. He’s given a chance to redeem himself of his drug-laced past and earn his third Michelin star with his own London restaurant.
To prepare for the role, Cooper, who speaks fluent French and showcases it in the film, spent time with top chefs, including Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsey and Clare Smyth. The actor said he learned the art of plating food and recognised how the “chef is a conductor” in a kitchen.
A chef’s quest for three Michelin stars is not like an actor striving for an Oscar, according to Cooper, who has been nominated for four of the honours in the past three years and is earning awards buzz again with this role. “The Michelin star actually is much more influential than an Oscar,” Cooper said. “The Michelin guide allows restaurants to sink or swim. They live and die by these stars.”
Unlike Adam Jones, whose fame came at a young age, Cooper had to wait until he was in his mid-30s for his breakout year in 2009 with The Hangover franchise. He was named People’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2011, earned Oscar nods for Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle and American Sniper, and voiced a leading role in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.