Maestro: Does Bradley Cooper Smoke in Real Life?

In Netflix’s biographical drama film ‘Maestro,’ Bradley Cooper’s character Leonard Bernstein, one of the greatest musicians of his generation, is a chain smoker. Throughout the film, Bernstein appears with a cigarette between his fingers. He even gives conducting lessons while smoking. The period drama is not the only film in which Cooper’s character smokes extensively. In Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Nightmare Alley,’ the actor’s character Stanton “Stan” Carlisle smokes severely. In both these films, cigarettes are an integral part of the narratives, especially in ‘Maestro.’ Considering Cooper’s history of addiction, one may not help but wonder whether he still smokes!

Bradley Cooper Quit Cigarettes More Than a Decade Ago

Bradley Cooper quit cigarettes years ago. He joined the production of Joe Carnahan’s 2010 action-comedy film ‘The A-Team’ right after quitting cigarettes. However, the actor occasionally smoked cigars at the time. “When we were filming, Bradley Cooper had just quit cigarettes; I’d been off them for 15 years. So, I’d light a cigar for the scene and when the scene was over, I’d say to the props guy, ‘Take this away.’ And Bradley would say, ‘No, give it to me,’ and he’d smoke it,” Liam Neeson, Cooper’s co-star in the film, told Cigar Aficionado.

Cooper’s interest in cigars was noted by the police officers of the Schenectady Police Department, who were befriended by him while he was preparing to play a cop in Derek Cianfrance’s 2012 crime drama film ‘The Place Beyond the Pines.’ “He showed a genuine interest and desire to see what it is like to be a police officer; really, really attentive. I said, ‘Do you want to know what we’re really like?’ He said, ‘Absolutely.’ I said, ‘Alright.’ A couple of guys raided my humidors, and we enjoyed a cigar or two,” Lt. Mark McCracken with the Schenectady PD told WWLP.

Cooper must have used nicotine/tobacco-free cigarettes to portray Leonard Bernstein in ‘Maestro.’ He relied on non-addictive nicotine/tobacco-free herbal cigarettes to play Stan Carlisle in ‘Nightmare Alley.’ Since cigarettes were an unignorable part of Bernstein’s life, the actor-director couldn’t avoid them in the biographical drama. “Lenny’s voice dropped an octave as he got older, due to what happens as you age and also the amount of smoking he did. He started smoking when he was 13 and never stopped. He was the kind of guy who had ashtrays by the bathtub,” Cooper told Spike Lee, as per Variety. “Cigarettes are a character in the movie,” the actor added.

Cooper has been sober since 2004, the year he stopped consuming alcohol and drugs. “I was so lost. And I was addicted to cocaine, that was the other thing… I severed my Achilles tendon right after I got fired-slash-quit ‘Alias,’” Cooper said on ‘SmartLess,’ a podcast hosted by his friend Will Arnett, along with Jason Bateman and Sean Hayes. “I was lucky. I got sober at 29 years old, and I’ve been sober for 19 years. I’ve been very lucky,” the actor told Bear Grylls while appearing in National Geographic’s ‘Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge.’

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