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The Chris Cooper Bio

The Chris Cooper Review –

by Nate Lee

Best Film:

Lone Star / Breach
& American Beauty

Adaptation is brilliant, and Cooper certainly helps in his vital supporting role, and actually makes up for Meryl Streep being miscast. Bourne Identity, Seabiscuit, and Matewan likewise owe a debt to his superb character-building. American Beauty is even better a film, and relies on Cooper in a supporting role. Lone Star is a superior film that is centered by Cooper, as is Breach, which summons up all of Cooper's best characters and characteristics into one, ironically real-life, character.

Great Performances You May Not Have Seen:
Matewan (union organizer in 1920s coal town of Matewan, West Virginia)

Lone Star (a sheriff trying to solve a decades-old crime involving his father)

Breach (FBI agent and traitor Robert Hanssen)

A Time To Kill (Small-town Southern deputy)

Jarhead (Lt. Col Kazinski)

The Company Men (laid-off businessman)
American Beauty (SAG-winning performance as an unbalanced ex-Marine colonel and neighbor of Kevin Spacey)

Adaptation (Oscar, SAG and Golden Globe-winning performance as John Laroche, an orchid hunter, opposite Meryl Streep)

Seabiscuit (SAG-nominated performance as horse trainer Tom Smith)

The Horse Whisperer (Robert Redford's younger brother)

Bourne Identity (CIA Special Ops chief Conklin)

The Kingdom (a government agent)

Capote (Kansas FBI agent)

Patriot (a Colonial colonel in American Revolution, opposite Mel Gibson)

Money Train (a psychotic pyromaniac)

Me, Myself & Irene

The Real Chris Cooper:
Seabiscuit >
Cooper grew up on a ranch in Missouri, and comes by his knowledge of horses honestly.
Acting Style:
Tough and ominous. Despite his short stature, Cooper comes off as a presence to be dealt with. Perfect as a soldier, spy, cop or cowboy, he can be rough and tough, or steely smart and cunning. As with many supporting actors who are relied on for a certain type, Cooper has been rewarded and remembered for his roles outside of the norm, particularly the very strange orchid hunter in the brilliant film "Adaptation" and even the quiet horse trainer in "Seabiscuit." It's interesting and it's a good thing that Cooper was rewarded with an Oscar for one of his more normal characters, as he always seems like he's wound a bit too tight.
Bits and Quirks:
Cooper's less than ideal looks really work for him. The beady eyes can be the center of his strength, with a squinty intensity that spells trouble. A rough, unpolished demeanor and strange, side of the mouth, way of speaking, deep voice, and almost an impediment seem to add to his authority and physical presence.
Great Scenes:

> Calming down the wild horse
> Meeting Jeff Bridges as Mr. Howard around the campfire
> Coaching Tobey Maguire on Seabiscuit

October Sky

> Finally coming to see son Jake Gyllenhaal's rocket
> Talking to Jake in the basement
> Recovering in the hospital

Bourne Identity

> Confronting Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in person
> Giving orders in the control room
> Arguing with Brian Cox over how to handle things


> In the swamp looking for the orchid with Meryl Streep
> Meeting Nicolas Cage as Charlie in the cabin
> Hunting for Charlie in the swamp


> The speech on independence in the beginning meeting house, opposite Mel Gibson
> In the end, talking to Gibson about plans after the war

Lone Star

> Dedication of the plaque to his father
> Dancing, then making love, then pillow talk with girlfriend Pilar
> Finding out about his father's "other woman" from the roadside souvenir guy
> visiting his ex, Frances McDormand
> Finding out the true story from Hollis and Otis