5 Best Chris Cooper Movies
Born in Kansas City, Missouri to a homemaker and a cattleman but raised in Texas, Chris Cooper captures Midwestern sensibilities and Southern grit to become one of the most compelling talents in Hollywood. This is especially apparent when looking at his college degrees: he’s a double major in both agriculture and acting. Appearing in features since 1987, Cooper’s experience with acting actually dates back much further to countless stage productions throughout his time in school. For this reason, Cooper proves time and time again to be one of the true masters of the craft. Whether he’s playing a good guy or a bad guy, a romantic lead or a cartoon car, Chris Cooper manages to effortlessly embody whatever character he needs to in order to nail the part. An Oscar-winner, Cooper deserves each and every ounce of praise he has received throughout his decades-long career. His filmography proves this.
The movie that won him his first and only Academy Award, Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman’s second collaboration, Adaptation (sometimes stylized as Adaptation.), is one for the books. Starring Nicolas Cage in a double role alongside Meryl Streep and Cooper himself, the film sees Cage playing the film’s screenwriter as he struggles to adapt a nonfiction book about flowers into a successful feature film. Cooper plays one of the leads in the nonfiction book, embodying the strange role of a flower poacher as if it was actually his job.
Cooper’s first real leading role in a feature film, Matewan set the bar incredibly high for the actor back in 1987. Telling the story of a labor union organizer as he battles a violent mining company in an attempt to unionize their community, the film is truly one of Cooper’s greatest performances to date. Debuts like this don’t happen often, but Cooper managed to keep up the good work for decades to come.
The Bourne Identity
The first of five Bourne movies, The Bourne Identity is a heart-pounding thriller from Doug Liman, one of the best of the game. Chris Cooper’s realistic approach to his characters keeps the film grounded, especially when he’s sharing scenes with Matt Damon. It’s nerve-wracking and tense for the duration of the film, and Cooper leaves a lasting impression long after the credits roll.
From John Sayles, writer and director of Cooper’s debut feature Matewan, Lone Star sees Cooper playing noble and serious Texas law enforcement officer Sheriff Sam Deeds. Deeds unearths secret after secret in his small border town, accompanied in part by Kris Kristofferson and Matthew McConaughey in supporting roles. It’s a quiet and understated film, two adjectives that fit perfectly in Cooper’s acting wheelhouse.
Tracking author Truman Capote’s writing process as he single-handedly invented New Journalism with his true crime novel In Cold Blood, Bennett Miller’s 2005 film Capote sees Chris Cooper playing Alvin Dewey. The character is based on a real-life FBI agent from Kansas, a place not too far from where Cooper himself was born. It’s not hard to imagine the actor in such a role, especially when he’s doing such a good job with the part.
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