Bradley Cooper talks about being ‘pickled punk’ in first-ever fully-nude bathtub scene for Nightmare Alley

The star was happy to strip as he felt it wasn’t gratuitous (Picture: WireImage)

Bradley Cooper has spoken about being fully naked for new film Nightmare Alley, admitting it was ‘a big deal’ to bare all on screen, as he’d never done it previously.

Talking about the bond he formed with director Guillermo del Toro on the movie, as the pair still ‘talk every day’, he said: ‘It really is akin to putting on a miner’s kit, hat and flashlight, and looking at each other and then going down in the tunnel, knowing that you may be excavating a route that won’t ever get you to the end that day but you come back up and go down again the next day.’

Talking on KCRW show The Business with Kim Masters, he added: ‘Because the content of what the movie is, what we were exploring, in order to do it in a real way, it demanded that we be naked emotionally and soulfully and even physically for me too, which was a big deal.’

Cooper plays carnival worker-turned-con man mentalist Stanton Carlisle in the film, which he describes as ‘the hardest role I’ve ever played, and I’ve played some difficult roles’.

His nude scene saw the 47-year-old Marvel star bare his body, both full frontal and partial backside, during a sexual scene in a bathtub with Toni Collette’s character, Zeena.

The Oscar nominee shared: ‘I remember reading in the script and thinking, he’s a pickled punk in that bathtub and it’s to story. You have to do it.

Cooper with co-star Rooney Mara in Nightmare Alley (Picture: Searchlight Pictures via AP)

‘I can still remember that day, just to be naked in front of the crew for six hours, and it was Toni Collette’s first day. It was just like, “Whoa.” It was pretty heavy.’

He also explained that he didn’t push back ‘at all’ on the naked scene as, in his opinion, ‘there was nothing gratuitous about it’.

In Nightmare Alley, Cooper’s character Stanton partners with psychiatrist Dr Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett), making his world one of increased danger.

As well as Blanchett, the film sees Rooney Mara stars as a fellow carnival performer and Carlisle’s love interest, as well as Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Ron Pearlman and David Strathairn.

Stella Maxwell and Irina Shayk attend the New York world premiere of Nightmare Alley
Shayk with fellow model Stella Maxwell at the premiere (Picture: SIPA USA/PA)

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At the movie’s premiere in December, the actor was supported by his ex, model Irina Shayk, with whom he shares four-year-old daughter Lea.

While the former couple did not walk the red carpet together at the New York event, the star told Entertainment Tonight that he found Shayk’s presence ‘very special’.

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