Cory Hardrict saved up a mere $75 and moved from Chicago to Los Angeles to become an actor. Rarely does this kind of story have a happy ending. Spoiler alert: Hardrict is now a major film actor. He’s had roles in Never Been Kissed, Eastbound and Down (best show) and Gran Torino, directed by Clint Eastwood. The latter worked out so well he’s back with Eastwood, starring next to Bradley Cooper in American Sniper. The film, which comes out next month, is based on a book by Chris Kyle (Cooper) about his experience as a Navy SEAL sniper in Afghanistan. Kyle recorded a record 150 kills, and Hardrict plays D, his best friend. D is still serving, and we spoke to Hardrict about the role.
Hardrict: I grew up in Chicago on the South Side, Hyde Park. Right by the Obamas. I wanted to act as kid.
What was it like to mentally embed with the Navy SEAL mentality?
I’ve got a lot of respect for the US military. You have to respect it–it takes a lot of bravery. D, my character, I got to know him. D is still in Afghanistan. He went back, he didn’t like the civilian life. I learned a lot about him, but he’s a man of few words. He told me one thing I won’t forget “Where else can you jump out of planes, blow stuff up and travel around the world?” I didn’t know his relationships, his friends, family, but when we met I connected with him. And I read a lot of books and articles, watched all the war movies–Full Metal Jacket, Hurt Locker, Apocalypse Now. Really enjoyed the book The Art of War.
Clint Eastwood is the man?
Clint is a legend! It’s a beautiful thing, and to have him hire you twice–he also did Gran Torino–is so humbling.
Where did you film?
We were in Rabat, Morocco, for three months and then on a lot for a little while in LA.
Having just been in a war film, do you feel more connected to the war going on between police and civilians in St Louis and New York?
Look, you shouldn’t take another man’s life period. And when you get pulled over, I always submit to the police. I never want to be confrontational. No matter what, taking a life is wrong.