Bradley Cooper just detailed a terrifying incident that took place prepandemic—and we’re probably going to stop daydreaming on the subway.
In October of 2019, prior to the COVID-19 shutdowns, the actor was held at knifepoint on a New York City subway while on his way to pick up his now four-year-old daughter. (Lea De Seine Shayk Cooper, whom Cooper shares with his ex Irina Shayk, would have been just two years old at the time.)
“I used to walk around New York City all the time with these [headphones] on—this was prepandemic—I was on the subway [at] 11:45 to pick [up] Lea downtown at Russian school and I got held up at knifepoint,” the actor said on the most recent episode of the Armchair Expert podcast, per Us Weekly. “It was pretty insane. I realized I had gotten way, way too comfortable in the city. My guard was down.”
The Hangover actor said he was alone on the end of the subway platform when he felt somebody approach from behind, thinking it was a fan looking for a photo. He said, “As I turned, I’m up against the post like it’s the French Connection or some shit, and I turned. I looked down and I see a knife.” He later added, “I look up, I see the person’s eyes, and I’m taken by how young they are.”
While Bradley Cooper may have played characters put in some pretty dangerous positions in films like American Sniper, the actor says his instincts took over—and that he did exactly what he’s heard not to do when facing down an assailant with a knife: He ran.
“I just started booking, just started running,” Cooper said. “I jumped over the turnstile, hid around the white tiled entrance to the subway [and] took my phone out. He jumped over, running away. I took a photo of him. Then I chased him up the stairs. He started running up Seventh Avenue. I took two more photographs of him. I ran down two police officers in an SUV, showed them the photograph and I’m, like, talking to them, and the guy kept saying—it was so interesting—he’s like, ‘Are you stabbed?’ I was like, ‘No, no.’ He was like, ‘Check to see if you’re stabbed.’ What happens is people get stabbed and they’re in shock. I looked to see if he was right…. And then I got back on the subway and picked up my daughter.”
While the event was likely traumatizing, Cooper was able to joke about it a bit, telling host Dax Shepard that the entire ordeal was “scored” because he was listening to music, though he can’t remember what was playing. “I have my headphones on the whole time. I can’t hear anything,” the filmmaker said. “I’m just listening to music. So it’s scored; the whole thing was scored.”
We’re just glad he’s okay.