Cory Hardrict is gearing up for a very exciting 2015. In the next 12 months, the Chicago native will star in four movies: “Destined” with Jesse Metcalfe; “Car Dogs,” opposite Octavia Spencer and Nia Vardalos; “Brotherly Love” with Macy Gray and Keke Palmer; and, most notably, Clint Eastwood’s latest war flick “American Sniper” alongside Bradley Cooper.
With such big names attached to it, there’s immense hype swirling around “Sniper” right now, but Hardrict, 35, is keeping a cool head. “I’m very grateful and thankful to be in a film of this caliber and magnitude, but it’s not out yet,” he says. “Hype is what it is. We’ll see if it resonates with people. But I can say that it’s a great movie.”
The film — Hardrict’s second with Eastwood (the duo previously teamed up in 2008’s “Gran Torino”) — centers on legendary sharpshooter Chris Kyle (Cooper), who, after four tours in Iraq, has difficulty coming home and leaving the past behind. Hardrict joins the cast as D, Chris Kyle’s fellow SEAL and friend during battle.
Creating a realistic environment on set is crucial for the no-nonsense Hardrict. “I’m very locked in, I’m very focused,” he says. “If I’m into a dramatic role, I like keeping that tone until I’m done for the day. At the end of the day, I’m making a movie — it has to be real to me or else people aren’t gonna buy it.”
Case in point: To prep for his turn as a SEAL, Hardrict immersed himself in a two-week boot camp in Morocco, where the film was shot. “We had to dive into that heat in Morocco; it was 100 degrees almost every day,” he remembers. “The hardest part about boot camp is that they train you harder than [what you’ll need for the] movie to get you prepared. In the film, there’s a lot of breaks and cuts. In boot camp, you have to train straight through, there’s not a lot of pauses or breaks, but it prepares you to really go the distance when you start filming.”
Yet for Hardrict, the physical training wasn’t nearly as difficult as the emotional strain he experienced being away from his wife of seven years, actress Tia Mowry, and their 3½-year-old son, Cree, for three months. “It was tough,” he says. “I was just missing them. I would cry myself to sleep. But I’d Skype a lot, a lot of FaceTime.” When filming wrapped and Hardrict returned home, “I just kissed everybody,” he says, “and hugged them and told them I loved them.”
With all the buzz around “Sniper,” Hardrict might be wise to soak up every moment of calm at home while he still can. “It takes 20 years to become an overnight sensation — I’ve been acting for about 19 years now,” he laughs. “But you can’t force or rush your destiny. Just work hard toward that goal and see what happens. Trust that it will all work out.”
“Johnny Depp is the coolest, man. He would take a private plane and show up on the set [of 2014’s ‘Transcendence’]. He’s a great spirit, a great soul — the guy has one of the best hearts in the world. I learned a lot from him.”
“I would love to play President Obama. I hear there’s a movie shooting next summer in Chicago [about him]. It would be amazing, playing the President in my hometown.”
Back in town
“The first place I have to go is Giordano’s [730 N. Rush]. That is the best pizza on the planet.”