Bradley Cooper Went Viral For His ‘No Chair’ Rule On Movie Sets, But He’s In Good Company With Zack Snyder And Others

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Written By Maya Cantina

On a movie set, the director is, in most cases, in complete control. He or she gets to make the rules that others must follow. Depending on the situation, that might lead to significant personality clashes. Not every actor and director are going to get along, but it would seem that whether or not Bradley Cooper is the right director for you may depend on your feelings regarding chairs, as Cooper says they don’t exist on his set.  

Speaking with Spike Lee for Variety, Cooper revealed that his set for his newest project Maestro with a release date later this week (with a Netflix subscription) was something quite different than most. And he apparently had no chairs of any kind and no video village for watching back scenes after they’d been shot. Cooper says that people sitting affects their energy on set, and so to keep the energy up, he keeps everybody standing. As he shared:

There’s no chairs. I’ve always hated chairs on sets; your energy dips the minute you sit down in a chair. There’s no video village.

Cooper’s comments went viral on social media, as many were a bit surprised that something as simple as a chair would be missing from the set. Shoots can run for hours on end in many cases so just being able to rest your feet now and then might seem to be a necessity, but as it turns out, Cooper isn’t the only director who has a problem with chairs.

What Zack Snyder Thinks About Chair On Set

Appearing on the Fourth Wall Podcast in 2021, Zack Snyder said that during the production of his first Netflix movie, Army of the Dead, he also banned chairs from the set. He said doing this forced him to not sit behind the video village monitors and interact with his actors more. According to Snyder…

There’s no sitting down, like, I banned chairs from the set. But the nice thing is, it’s really intimate. I can just talk to the actors right there, I’m not back in a monitor across the room. It was definitely the most purely engaged I’ve been making a movie.

We’d have to ask the Rebel Moon cast if they were allowed to sit during that recent production. The two movies took quite some time to film, so that’s a lot of time without sitting down if that was the case.

Christopher Nolan Is Also Reported To Not Allow Chairs, But It’s Not That Simple

Another director who it is said prevents chairs on set is Christopher Nolan. Anne Hathaway had previously told Variety that on the set of The Dark Knight Rises there were no chairs. More recently, as part of the same Variety interview series where Cooper and Lee spoke, Robert Downey Jr. said there were no chairs on the set of Oppenheimer, claiming… 

You would go back and sit in your set chair — no, you wouldn’t, because there were no set chairs!

Reps for Nolan told IndieWire back in 2020 that chairs are not banned on Nolan’s set, though Nolan himself does not use them. If that’s the case it’s unclear why Downey is saying there were no chairs. Perhaps they are not strictly banned, but they are also not provided. Maybe it’s a “BYOC” sort of situation. A lot of actors have appeared in more than one Christopher Nolan movie, so if they can’t stand, they must not mind too much.

One certainly hopes that, if nothing else, accommodations will be made on set for those for whom standing for long periods is a real problem. There are certainly those for whom a chair is a simple, but necessary, accommodation. Certainly for those that can stand, expect to do so if you’re ever in a Bradley Cooper movie.

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