‘American Sniper’ features local Cody Kiser as Bradley Cooper’s stunt man

Cody Kiser practices on a mechanical bull at his Mound House home in this Nevada Appeal file photo.

Cody Kiser practices on a mechanical bull at his Mound House home in this Nevada Appeal file photo.

Cody Kiser, a Northern Nevada rodeo rider with ties to Dayton and Carson City, plays Bradley Cooper’s character in “American Sniper” as the film star’s stunt man double.

“The whole thing was just unreal,” said Kiser, a 2009 graduate of Dayton High School who said though he now lives in Reno he views both Dayton and Carson City his long time stompin’ grounds.

“It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done,” Kiser said of his first chance as a stunt man. That’s a mouthful for a man who rode bulls and broncos in rodeos since his youth and will be headed out on the rodeo circuit again this week to places like Colorado, Texas and Louisiana.

“They wanted a bareback ride,” Kiser said of the movie makers. He did two rides for the film crew last June after getting the nod with the help of his stunt man mentor, Rick Moffet of California. Kiser knows Moffet from the rodeo circuit. Kiser said on one film ride he had a camera strapped to his chest and another called for some stunt man acting as he doubled for Cooper.

“They wanted me to fall off and kinda’ stay close to the horse, so I did that,” he said.

In doubling for Cooper and giving him tips for related scenes, said Kiser, it was important as the stand-in to be tall like Cooper and, when off camera, to help the star capture riding mannerisms or habits.

“Bradley asked me to help him look as real as possible,” said Kiser, focusing in that consulting work on such things as how to step up on the bucking shoots or put on riding gloves properly.

“He was all about the details,” said Kiser.

A May graduate in civil engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno, Kiser about a month later also was meeting and worked with Clint Eastwood, the film’s director, as well as standing in for and advising Cooper about pertinent scenes. Kiser praised both the director, also an actor who has worked with a horse or two in his time, and Cooper for making him feel an important part of the film project.

“Both are super, super guys,” Kiser said. “They had people there who were catering to me.”

Kiser said his double work for the movie didn’t take too long because Eastwood isn’t a director who retakes a lot of scenes. “He knows what he wants before he films it,” said Kiser.

Though rodeo is his current and long time passion, and he intends later to use his civil engineering degree when that career opportunity moves front and center, Kiser also is ready to enjoy future opportunities as a stunt man should they develop.

“Absolutely; I would love to get some more jobs like this,” he said.

Not only did it mean a trip to Southern California last June, he said, but he and his mother enjoyed another trip to Los Angeles about a month ago when Warner Brothers held a pre-release screening for cast and crew.

Kiser has competed in rodeos all his life, but switched from bull riding to broncs after a bull stepped on his face when he was in high school. When he leaves for more time on the rodeo circuit this week, he’ll head for Denver, later for Fort Worth in Texas, then swing into Louisiana. He hopes to compete in at least a half dozen rodeos, perhaps as many as 10 if possible.

But right now he’s enjoying his new-found status as a semi-celebrity because of his stand-in work for Cooper in “American Sniper” scenes. The movie began in theaters nationwide last Friday.


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