Actor Bradley Cooper has spoken about the "insane" moment he was held up at knifepoint on the New York subway several years ago.

The Star is Born star, who is currently appearing in Paul Thomas Anderson's Licorice Pizza, managed to escape his assailant during the incident, which took place while he was on his way to pick up his daughter from school and while he was wearing noise-cancelling headphones.

Speaking on Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast, Cooper said, "I used to walk around New York City all the time with these [headphones] on - I was on the subway and I got held up at knifepoint.

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"It was pretty insane. I realised I had gotten way, way too comfortable in the city. My guard was down.

"I was all the way at the end of the subway. I felt somebody coming up. I thought, 'Oh, they want to take a photo or something'. As I turned, I'm up against the post like it's The French Connection or some sh*t, and I turned. I looked down and I see a knife."

He added, "I have my headphones on the whole time. I can't hear anything. I'm just listening to music. So, it's scored, the whole thing was scored. I look up, I see the person's eyes, and I'm taken by how young they are.

"I jumped over the turnstile, hid around the white, tiled foyer entrance to the subway, took my phone out. I took a photo of him and then I chased him up the stairs."

Cooper then flagged down a police car to report the incident to officers, who advised him to check if he had been stabbed, as "what happens is people get stabbed and they're in shock" and don't realise they are wounded.