Bradley Cooper dresses up as Leonard Bernstein for the filming of Maestro

A first batch of images from the film tracing the life of the West Side Story composer and bandleader shows the actor transformed under a beautiful layer of makeup.

Bradley Cooper as American pianist and conductor Leonard Bernstein
Bradley Cooper as American pianist and conductor Leonard Bernstein

The orchestra is still missing, but the image is already there. The arched back, the sleeves of the shirt rolled up, a cigarette in the hand, the look inspector; the conductor watches. He has the wrinkles of experience, a little air of Leonard Bernstein. And the eyes of Bradley Cooper. It is not a coincidence. The American actor, producer, and director plays the former musical director of the New York Philharmonic in Maestro, his new film currently in the making.

Unveiled on Monday by the Netflix platform, which will broadcast the feature film in 2023, the first images of Maestro present Bradley Cooper in the skin of the emeritus conductor and in that of the insolent virtuoso of the desk that the young Leonard Bernstein was also. In a black and white for the occasion, the actor appears radiant alongside Carey Mulligan, who plays the actress Felicia Montealegre, great love and – incidentally – wife of the conductor. The story, approved by Leonard Bernstein’s family, should largely focus on their affair.

In the eyes of Leonard Bernstein

It seems fashionable in every Hollywood biopic for a few years to make up its stars – whether it’s Gary Oldman in The Dark Hours, or Jessica Chastain, with In the Eyes of Tammy Faye -, under more coulis in addition to generous make-up. Bradley Cooper is no exception to this trend and thus appears prodigiously transformed in the only image showing him as an old Leonard Bernstein. A highway for the Oscars, certainly. “We worked a lot on the make-up, but we also worked a lot on the voice,” assured Variety in December., Scott Stuber, head of original Netflix features. The career of the conductor who died in 1990 should above all offer American cinema a film full of orchestras and music.
Born in 1918, Leonard Bernstein is known to have remained at the head of the New York Philharmonic for a long time, starting in the 1950s. most illustrious of his generation, and a renowned composer. His most famous work, the musical West Side Story, was a resounding success and was recently re-adapted by Steven Spielberg. It is no coincidence that the filmmaker wanted to take charge of Leonard Bernstein’s biography in person. He eventually handed it over to Bradley Cooper.

The project of a biopic devoted to the composer had been fiercely disputed between Netflix and Paramount Pictures. The production company had to bury its idea of ​​a film on Leonard Bernstein, with Jake Gyllenhaal in the main role. Bradley Cooper thus finds himself headlining the project carried by Netflix and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese with the blessing of the Bernstein family. The actor is not in his first film in the musical world. This biographical project is the second feature film by the 47-year-old actor whose first production, A Star Is Born, had great critical and commercial success in 2018. For the time being, a filmography without false notes.

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Written by Rachita Salian


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