Bradley Cooper Calls Maestro Conducting Scenes His Most Terrifying Ever


Maestro star Bradley Cooper, who plays Leonard Bernstein in the upcoming film, explains how he has grown to respect the difficulties of conducting.

Bradley Cooper discusses the difficulties he experienced playing famous conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein in his upcoming Netflix biopic Maestro. Bernstein is widely regarded as one of the most important musical conductors of his era, having proven his immense talent in creating the music for the classic musical Westside Story in 1957 and going on to continued success over the course of his career. Maestro will mark the second time Cooper has directed himself in a feature film, after his successful 2018 debut A Star Is Born.


While moderating a Focus Features awards season roundtable for Tár with that film’s director, Todd Field, and actors Cate Blanchett and Nina Hoss, Cooper talks about how daunting it was to play a conductor. In Tár, Blanchett plays conductor Lydia Tár, ​​​​​​​which leads the acclaimed actor to tell Cooper how excited she is to see him play a conductor as well. He responds by lauding Blanchett and Field’s portrayal of the conducting and orchestra rehearsals, while also revealing how scary it was for him to be up on the podium during filming for Maestro​​​​​​​.​​​​​​​ Check out his full quote below:

Having worked on a project in the same world [as ‘TÁR’], the level of respect that I have for that world and that podium, it is the most terrifying thing I’ve ever experienced. And it’s so odd because so many people — I don’t know if you’ve come across this — but people that I have in the last five years have said, ‘Well, what is it that conductors even do? Aren’t you up there sort of doing like this?’ ​​​​And my answer is, ‘It’s the absolute hardest thing you could ever want to do. It is impossible.’

Related: Why Bradley Cooper Begged To Leave Alias (& How His Character Left)

Everything We Know About Cooper’s Maestro

Bradley Cooper as Leonard Bernstein in Maestro

Cooper co-wrote the screenplay with Josh Singer, who won an Academy Award for his script for 2015’s Spotlight, in addition to acting and directing. The impressive list of producers on the biopic includes Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Todd Philips, who first worked with Cooper on The Hangover trilogy. As Maestro images of Cooper have shown, he has really transformed to take on the role of Bernstein, though there has been some pushback on the decision to wear a prosthetic nose to portray the Jewish composer. While the social implications are undoubtedly questionable, there’s no denying the uncanny similarities between the real-life Bernstein and Cooper in his costume and makeup.

Joining Cooper in the cast of Maestro will be Carey Mulligan, who portrays Bernstein’s beloved wife Felicia Montealegre, and Jeremy Strong, who plays John Gruen, a prominent art critic, social acquaintance of Bernstein’s, and author of the biography The Private World Of Leonard Bernstein. Sarah Silverman will take on the role of Bernstein’s younger sister and fellow musician Shirley Bernstein, while Maya Hawke will play Bernstein and Montealegre’s daughter, Jamie Bernstein. Matt Bomer is also in the Maestro cast and was seen on the set, though his role in the film has not yet been revealed.

Maestro, which is expected to be released sometime in 2023 on Netflix, will be centered on Bernstein and Montealegre’s relationship, beginning when they met at a party in 1946 and moving through two on-and-off engagements and a 25-year marriage. The film will also delve into Bernstein’s acclaimed work as a conductor and composer for productions such as West Side Story and On The Waterfront. It will be interesting to see if Cooper, who has recently been tapped for a​​​​​​​ lead role in Spielberg’s next movie, Bullitt, focuses at all on Bernstein’s many humanitarian efforts, including his protests of the Vietnam War and his work in support of civil rights.

More: Bradley Cooper’s Maestro Continues Hollywood’s Whitewashing Problem

Source: Focus Features


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