Hollywood’s most enduring story of love and ambition gets a glorious reinvention in Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born. The actor-become-director presented his much anticipated directorial debut film at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Drawing deep on the pleasures audiences previously discovered in the 1937, 1954, and 1976 versions, Cooper brings the narrative right up to the present. He takes on the role of the fame-weary star himself and, for the ingénue with megawatt potential, he crafts a perfect big-screen role for Lady Gaga.
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga Put On a Very Warm Display
The film tells the story of a seasoned musician who discovers — and falls in love with — a struggling artist, but, even as her career takes off, he fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons. Speaking of falling in love, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga have this unmistakeable chemistry about them that is great to witness first hand. A few very warm glances, seemingly ‘bottomless’ appreciation of Bradley and Lady Gaga towards each other and ‘unveiling of the bride’ at the premiere made us wonder if something more romantic will come out of this partnership…
Back to the plot, Jackson Maine lives half his life on tour and the other half at the bottom of a bottle. He won rock stardom years ago, and the pressures of fame have isolated him. His much-older brother (Sam Elliott) manages his career, but no one can control his life offstage. One night Jackson wanders into a bar looking for another drink and finds an amateur performer with a shockingly beautiful voice. Ally (Lady Gaga) and Jackson connect instantly. He sees her promise, she sees his experience, and they catch in each other a glimpse of the pain that drives them both. As Jackson nudges Ally onto the stage with her own songs, she’s inevitably drawn into the world that comes with it – after-parties, private jets, and the debilitating glare of the spotlight.
At the press conference, the cast shared their experiences. The creative process, it seems was very fluid. According to the director, some parts of the script were developed together with co-star Lady Gaga (Stefani Germanotta) as well as with David Chappelle during their conversations off-screen. In particular, the drag characters in the film were introduced following Lady Gaga sharing her past experience of performing at the drag club. “I wouldn’t be where I am,” admitted Stefani at the press conference, “if it wasn’t for the gay and drag community and how they lovingly embraced me and taught me so much about acceptance and love.” Indeed, the drags Shangela and Willam Belli are admittedly friends of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. “The best part of directing,” admitted Cooper, “is that you get to cast… Half of the crew are featured in the film too.”
Speaking of their personal journeys, it seems like the running theme for the main cast is the trust. Lady Gaga praised Bradley for trusting in her as an actor – the career she always wanted to pursue but gave up early on. While Bradley Cooper was grateful to the cast, and in particular to Stefani and David Chapelle for trusting in him as a director.
As if directing alone is not hard enough -and terrifying he said-, Cooper pushed the envelope even further and also wrote the script and even took on singing coaching to be able to perform live for the film. All songs featured were written specifically for the movie and, according to the director, “every song is there for a reason and every phrase and word mean something.”
The film is a strong contestant for the main prize at the TIFF 2018. As to the critics, the film received great praise but the director wouldn’t know about as, admittedly, he doesn’t read the reviews.