I knew Bradley Cooper was talented, but until watching A Star Is Born, I didn’t know he was capable of inducing a full emotional breakdown of cinematic proportions. It wasn’t even just a small weep, it was the Niagara Falls of waterworks.
But not only does Bradley Cooper star as troubled and seasoned singer, Jackson Maine, he co-writes AND directs the action as Lady Gaga’s Ally takes to the spotlight and rises to fame.
Here, amongst all the much-deserved Oscar buzz, Bradley sits down with me to discuss how his family have informed his approach to directing and how he is a fully-fledged Lady Gaga Monster…
You star, direct, and co-write ‘A Star Is Born’, is there anything you CAN’T do?
“A lot! I don’t even know what I CAN do but I know that I love to try and that that’s all I can ask of myself.”
What did you learn about yourself by becoming a director?
“If you stay true to what it is you want to do, and you work as hard as you can to do it, then you have a fighting chance to execute it. I think I learnt that. The movie that you saw is the movie I wanted to make – completely. So that feels very gratifying. It’s one thing to have an idea and an inspiration but then all the work that is involved and all the people that give themselves to that story is very moving. I feel very moved by it.
The stars have said you created a family environment on set, does come from building your own family?
“It comes easy to me because I grew up in a great family. I had wonderful parents and I know what’s going to get the best out of me as an actor is when I feel in safe environment, an inspiring environment, an environment that I’m not going to be terrified to go into because it calls upon a lot from me.”
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I literally couldn’t keep my eyes off the chemistry between you and Lady Gaga…
“I actually felt like that about other characters too, like Dave Chappelle comes on and those two guys are talking on that bench and I’m right there. It’s the same with Sam Elliot and Andrew Dice-Clay, everybody really brought it hard.
The way you dealt with addiction in A Star Is Born produces a very bold, strong message. How did you try to get the pitch right?
“That’s a great question. It’s tricky, there are two things that I knew that I really had to crack. One was authenticity, if you were a musician and you watch this and go, ‘Oh, that’s real.’ Then if you have any relationship to addiction, that you would also go, ‘that’s the story!’
It was a lot of work, a lot of prep, a lot of thinking about it and waiting to receive how to shoot it. Really, it was not a quick sort of, ‘oh yeah, that’s how we are going to do it,’ it was thinking about what the best way was to cinematically tell that story.
What did you learn about being a ‘front man’ when you went on stage at Glastonbury?
“That’s a really good question, I’ve never got that question. You are right, there’s something different about when you’re in the front and acting, the more you’re exposed, the more you have to dig deep to be authentic – that’s the thing I find. When you’re trying to go, ‘What does a frontman need to be?’ You are screwed. You just have to really double down and be completely present, just tell the story you want to tell in the song. I think if you do that, that’s when you can gain the attraction that that role demands from a front person of the band.
Are you a certified Monster after working with Lady Gaga? What would be your dream duet be?
“I definitely am a Monster now. Oh, I’ve never even thought of that! I mean I love Shallows but that’s him singing. I don’t even know if I can do that now – honestly!