Bradley Cooper's Six-Year Journey to Conduct for a Single Movie Scene

Bradley Cooper's exceptional transformation for 'Maestro' revealed.

by Nouman Rasool
Bradley Cooper's Six-Year Journey to Conduct for a Single Movie Scene
© Charley Gallay/Getty Images

Hollywood star Bradley Cooper unveils the depths of his commitment for his latest Netflix sensation, "Maestro." Premiering in November 2023, the film portrays the life of Leonard Bernstein, an iconic music conductor, with Cooper in the lead role.

The movie, set against the backdrop of Bernstein's intriguing relationship with his wife, Felicia Montealegre (played by Carey Mulligan), has garnered critical acclaim, securing an impressive 80 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The dedication of both Cooper and Mulligan to their roles has not gone unnoticed, as they have been nominated for Oscars in their respective categories. However, amidst the accolades, the film faced controversy over Cooper's transformation for the role, particularly his prosthetic nose, which some critics equated to blackface.

This criticism was swiftly countered by Bernstein's family, who defended Cooper's portrayal.

Cooper's Conducting Odyssey

Beyond the superficial aspects of his role, Cooper's journey into the essence of his character involved an intensive six-year study in music conducting.

This extensive preparation was for a pivotal scene in the film, lasting a mere six minutes and 21 seconds. Reflecting on the challenges of this scene, the "Silver Linings Playbook" star expressed his concerns at a Los Angeles screening last year.

"I was so worried about because we did it live," he said, referring to conducting the London Symphony Orchestra during the filming. Cooper's dedication involved meticulous research, including studying a raw take of Bernstein conducting at Ely Cathedral with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1976.

He credits his success in part to his 'wonderful teachers,' notably mentioning Metropolitan Opera director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Facing his fears, Cooper acknowledged, "I knew I was terrified. Absolutely terrified that if I hadn’t done the work then I wouldn’t be able to enjoy myself in these scenes.

And everybody did." This nomination for Best Actor at this year's Oscars is Cooper's fourth, following nominations for his roles in "Silver Linings Playbook," "American Sniper," and "A Star Is Born." "Maestro" has also earned Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Screenplay.

The eagerly anticipated Oscar ceremony is set to take place at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on March 10, where the film industry's finest will gather to celebrate another year of cinematic excellence.

Bradley Cooper