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BTS: 5 Things You Never Knew About A Star is Born

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s A Star is Born tells the love-story of fading musician Jackson Maine and struggling songstress Ally. Needless to say, the film is nothing short of a masterpiece and will captivate your heart in every single way. Here are 5 Behind the Scene facts you never knew about film that will make you fall even more in love with the characters and feel like you’ll really never be able to love again.


1. Neither Bradley Cooper nor Lady Gaga were originally intended to play their respective roles


It is hard for me to believe that any other actors could embody the characters of Jackson Maine and Ally. However, according to Newsweek’s reports in 2002, Will Smith and Jennifer Lopez were the first actors rumored to take on the lead roles of the film. After they were unable to get their schedules together, Deadline reported that Clint Eastwood wanted to direct the film and cast Leonardo DiCaprio alongside Beyonce in 2012. However, Variety reported that Beyoncé’s pregnancy pushed back the film’s start date for nearly a year and later fell out on the project. Finally, Clint Eastwood offered the role of Jackson Maine to Bradley Cooper who politely declined his invitation to take on the role at that moment in time. In interviews, Cooper has explained “I was 38 then, and I knew I couldn’t do it. But then I did American Sniper with Clint and The Elephant Man for a year on Broadway and I thought, I’m old enough now.” And at age 43, Cooper finally felt like he was ready to take on the lead role. Around this time, he went to a cancer benefit in Sean Parker’s backyard and heard Lady Gaga sing “La Vie en Rose”. The next day, Cooper called her agent and drove to Gaga’s home in Malibu to offer her the part on the spot. And thus, a star was born.


2. Aspects of Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s characters parallel their real lives


While Bradley Cooper is not a troubled rock star in real life, he does suffer from a medical condition with his eardrum similarly to his character Jackson Maine. Soon after he was born, Cooper developed cholesteatoma- an abnormal, noncancerous skin growth that develops in the middle section of the ear behind the eardrum. His character Jackson is plagued by several issues regarding his eardrum that resulted from his refusal to wear an earpiece while on stage. Interestingly enough, Cooper told People Magazine that his real-life doctor, Derek Jones, plays his fictional ear doctor in the film-Dr. Slattery. He later goes on to say that “So many of the people in this movie are people I’ve known forever.” This includes his ridiculously adorable labradoodle, Charlie. Cooper told the magazine, “There was no nepotism-I wanted this relationship with the dog. Jackson and Ally don’t have children together but they have a dog together, and I wanted it to be part of their story.” In fact, the dog is named after Cooper’s late father. Cooper said the name was chosen to feel as if both his dog and his father were a part of the making of the film. Cue the Marley and Me tears!

As for Lady Gaga, she is indeed a real-life pop star just like her character Ally. Gaga started her career the same way that Ally did: playing in drag bars on the Lower East Side of New York City. Having always been a hustler, Gaga was hungry for a career in the music industry and knew she had to take risks in order to become the star she wanted to be. In an interview with Mic, she stated, “I left my entire family, got the cheapest apartment I could find and ate shit until somebody would listen to me.” And sure enough, her then-boyfriend Rob Fusari brought Gaga to Interscope records as a songwriter where she composed hits for New Kids on the Block, Fergie, the Pussycat Dolls, and Brittany Spears. Gaga eventually caught the ear of R&B songwriter Akon and signed her to his label. Is anyone else getting Rez Gavron (aka Ally’s music producer) vibes here, or is it just me?


3. Bradley Cooper spent six months learning to play guitar and piano for his role

If you’re also feeling personally victimized by the fact that Bradley Cooper chose to hide his musical talents from the world for basically his entire career, don’t worry because you are not alone. But to make you feel a little bit better, there was only one person that had ever heard Cooper sing before the film-and of course it’s no one other than Lady Gaga. When she sat down for an interview with Vogue, Gaga recalls the first time she heard Cooper sing on the night he came to her Malibu home. In an effort to see if they could sing together, Gaga and Cooper agreed to sing the folk song “Midnight Special”. She says, “I printed out the sheet music, and he had the lyrics on his phone, and I sat down at the piano and started to play, and Bradley started to sing and I stopped: ‘Oh, my God, Bradley, you have a tremendous voice.’” She later said, “He sings from his gut, from the nectar! I knew instantly: this guy could play a rock star. And I don’t think there are a lot of people in Hollywood who can. That was the moment I knew this film could be something truly special.” Soon after discovering his natural musical talents, Cooper spent six months learning piano and guitar for his role. In an interview with W Magazine, he says “We mapped out my entire schedule, day by day. I’d wake up and work out, followed by two hours of guitar practice and two hours of piano lessons.” And after watching his performance in the film, it’s safe to say that practice does indeed make perfect, Bradley Cooper.


4. Lady Gaga was banned from wearing makeup in the film


Makeup or no makeup, I think that almost anyone can argue that Lady Gaga is one of the most beautiful women in all of Hollywood. But since Gaga’s character in the film has a very natural look, she started physically preparing for the role seven months before the shoot date.  On “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”, Gaga revealed, “I changed my hair and took off my makeup months before filming the movie. I had to get into character. I had to get used to it.” Even though Bradley Cooper was widely criticized on social media for the make-up ban, Gaga said that it truly did help her better understand her character. In an interview with the LA Times, Gaga explained, “It put me in the right place I needed to be, because my character talks about how ugly she feels-that was real. I’m so insecure. I like to preach, but I don’t always practice what I preach.” Even though Gaga tried to fight the ban by secretly trying to wear makeup, Cooper at times would ultimately have to take a make-up wipe and drag it down Gaga’s face from forehead to chin and remind her “Completely open. No Artifice.” Eventually, Gaga learned to appreciate her make-up free look as yet another part of her on-going evolution as an artist, saying to the New York Times, “I do keep transforming into a new shell of me.” Certainly after this movie, the world cannot wait to see what other shells you transform into, Lady Gaga.


5. The concert scenes were filmed in front of live audiences


In order to portray the scenes in the film as realistically as possible, director Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga both insisted that the concert scenes be filmed at actual music festivals and concert venues with live audiences.  They first took to the stage at Coachella in April of 2017. The Coachella app featured an invitation for concert-goers to participate as an extra in the film, saying “be in the audience as Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga film scenes on the actual Coachella stages. Help cheer and applaud their performances on camera… the scenes for these days will portray a Country Western music festival.” According to the Palm Springs local newspaper The Desert Sun, locals were asked to serve as extras and an open casting call took place weeks before filming. They reported, “Then closer to the film date, people were allowed to purchase a ticket for $10 to be part of the audience, with proceeds going to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.” The following weekend, they filmed at Stagecoach Festival. The festival grounds can be recognized in the opening scene where Cooper is onstage as Jackson Maine. The scene was filmed right between Jamey Johnson’s set and his father’s set. Musician Lukas Nelson elaborated on the scene in an interview with the New York Post, saying, “We literally filmed that scene in 10 minutes. Bradley went up, sang exactly what you hear in the movie, and then we left.” And if that doesn’t make you appreciate the authenticity of musical talent in this film, then I don’t know what else could!

Natalie Farrell is a Senior at Loyola Marymount  University pursuing a double degree in Dance and Communications Studies. Along with being the President of HCLMU, Natalie was a Talent Management Intern for an entertainment agency and stylist for Free People. She is interested in the fine and performing arts indstury, journalism, and health and wellness space. Explore her porfolio below.
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