Why Bradley Cooper Took 6 Years to Prepare For ‘Maestro’ Role

Why Bradley Cooper Took 6 Years to Prepare For ‘Maestro’ Role

Bradley Cooper fully dedicated himself to his Maestro role. During a Q&A following a New York City screening of the film that he co-wrote, directed and starred in, Cooper revealed that he took six years to learn just over six minutes of music to play famed conductor Leonard Bernstein.

Cooper’s intense work paid off when it came time to film the scene that recreates Bernstein conducting the London Symphony Orchestra at the Ely Cathedral in 1976.

“That scene I was so worried about because we did it live. That was the London Symphony Orchestra. It was recorded live. I had to conduct them,” Cooper told moderator Lin Manuel Miranda, according to Indie Wire. “I spent six years learning how to conduct six minutes and 21 seconds of music.”

Over his six years of preparation, Cooper was “able to get the raw take” of Bernstein conducting, so he “had that to study.” He also relied on “wonderful teachers” including Metropolitan Opera director Yannick Nézet-Séguin for helping him on the journey.

“Nézet-Séguin made videos with all the tempo changes, so I had all of the materials to just work on,” Cooper said. “It was really about dialing exactly what I wanted cinematically and then inviting them into then inhabit that space and trusting that they have all done the work.”

“Because I think that 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,” he continued. “And everybody did.”

Cooper has made headlines for his show-stopping transformation into Bernstein for the film, which also stars Carey Mulligan and Matt Bomer. Produced by Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorcese, the film centers on Bernstein’s marriage to actress Felicia Montealegre (Mulligan) amid his affairs with both men and women.

Maestro will open in select theaters on Nov. 22. It will be available on Netflix beginning Dec. 20.



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