Akin to the 2018 film A Star is Born, Bradley Cooper will both direct and star in the planned 2023 film Maestro as conductor Leonard Bernstein. Even though the audience had already seen glimpses of the actor’s outrageous cosmetic change before the release of the first Maestro trailer in August, the actor was once again accused of ‘Jewface’ for donning a big prosthetic nose while playing the part. Shockingly while filming, Cooper would arrive at the Maestro set at 1 in the morning to attach the Bernstein nose for which he had been criticised for the previous few weeks. This knowledge was provided by Kazu Hiro, the two-time Oscar-winning makeup artist who transformed Cooper into Bernstein.
Hiro noted that it would take more than five hours to transform Cooper into Bernstein, including “the bodysuit and arms,” and that doing so when Cooper was over 70 was “the most difficult.” Hiro further added, “The last stage, the whole time, our call time was 1 in the morning. The other thing was he wanted makeup to be finished before the crew call, so he would appear as Lenny to set up the shoot and everything. That also kind of made our call time two hours earlier than normal, so that was quite tough.”
It was ardently crucial for Bradley Cooper to appear like Leonard Bernstein even as he was working behind the camera thanks to Kazu Hiro’s discussion on his work on Maestro with the audience watching a screening of the film at the New York Film Festival (via EW). The man’s passion to the project is impressive given that he arrived at 1 a.m., two hours before practically everyone else working on the biography would.
According to Hiro, the length of time Cooper spent on makeup varied based on the time period of Leonard Bernstein’s life that was being shown in Maestro. For instance, it took two and a half hours to raise the face of the voice actor for the Rocket Raccoon so that he appeared to be in his 20s, whilst other times ranged between two and three hours. In addition, the makeup artist said, “[We had to] keep adding because as he gets older, we had to add more elements. The younger stage was the nose and lips and chin and a wig. After the third stage, he started having cheek and neck [additions.]”
None of the other artists present at Maestro’s NYFF screening, including Kazu Hiro, brought up the “Jewface” controversy surrounding Bradley Cooper’s prosthetic nose. Bernstein’s children, however, issued a joint statement shortly after the trailer’s debut claiming that they were “perfectly fine” with this artistic choice and that “any strident complaints around this issue” struck them as being “disingenuous attempts to bring a successful person down a notch.” Moreover, “On November 22, Maestro will start a brief run in theatres; starting on December 20, Netflix subscribers can view the film.”