It required just one film, the highly anticipated “A Star Is Born” from 2018, for Bradley Cooper to become one of Hollywood’s finest filmmakers. Five years later, in “Maestro,” his follow-up film, he once again directs himself in a nuanced portrayal of a disturbed yet talented musician. However, Cooper still understands what it’s like to be an actor who gets turned down, even though he is now on par with some of the most acclaimed directors in the business.
Cooper participated in a conversation with Greta Gerwig, Todd Haynes, Blitz Bazawule, Ava Duvernay, and Michael Mann at The Hollywood Reporter’s Filmmakers Roundtable. The majority of the talk was devoted to discussing the art of directing, but Cooper spared a moment to thank Mann for a thoughtful comment he had made at the beginning of Cooper’s occupation.
Cooper revealed that he went through the audition process for Mann’s 2009 period film “Public Enemies,” which starred Christian Bale as the FBI officer who followed Johnny Depp in his last years and Johnny Depp as notorious gangster John Dillinger. Despite Cooper’s rejection from the movie, Mann sent him a supportive letter that he treasured for decades afterwards. “I’ve been an actor for so many years, still an actor. And one thing I learned from [Michael Mann] was, I put myself on tape for ‘Public Enemies’ years ago, and I didn’t get it,” Cooper stated. “And he wrote me a letter. I got a letter from Michael Mann saying, ‘Thank you for auditioning, and I see something in you.’ I kept that on my bookshelf for so many years.”
Cooper continued by saying that he adopted an analogous casting procedure for his films as a result of reading Mann’s note. The hyphenate claimed that in an attempt to have a similar influence on someone, he now sends notes to each actor who comes in for an audition. “You never know the impact you have. I learned from that,” Cooper said. “Anybody that auditions, I always write them. And that’s because of you.”
“Maestro” is currently available for viewing in a few theatres before it premieres on Netflix on the twentieth of December.