- Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper starred in the 2018 version of “A Star Is Born.”
- Cooper learned how to play multiple instruments for his role.
- Ally’s first song in the film is the same song that helped Gaga land the role.
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s 2018 Oscar-nominated film “A Star Is Born” is the fourth reboot of the time-honored story of a fading musician and the struggling artist he falls in love with.
You may have heard about Cooper and Gaga singing together for the first time at Gaga’s Malibu, California, home or how the Oscar contender wowed audiences at the Venice Film Festival, but there are plenty of other interesting tidbits about the film.
Here are 15 things you might not have known about “A Star Is Born.”
Other versions of the movie could’ve included Will Smith and Jennifer Lopez or Beyoncé and Leonardo DiCaprio.
As per Newsweek’s reports in 2002, Will Smith was courting Jennifer Lopez for the project, saying it might work if they can get their schedules together.
Smith wanted to show off his singing skills by playing the role Gaga had in the latest movie, and he wanted Lopez to take on the other leading role.
And Clint Eastwood wanted to direct the film with Leonardo DiCaprio as the washed-up star and Beyoncé as his romantic lead, according to Deadline’s reports.
In 2012, Variety reported that Beyoncé was apparently on board to start filming the remake, but her pregnancy pushed back the film’s start date for nearly a year. Eventually, she reportedly fell out of the project.
Bradley Cooper learned how to play guitar and piano for his role.
In an interview with W Magazine, Cooper said he spent six months learning piano and guitar for his role.
“We mapped out my entire schedule, day by day,” Cooper said. “I’d wake up and work out, followed by two hours of guitar practice and two hours of piano lessons.”
The doctor in the film is Cooper’s real-life ear doctor.
Cooper told People that his real-life doctor, Derek Jones, plays his fictional ear doctor in the film, Dr. Slattery – a small but pivotal role.
Cooper also told People that the role of Tommy is played by someone he went to grad school with. “So many of the people in this movie are people I’ve known forever,” he said.
Cooper worked with a dialect coach to mimic another actor in the film.
Actor Sam Elliott plays Jackson’s older brother in the film, so Cooper worked with a dialect coach for six months to make his speaking voice resemble Elliott’s.
Cooper called Elliott’s Sacramento-Texan twang the perfect “hybrid accent”; however, Cooper did all this vocal training before he even approached Elliott with the role.
“Thank God he said yes, because I would have had to rewrite the whole thing. Six months of work on my voice would have gone down the drain,” Cooper told Vanity Fair.
Cooper’s onstage persona was inspired by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.
Cooper said he wanted to model his onstage performance after iconic Pearl Jam rocker Eddie Vedder.
“I went up to Seattle and spent four or five days with him and I asked him 9,000 questions,” Cooper told Yahoo Entertainment.
Interestingly, Vedder advised him against doing the movie. Obviously, Cooper didn’t listen.
Lady Gaga might’ve paid a tribute to Judy Garland in the film.
During the title sequence, Gaga’s character hums “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” which many took to be an homage to Judy Garland, who played the ingenue role in the 1954 version of the film.
Garland starred in “The Wizard of Oz,” which prominently features this song.
Gaga helped choose the drag queen who played her character’s mentor.
The Daily Beast reported that Lady Gaga specifically requested that famed drag queen Shangela Laquifa Wadley play her character’s mentor.
The former “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestant said she took the role very seriously.
“It almost felt like RuPaul bringing me back on another season, where it’s like, OK, this person stood up for me, has invested in me, has spoken for me; I better do a good job,” Shangela told The Daily Beast.
Most of the drag club scenes were improvised.
“Mr. Cooper allowed us to improvise a little also in our roles,” Shangela revealed in an interview with The Playlist.
Cooper was so surprised by the performer’s talent and natural ability to improvise that he invited Shangela and another “RuPaul’s Drag Race” favourite, Willam Belli, back to film some unscripted scenes.
“Originally, I was only supposed to go on set for one day and, at the end of that day, I remember that Bradley and Lady Gaga both said … they really wanted to switch some things around and add Willam and I to another scene,” Shangela told The Playlist.
Ally’s first song in the film is the same song that helped Gaga land the role.
Ally sings Édith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose” when Jackson first meets her. Gaga sang the same song to win over Cooper and land the part in the film. Gaga performed the song at a private cancer benefit in Los Angeles and Cooper was immediately starstruck.
“She had her hair slicked back and she sang ‘La Vie en Rose,’ and I was just … levitating.” Cooper told Vogue. “It shot like a diamond through my brain. I loved the way she moved, the sound of her voice.”
He told Vogue that he drove to Malibu to meet her the very next day.
Willie Nelson’s son Lukas Nelson cowrote a majority of the songs.
One of the guitarists in Jackson Maine’s fictional band is Lukas Nelson, aka Willie Nelson’s son. Lukas Nelson, a performer and frontman in his own right, also cowrote a majority of the songs in the film.
According to Rolling Stone, Gaga, Cooper, and Nelson formed such a musical bond that Gaga sang backing vocals on the song “Carolina” by Nelson’s band, Promise of the Real.
Gaga stopped wearing makeup for the months leading up to the shoot date.
Gaga’s character in the film has a very natural look. The singer revealed on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” that, to get into character, she started physically preparing for her role several months before the shoot date.
“I changed my hair and took off my makeup months before filming the movie,” she told Colbert. “I had to get into character. I had to get used to it.”
The dog in the film is Cooper’s dog.
“There was no nepotism – I wanted this relationship with the dog,” Cooper told People. “[Jackson and Ally] don’t have a child together but they have a dog together, and I wanted it to be part of their story. I love dogs.”
His dog is named after Cooper’s late father, Charlie. Cooper said this helped him to feel as if both his dog and his father were a part of the making of the film.
Some of Gaga’s real-life stylists and dancers appear in the film.
Instead of hiring actors, Cooper cast Gaga’s own dancers, choreographer, and hair and makeup artists to appear in some scenes.
Halsey has a small cameo in the film.
Singer Halsey appears in the film as herself to present Ally Maine with the Grammy for best new artist at the faux awards show.
“I play myself for a very small moment!” the singer tweeted. “Which is insane because it means Gaga and Bradley saw me worthy of representing a piece of the current state of music in this film forever. They could have picked any artist. It was so humbling and unreal.”
Ally’s best friend is played by an original “Hamilton” cast member.
Ally’s best friend, Ramon, is played by Anthony Ramos, who originated the dual roles of John Laurens and Philip Hamilton in “Hamilton.” The Broadway star said the most exciting part of the film was seeing Gaga’s work ethic up close.
“People only see the stardom, but no one really sees the moments in between the takes where the other person’s thinking about how to make it better, the moments between the songs when maybe this piano is out of tune: ‘Can we fix this? I really want to get this right,'” he told Vanity Fair. “That’s the kind of artist she is.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.