Bradley Cooper Directs ‘Maestro’ and Stars as Legendary Composer Leonard Bernstein

In his sophomore directorial effort, Maestro, Bradley Cooper also stars as both a young and older version of legendary composer Leonard Bernstein. Carey Mulligan plays Felicia Montealegre, Bernstein's wife with whom he had a decades-long romance complicated by his many affairs with both men and women.

In the trailer opening, Cooper's Bernstein says, “If summer doesn't sing in you, then nothing sings in you. And if nothing sings in you, then you can't make music. Something she told me.” We then a get a glimpse of Bernstein and Montealegre's early relationship before we hear Mulligan's Montealegre say, “One can be as free as one likes without guilt or confession. Please, I know exactly who you are.”

Later in the trailer, Montealegre sees Bernstein hold the hand of a male acquaintance seated next to him at a concert. Bernstein says, “I love people so much that it's hard for me to be alone. And music — it keeps me glued to life.” Then, near the end of the trailer, Montealegre repeats, “If summer doesn't sing in you, then nothing sings in you,” before adding, “and if nothing sings in you, then you can't make music.”

Bradley Cooper Got Criticism for Wearing a Prosthetic Nose in Maestro

Bradley Cooper in Maestro
Image credit: Netflix.

Maestro doesn't premiere until November and already some overly sensitive woke warriors have accused the actor-director of “Jewface” for wearing a prosthetic nose as Bernstein. Variety reports that the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish organization that fights against bias and bigotry, rushed to Cooper's defense. “Throughout history, Jews were often portrayed in anti-Semitic films and propaganda as evil caricatures with large, hooked noses,” the ADL said in a statement to Variety. “This film, which is a biopic on the legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein, is not that.”

In addition to the ADL, Bernstein's children — Jamie, Alexander, and Nina Bernstein — also defended Cooper on X. The tweet reads, “Bradley Cooper included the three of us along every step of his amazing journey as he made his film about our father. We were touched to the core to witness the depth of his commitment, his loving embrace of our father’s music, and the sheer open-hearted joy he brought to his exploration.” The statement continues:

“It breaks our hearts to see any misrepresentations or misunderstandings of his efforts. It happens to be true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose. Bradley chose to use makeup to amplify his resemblance, and we’re perfectly fine with that. We’re also certain that our dad would have been fine with it as well. Any strident complaints around this issue strike us above all as disingenuous attempts to bring a successful person down a notch — a practice we observed all too often perpetrated on our own father. At all times during the making of this film, we could feel the profound respect and yes, the love that Bradley brought to his portrait of Leonard Bernstein and his wife, our mother Felicia. We feel so fortunate to have had this experience with Bradley, and we can’t wait for the world to see his creation.”

Maestro premieres in select theaters on November 22 before streaming on Netflix on December 20.