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Bradley Cooper on Casting Lady Gaga for ‘A Star Is Born’: ‘I Fell in Love With Her Face and Eyes’

The chemistry between “A Star Is Born” director Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga was palpable during the film’s press conference at the Venice Film Festival on Friday, where the pair said they bonded over their shared Italian roots.

“I didn’t know you were Italian. I remember when we first met, after 10 minutes we were eating homemade food that she cooked – I love to eat – and that was actually a huge bond that we both came from East Coast Italian-American families. So we had a real synchronicity on that level from our upbringing,” said Cooper, who admitted that he immediately “fell in love with her face and eyes.”

Lady Gaga, who made a splashy arrival on the Lido looking like an Old Hollywood diva, said the main challenge for her in playing Ally was to show her vulnerability. Cooper helped her channel that by making her comfortable and wiping the makeup off her face completely on the first day of work.

The Grammy-nominated actress said the film’s story has endured the test of time because it’s a universal tale. “It’s a story about love and about what Bradley refers to as the human plight of addiction. It was a remarkable experience for me.”

Lady Gaga said she identified in some ways with Ally’s early struggles to become a professional singer.

“When I started out in the music industry and decided to be a singer and go for a professional career, I was 19 years and I hit the ground running. I was dragging my piano from dive bar to dive bar to get jobs so that I could sing and perform for people,” said Lady Gaga.

She said she also faced challenges because she didn’t have the right look. “When I started out, I was not the most beautiful girl in the room. [Producers] wanted to take my songs and give [them] to other singers but…I held on to them.”

“They made suggestions about how I should look,” she added. “I didn’t want to be viewed like other women, be sexy like other women. I wanted to have my own vision.”

Cooper revealed that the look of his debut film was inspired by a Metallica concert.

“I’m a huge fan of Metallica,” he said. “About six years ago I was at Metallica concert [standing behind the drum kit] and I saw the scope of it…and thought, wow, this composition is incredible and that’s what it feels to be on stage, to be a rock star…So in the movie you’re always on the stage.”

Cooper hinted that he would be back behind the camera. “I’m 43 years old and I feel that time is biggest currency and I have to utilize it to the best degree as possible. This film took four years…and if I can continue to do [what I love], if Warner Bros. allows me to continue to tell these stories, then that’s what I’ll do,” Cooper said.

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