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‘A Star Is Born’: Meet the Crew That Brought Jackson and Ally to Life

The unsung stars behind Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, “A Star Is Born,” talk about bringing Ally and Jackson to life. Read Variety‘s Lady Gaga cover story here.

Matthew Libatique
Director of Photography

“I would say the jumping-off point was we decided to place the camera onstage rather than ever seeing it through the audience’s perspective,” Libatique says. “We started the film onstage at Coachella. Lady Gaga doesn’t lip-sync. For her, every performance was 45 minutes of warmup and her exercise ritual. I didn’t want her to go through four or five takes. We had to be prepared.”

Karen Murphy
Production Designer

“I was interested in looking at the reality of the music industry,” says Murphy. “I suggested all along that we use real environments that people understand and know. We actually went to ‘Saturday Night Live.’” She chose the Greek Theatre for the performance of “Shallow.” As for Jackson’s home, Murphy discovered the Calabasas rental on a real estate website.

“I wanted to find something specific and warm, with age on it.”

Jay Cassidy

“We did a lot of screenings and learned a lot,” says Cassidy, who spent six months editing the film with Cooper at his home. “That’s part of Bradley’s process. He will show the movie to a small group of people that he really trusts. It was so wonderful to watch [Gaga] in the dailies every day. She arrived completely as Ally, and she was never not Ally.”

Erin Benach
Costume Designer

Gaga let Benach raid her closet to help create Ally’s look, but “we didn’t end up using much of her wardrobe,” Benach says. “When we’d pull from her stuff, it had an element of Gaga to it. We were always cognizant of not re-creating Gaga on-screen. It was scripted we had her in 53 changes. We did everything from augmented vintage to purchase new to build from scratch.” One personal touch: Benach loaned her own wedding dress for Ally’s elopement.

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