Bradley Cooper confirmed during a conversation with Mahershala Ali as part of Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series, presented by Amazon Studios, that “Maestro” will finally start filming this May. Netflix’s “Maestro” marks Cooper’s first directorial effort since the blockbuster success of his feature debut, “A Star Is Born.” Cooper also stars in “Maestro” as esteemed Broadway composer Leonard Bernstein, with Carey Mulligan on board to play Bernstein’s wife, Felicia Montealegre.
“I wanted to be a conductor since I was a kid,” Cooper told Ali about the new film. “I was obsessed with it, asked Santa Claus for a baton when I was 8. Listening to music, falling in love with it and being able to really know every single moment of a piece, like Tchaikovsky’s ‘Opus 35’ in D major, this violin concerto. I could do it as if I know everything about it without really being able to speak the language, obviously.”
Steven Spielberg was originally attached to direct a Bernstein biographical drama and recruited Cooper to star in it. Cooper was coming off “A Star Is Born” at the time and was more interested in writing and directing movies than taking on an acting role for someone else, even Spielberg.
“I [told Spielberg], ‘I always felt like I could play a conductor, but may I research the material and see if I can write it and direct it? Would you let me do that?'” Cooper said. “Steven has a lot of interests — he’ll just choose one thing and all of the other things will be on hold. I think he knew he wasn’t going to make that movie for a while. He was kind enough to hand it off to me, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last four and a half years, and we start shooting in May.”
Scott Stuber, the head of global films at Netflix, updated Variety in December on the pre-production of “Maestro,” saying, “We’ve done a lot of work on the makeup. We’ve done a lot of work on the voice. I’m excited to see someone so deeply focused on creating a story that means so much to him. And Carey Mulligan is an incredible actress.”
With filming beginning in May, don’t expect to see “Maestro” in theaters and on Netflix until at least 2023. Watch Cooper and Ali’s full conversation as part of Variety‘s “Actors on Actors” in the video below.