“A Star Is Born,” which played at the Toronto Film Festival, follows Lady Gaga as Ally, an insecure singer-songwriter who meets Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), a famous musician who mentors her and helps launch her career. The music-heavy film marks Cooper’s directorial debut.

At the TIFF premiere, Lady Gaga got emotional while telling Variety that she sees a part of herself in the character.

“When I did not believe in myself, when I was bullied in school, I felt ugly, and my only escape was music and that’s why I started to sing and write songs and act. It was because I wanted an escape from all of that pain,” Gaga said. “Little Stefani right now, she’s very humbled and she’s very surprised.”

Cooper, who’s struggled with substance abuse in the past, said it was cathartic to use painful memories to mold Jackson’s character.

“Anytime you’re trying to tell the truth, you need to go to places and use things that have happened to you,” Cooper shared. “And that’s all part of the beauty of turning whatever things you’ve gone through into a story. I remember learning that in grad school, our teacher said all the insecurities, all the dark stuff, you get to use that.”

“A Star Is Born” hits theaters on Oct. 5. Read our review here.