Bradley Cooper isn't simply portraying Leonard Bernstein in Maestro, he's becoming him. If these photos released from the set of the upcoming biopic are any indication, the Oscar-nominated actor is undergoing a complete transformation to play the late, great composer.
Maestro stars Cooper as Bernstein, the two-time Tony Award winner, 16-time Grammy Award winner and Oscar nominee (Best Original Score for 1954's On the Waterfront), and Carey Mulligan as his wife, the actress and activist Felicia Montealegre. The couple's relationship spanned two engagements, a 25-year marriage and three children.
As such, the movie will span multiple decades, with Netflix previewing Cooper at two drastically different ages. The first look photos the streamer shared include black-and-white shots of Cooper as Bernstein and Mulligan as Montealegre likely in the mid 1940s, around the time they first met at a party.
The more attention-grabbing stills are of Cooper as Bernstein later in life, with the 47-year-old actor all but unrecognizable after undergoing a prosthetics transformation courtesy of legendary two-time Oscar-winning makeup artist Kazu Hiro (Darkest Hour, Bombshell).
Maestro marks Cooper's directorial follow-up to A Star Is Born, his Oscar-winning debut which earned eight total Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Actor for Cooper. The musical romantic drama took home the Oscar for Best Original Song for "Shallow."
Cooper, who wrote the script for Maestro with Josh Singer (the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Spotlight), was tapped to helm the project by Steven Spielberg, who was previously set to direct. Appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert earlier this year, Cooper revealed how Spielberg convinced him to direct.
"We're sitting there and I'm showing him A Star Is Born and he's all the way on the other side, in the front row, and it's the scene where Jackson calls Ally up on the stage. It's the biggest scene in the movie. And right as she, like, is just going on the stage, he gets up and I thought, 'Oh, he's going to the bathroom now? That's it! It's over,'" he recalled. Instead, Spielberg walked over to Cooper and, "He said, 'You're f--king directing Maestro.' And then he sat back down. It was an amazing moment."
Maestro is slated to stream on Netflix in 2023.