“I’m sorry that I hurt some people’s feelings”: 2 Times Oscar Winner Issues Public Apology For Bradley Cooper’s Jewface Nose in ‘Maestro’

Bradley Cooper’s second directorial film Maestro has been in the news ever since its first trailer dropped recently. The film which is based on the late American composer Leonard Bernstein and his relationship with his wife Felicia Montealegre has been the talk of the town, mainly because of some controversy that started from members of the Jewish community. They have been calling out the aspect of indulging in ‘Jewface’, which is a stereotypical and inauthentic portrayal of Jews by people of other races. Cooper’s prosthetic nose has been the main focus of that criticism and this has led to many people criticizing the casting of people who do not belong to the race or creed of the characters they portray on screen. Recently the team behind Maestro has spoken up regarding the controversy and why they did what they did.

Also read: “This is just gross”: Marvel Star Bradley Cooper’s Makeup Team Pushes Him into Anti-Semitism Controversy at the Worst Possible Time, Fans Threatening to Boycott Maestro

The Prosthetics Helped Bradley Cooper to Authentically Look the Part

Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan in Maestro
Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan in Maestro

In a recent press conference at the 2023 Venice Film Festival, the makeup artist of the film spoke about the controversy that has been going on regarding Bradley Cooper‘s prosthetic nose and the accusation of indulging in ‘Jewface’. Kazu Hiro, the artist who provided the prosthetics for Cooper explained that the prosthetics work done to the actor was all done in service to the film and for Cooper to authentically look and become Leonard Bernstein. He expressed his shock at the controversy saying,

“I wasn’t expecting that to happen… I feel sorry that I hurt some people’s feelings. My goal was and Bradley’s goal was to portray Lenny as authentic as possible. Lenny had a really iconic look that everybody knows — there’s so many pictures out there because he’s photogenic, too — such a great person and also inspired so many people. So we wanted to respect the look too, on the inside. So that’s why we did several different tests and went through lots of decisions and that was the outcome in the movie.”

Cooper is playing a real-life figure, therefore he has to transform himself physically and appearance-wise to look the part and provide credibility and authenticity to the role. Thus the controversy or criticism is confusing as to why some members of the Jewish community are criticizing him, while he is trying his best to respectfully play the late composer who was also Jewish. Regarding the aspect of Cooper not being fit to play the role just because he does not belong to the community is absurd, since the job of an actor is to convincingly become someone they are not and portray them on screen.

Also read: “This film…is not that”: Anti-Defamation League Supports Bradley Cooper’s Maestro, Denounces ‘Jewface’ Controversy

The Bernstein family Has Supported Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper is unrecognizable in his role as Leonard Bernstein
Bradley Cooper is unrecognizable in his role as Leonard Bernstein

Amidst the controversy, the people who have always supported Bradley Cooper’s decision for a prosthetic makeup is Leonard Bernstein’s own family and his children. The family explained that Cooper involved them throughout the making of the film and was stunned by his commitment and dedication to the role. Bernstein’s children, Jamie, Alexander, and Nina Bernstein also spoke (via Variety) about the unnecessary distraction caused by the controversy saying,

“Bradley Cooper included the three of us along every step of his amazing journey as he made his film about our father. We were touched to the core to witness the depth of his commitment, his loving embrace of our father’s music, and the sheer open-hearted joy he brought to his exploration. It breaks our hearts to see any misrepresentations or misunderstandings of his efforts. It happens to be true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose. Bradley chose to use makeup to amplify his resemblance, and we’re perfectly fine with that. We’re also certain that our dad would have been fine with it as well. Any strident complaints around this issue strike us above all as disingenuous attempts to bring a successful person down a notch — a practice we observed all too often perpetrated on our own father. At all times during the making of this film, we could feel the profound respect and yes, the love that Bradley brought to his portrait of Leonard Bernstein and his wife, our mother Felicia. We feel so fortunate to have had this experience with Bradley, and we can’t wait for the world to see his creation.”

There is no bigger validation than getting the approval of the family of the person that one is playing. Therefore, all other criticisms can be put to rest since Bernstein’s own family have expressed their love and admiration for Cooper and also for his efforts and commitment to bring forward their late father and his life to the big screen.

Also read: “You’re f**king directing Maestro”: $436M Oscar Winner Impressed Steven Spielberg So Much He Ordered Bradley Cooper to Direct Leonard Bernstein Drama

Source: Variety



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