Bradley Cooper took extreme measures to become Jackson Maine for his directorial debut, “A Star Is Born,” setting up a musical bootcamp in his home for six whole months.
In an interview with W Magazine, the actor said that he had learned to play the bass as a child, but still had to learn to play the guitar and the piano for the role.
“We mapped out my entire schedule, day by day,” Cooper said. “I’d wake up and work out, followed by two hours of guitar practice and two hours of piano lessons. Lunch. Then Lukas Nelson [Willie’s son], my collaborator, would come over, and we’d write music for one and a half hours. I’d write the screenplay for the rest of the day. Irina [Shayk, Cooper’s girlfriend] was pregnant, so it was kind of perfect. Lea was born a week before we started shooting.”
Cooper has went all-out for roles in the past, for instance his constant physical contortions while portraying Joseph Merrick in the 2014 Broadway revival of “The Elephant Man,” and the pounds of muscle he added in just three months to play Chris Kyle in “American Sniper.”
“I’ve been a soldier [‘American Sniper’], a musician [‘A Star Is Born’], a chef [‘Burnt’], and a disfigured person [‘The Elephant Man’],” said Cooper. “I still want to play a conductor. And then who knows?”
In the W interview, Cooper also talked about how Clint Eastwood, who had directed him in “American Sniper,” had suggested he star in a remake of “A Star Is Born” five years ago, but Cooper felt he was too young for the part.
“I was 38 at the time, and I felt I was too young for the part,” Cooper said. “Pretending I’d lived more than I had wouldn’t have worked. Saying no to Clint Eastwood was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I had put myself on tape for every Eastwood film. He was my hero!”
Later, when the two were at an event at the Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles, Annie Lennox’s performance of “I Put a Spell on You” led Cooper to rethink his decision.
“As she sang, I saw the veins in her neck pop, and I said to Clint, ‘Let’s do “A Star Is Born.”‘ He replied, ‘That ship has sailed,'” said Cooper. “I went to bed that night and saw the whole beginning of the movie in my mind, and I knew I had to direct it.”
“A Star Is Born” stars Lady Gaga as Ally, an up-and-coming musician who nabs the attention of famed singer Jackson Maine (Cooper). It’s the third remake of the 1937 original, and tracks the tragic love story between a rising star and a once brilliant performer whose personal demons are ruining his career.
The drama hits theaters this Friday.