Bradley Cooper is voicing the backlash he received over the ‘prosthetic nose’ he used to play the character of Leonard Bernstein in Maestro.
People reported via a CBS Mornings interview on Tuesday, attended by Cooper and co-star Carey Mulligan, to discuss the new movie with host Gayle King. Cooper suggested that he initially considered not using the nose prosthetic for the movie.
When asked how he kept up with the backlash he faced for using the prop, he said, “Nothing really catches me off guard. You never know what’s going to happen,” adding, “The truth is, I’ve done this whole project out of love, and it’s so clear to me where I come from — my nose is very similar to Lenny’s, actually. The prosthetic is actually like a silk sheet.”
The 48-year-old actor who also co-wrote and directed Maestro continued in his statement, I thought, “Maybe we don’t need to do it, because we can take time off [preparations for the film],” adding, “But it’s all about balance, and, you know, my lips are nothing like Lenny’s, and my chin. And so we had that, and it just didn’t look right.”
People reported that shortly after the first trailer of Maestro was released back in August, Leonard Bernstein’s children Jamie, Alexander, and Nina shared a statement in support of Cooper using the prosthetic nose and said that they were okay with it. The statement reiterated, “It happens to be true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose,” adding, “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.”
As the “Hangover” actor recalled in the interview gathered by People, he said that he cried over the phone while having a conversation with Alexander after the release of their joint statement. He explained, “I couldn’t believe it, but this huge emotional exhalation came out, and I just was crying so hard, I couldn’t even thank him,” adding, “And he started crying. It was an incredible moment. Sometimes you don’t even know what’s going on, you know. I couldn’t believe that gesture. It was very moving to me.”
A second backing of the ‘prosthetic nose’ dilemma was extended by the Anti-Defamation League itself, which seeks to prevent anti-Semitic behaviors and practices. The exclusively told People in a statement, “Throughout history, Jews were often portrayed in antisemitic films and propaganda as evil caricatures with large, hooked noses. This film, which is a biopic on the legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein, is not that.”
People reported that in a New York Film Festival back in October during the promotion of the movie,’ Maestro’s makeup designer Kazu Hiro said that Cooper utilized a nose plug within the prosthetic nose to make his voice sound closer to Bernstein’s.’ Hiro explained to the magazine while replying to Cooper’s demand of ‘changing his voice’ to match that of Bernstein, “We made a nose plug. He wanted to talk like and sound like Lenny,” adding, “Lenny’s nose was wider than Bradley’s, so I made it wider at the same time to change his nose shape and voice too.”
Maestro comes out on Netflix on December 20.