Maestro Takes Center Stage in L.A.
After an international debut at this year’s Venice Film Festival and a New York bow as the Spotlight Gala selection of the 61st New York Film Festival, Maestro took Los Angeles last night at a special screening held at the Academy Museum’s David Geffen Theater.
Maestro — the fearless love story of conductor, composer, and educator Leonard Bernstein and his wife, the actor and artist Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein — is Bradley Cooper’s latest cinematic achievement, which he directed, starred in, produced, and co-wrote, alongside Josh Singer.
Eschewing the typical approach to a biographical film, Cooper focuses on the dynamic and complex relationship between the celebrated conductor and his wife, played by Carey Mulligan, depicting two artists and the powerful romance they shared across nearly three decades. “I wanted to dedicate the real estate of the film to them,” Cooper recently told Queue. “How could I serve the truth of his life within this marriage while not shifting the focus away from them? I wanted to make a movie about these two because that’s frankly what I found encapsulated everything.”
Cooper — now a triple Golden Globe nominee for his work as director, producer, and star of Maestro — was joined on the black carpet by his co-star and fellow Golden Globe nominee Mulligan, who says that playing Felicia was one of the “most exciting” roles of her career: “It was so rich and there was so much breadth to her character and so much change in her life. I was just amazed that [Bradley] was asking me to do it.”
The Queue Issue 15 cover stars celebrated the Los Angeles screening of their much-anticipated film, now nominated for eight Critics Choice Awards including Best Picture, alongside their onscreen family and castmates, including Sarah Silverman, who plays Leonard’s sister Shirley; Maya Hawke, who takes on the role of Jamie Bernstein, the eldest child of Leonard and Felicia; and ensemble members Gideon Glick and Matt Bomer. Cooper’s A Star Is Born collaborator Lady Gaga was also in attendance to support the premiere of the musical drama. The film’s producer Steven Spielberg, who passed the directing baton to Cooper after seeing an early screening of his directorial debut, joined the Maestro filmmaker and stars on the Academy Museum carpet with fellow producers Kristie Macosko Krieger, Fred Berner, and Amy Durning.
Maestro is the result of a true symphony of artistic talents, and the film’s special night was shared by its all-star crafts team, including cinematographer Matthew Libatique, prosthetic makeup artist Kazu Hiro, costume designer Mark Bridges, editor Michelle Tesoro, production designer Kevin Thompson, and more. Music consultant and conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who holds simultaneous roles as music director for the Metropolitan Opera of New York, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Orchestre Métropolitain of Montreal, was there to fete the cinematic ode to love and music.
The real-life Bernstein children Jamie, Nina, and Alexander shared the film’s special moment with Spielberg, Cooper, and Mulligan. The Bernsteins worked closely with the performers while developing Maestro, with Cooper bringing the trio along in every step of the journey of honoring Leonard and Felicia’s memory on the big screen. “Bradley turned repeatedly to us all the way along his process to ask us all sorts of questions and do all kinds of very intense research,” Jamie told Queue. Her younger sister Nina added: “The chemistry between our parents was so fluid and easy. Even when there was tension, the connection between them was so very strong, and they were able to get that. It comes through.”