After the teaser trailer for the Leonard Bernstein biopic, Maestro, was released Aug. 15, Bradley Cooper received backlash for wearing a prosthetic nose to play the famous composer. However, Leonard’s three children — Jamie, Alexander and Nina Bernstein — released a statement the following day, on Aug. 16, to defend Bradley, 48, who also directed the upcoming Netflix flick about Leonard’s life.
“Bradley Cooper included the three of us along every step of his amazing journey as he made his film about our father,” the kids wrote in their statement shared on Leonard’s Twitter. “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,” they added.
(1/6) From Jamie, Alexander, and Nina Bernstein:
Bradley Cooper included the three of us along every step of his amazing journey as he made his film about our father. pic.twitter.com/y9xZWDotJe
— Leonard Bernstein (@LennyBernstein) August 16, 2023
The statement continued, “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,” Leonard’s kids said, mentioning their mother Felicia Montealegre, played by Carey Mulligan in the film. “We feel so fortunate to have had this experience with Bradley, and we can’t wait for the world to see his creation,” they added.
In Maestro, Bradley plays the late composer who was one of the great musical icons of the 20th century. When Netflix released the teaser trailer for the film, which also touches on Leonard’s marriage to Felicia, fans got upset because of Bradley’s visibly large prosthetic nose. Bradley, who is not Jewish, was accused of stereotyping the “Jewface” which has been done before in Hollywood.
Bradley has not responded to the Maestro backlash yet. The upcoming Netflix biopic, out December 20, is Bradley’s second directorial feature. His first was A Star Is Born in 2018, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Shallow,” sung by Bradley and his co-star Lady Gaga.