The buzz around the upcoming Leonard Bernstein film, Maestro, has been gathering interest over the past few weeks. Most recently, photos of Hollywood A-lister Bradley Cooper portraying America’s former classical music poster boy were leaked online. The resemblance is uncanny.
Here’s what we know about the movie so far:
Bradley Cooper and an all-star cast
Maestro sees Bradley Cooper not only leading the cast as Bernstein but also donning the director’s hat. Cooper will share the screen with Carey Mulligan, who will portray Bernstein’s wife, Felicia Montealegre, while Golden Globe-winning actor Matt Bomer will bring to life the clarinetist David Oppenheim. Other big names in the star-studded cast include Maya Hawke as Bernstein’s eldest daughter, Jamie, and Sarah Silverman as Bernstein’s sister, Shirley. The film also boasts big-name producers like Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.
Shots, sets, and symphonies
Filming began in May 2022 in various locations such as Tanglewood, New York City, and the majestic Ely Cathedral in England. Cooper has revealed that there will be a scene where he conducts Gustav Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony with a massive chorus and orchestra at Ely Cathedral.
What they’re saying
The film is being developed in close collaboration with Bernstein’s children, who have expressed their excitement about the project, appreciating the focus on their parents’ relationship and their mother’s (Felicia Montealegre Bernstein) portrayal. “It’s about something very specific and very personal for [my siblings and I],” Jamie Bernstein told Classic FM. “We’re really struck by the fact that this was the aspect of the story that Bradley decided to focus in on and we’re very excited about Carey Mulligan as our mother Felicia; I promise you she is going to send it to the moon in a rocket.”
The Facebook “Gustav Mahler Group” has been busier than usual debating the merits of the film. Many comments express the potential for the film to draw in new audiences to classical music, echoing Bernstein’s own legacy of broadening musical horizons.
Not everyone is happy about the idea…
…There has been some criticism surrounding Cooper’s use of a prosthetic nose to portray Bernstein, with arguments that a Jewish actor should have been cast in his place. The casting of Carey Mulligan, who is British, as the Chilean-American Felicia Montealegre has also been critiqued, particularly by the Latine community.
Looking ahead: The film is set to give Bernstein’s illustrious career and contribution to music a global platform on Netflix. By extension, the anticipation for Maestro speaks volumes about the ongoing impact of Bernstein’s work and the growing appeal of classical music in popular culture.
As we wait for the final release date sometime in 2023, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that the film strikes the right chord.
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