Lady Gaga has a theory. She says that when someone thinks for too long how to express themselves through another platform than the one they usually use, then that person becomes a "Petri dish". A Petri dish is a container used in biology to make things grow: Lady Gaga explained this to me, because I had never heard of it before.
Anyway. Gaga says that talent lives on the dish like a seed, it grows more and more until it becomes a vortex and explodes in all its strength. This metaphor can be applied to Bradley Cooper but even to herself. Because in this movie, A Star is Born, Gaga acts like she has done it for ages. Lady Gaga as an actress was waiting on the Petri dish, just like there was Bradley Copper as a singer and director on it. Together they revitalised a script that is as classic as a jazz song and has made it to Hollywood three times already.
A Star Is Born is the story about a girl becoming famous in the industry while a man goes through a downfall between alcohol and the end of his career, it’s the perfect metaphor of Hollywood and the absence of Fame as a disease and the presence of it as something that won’t last. This version of the movie, which clearly recalls the one with Kris Kristofferson and Barbara Streisand (even with some identical lines), debuted at the Mostra of Cinema di Venezia, and it will come out on October 11 (in Italy) and will probably dominate the topics, box offices and the main awards of the next months.
Gaga and Bradley are here in front of me like 'modest' personified, even if she’s wearing jewellery like a Queen. He has a shirt and blue jeans, she has a black dress, high chignon and they both look like they are waiting, waiting for everything to be fine. The alchemy between these two sparkles on the screen just like on this interview. They listen to each others answers, like a rhythm, just like when they sing in the movie.
I make a joke, quoting Lady Gaga’s song The Edge of Glory, and she challenges him "did you get it?", he replies quickly saying that he got it, and that he knows all her songs. "He’s so good, isn’t he?" She says, and they both laugh. Almost like two kids.
She describes him "as focused as a laser". Bradley replies "She’s the most talented, respected by all kind of artists that I know, from the country singers to the heavy metal guitarists".
If this friendship sounds fake, then they both deserve two Oscars each, not one. Because beyond the promotional aspect, these two aren’t here without a reason. Both of them, fought their demons (Bradley's alcoholism and Gaga's mental and physical issues), and thanks to discipline and talent, they are both here, winning in everything.
The last two versions of "A Star is Born", the one with Judy Garland in 1954 and the one with Barbara Streisand in 1976 were both made to re launch the career of the main actresses. Barbra Streisand for example, who was selling millions of records and already had an Oscar back then, was looking for something to expand her career to the young public. The idea of A Star is Born moving to the world of pop/rock (made possible by the writers Joan Didion and John Greogry Dune) sounded perfect. And it was.
Despite negative reviews from critics, the previous remake of the movie earned a lot of success and 'Evergreen' won an Oscar.
This 2018 version of A Star is Born, isn’t a comeback move. Lady Gaga is at the top of the her career as a singer. Ten years ago her first single Just Dance came out. Today she is 32 years old and she can do whatever she likes, even nothing. But instead, she agreed on Cooper’s offer, while he agreed to direct the movie on his own, which was originally planned for Clint Eastwood and Beyoncé.
Bradley and Gaga met for the first time backstage of Saturday Night Live. "She had to sing, and I had a little sketch, we talked for few seconds". Says Cooper. "I recently saw a picture of that day. I wouldn’t believe that such a special bond between us could be born".
They aren't a couple in real life of course: Cooper lives with the super model Irina Shayk, who last year gave birth to their daughter Lea, and Gaga is engaged to Christian Carino.
"Our is a story of admiration and friendship" explains Bradley. "Everything was born during a charity night at Sean Parkers’s house (Facebook co-founder). Gaga sang La Vie en Rose on the piano leaving me breathless."
In the movie, you can actually experience this scene. The two main characters meet when Jack (Cooper's character) goes to a drag bar and starts watching Ally (Gaga's character), a waitress by day and singer at night, singing La Vie En Rose. In A Star is Born, Lady Gaga isn’t blonde, she doesn’t wear make up, and she isn’t wearing strange outfits. "It was a real challenge for me to go like this", she says. "I felt vulnerable without my looks, but I jumped in, just like a dive in cold water. There is so much about me in this story that Bradley wanted to show. Just like Ally says in the movie, I was used to going in a room full of men that kept saying they love my voice, and how I wrote my songs, but they would give them to other singers because they were prettier than me".
So, when did she notice that a star was born in her career? "I was touring in America doing small shows in clubs, even three shows every day. And then, near the end of the tour in Canada, the speaker began playing Just Dance, and I started crying", Gaga said.
"Wow" adds Bradley. Which tells us about his "A Star is Born" moment. "I Was in Miami, and they hired me for a tv ad for Wendy’s which never aired, and I was staying in hotel that looked very luxurious (but it wasn’t really), and I called my dad just to tell him that I was on a room with a balcony."
Three Oscar nominations later, he became a director, just like many other actors, from Redford to Warren Betty to Clint Eastwood who choose to take another path for their career. In 2019 he will play in another very anticipated movie: they biopic on the Orchestral director Leonard Bernstein, produced by Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. "I always wanted to direct. This was my ultimate dream." He explains. "I became an actor first just because I was afraid of something so hard". Now he found the courage. He learned to play and sing and he even wrote some songs for the movie. "That’s all thanks to Gaga. She trusted me, she believed in me". He watches her in the eyes with gratitude.
They tell me about when Barbra Streisand came on set one day. Like a blessing. And how some scenes were recorded during a Kris Kristofferson show. Their dream has become reality.
Before leaving, I ask both of them if they are afraid of performing in front of the public. "Just if I’m not prepared", replies Bradley. And Gaga: "Me, even if I’m always ready, I’m always nervous. Tony Bennett once told me that it’s ok to feel like this: if you are afraid it means that you care. Sometimes I shake backstage. Then I walk up the stairs, they the spotlights turn on, and everything goes away". Gaga starts clicking her fingers, because she feels like she wants to dance, right here, right now.
Translation by Lady Gaga Now.