Bradley Cooper stayed up all night to perfect controversial 'Jewface' makeup
Bradley Cooper sat through an impressive five-hour makeup process in order to transform into Leonard Bernstein for upcoming film, Maestro.
Cooper, who recently shaved his head for a project, was hit with backlash from some people who felt the makeup equated to ‘Jewface’.
The family of Bernstein defended Cooper, who both stars in and directs the new biopic, and said they were ‘touched to the core to witness the depth of his commitment.’
The 48-year-old adopted a larger nose for the film, which the family maintains the late composer would have been ‘fine’ with.
At the New York Film Festival screening of Maestro on Monday, Oscar-winning makeup artist Kazu Hiro gave some more information on the controversial prosthetics.
He revealed he and his team would spend all night applying the cosmetics so Cooper could be behind the camera in character.
Hiro shared: ‘The last stage, he had covered pretty much everywhere, the bodysuit and arms. That took over 5 hours.
‘The last stage, the whole time, our call time was 1 in the morning. The other thing was he wanted makeup to be finished before the crew call, so he would appear as Lenny to set up the shoot and everything.
‘That also kind of made our call time two hours earlier than normal, so that was quite tough.’
As the film is a biopic, Cooper needed longer in the chair depending on the age of Bernstein in the scene.
Aged lines, facial prosthetic additions, and skin discolouration all ramped up as later moments from the composer’s life were filmed.
‘(We had to) keep adding because as he gets older, we had to add more elements,’ Hiro explained.
‘The younger stage was the nose and lips and chin and a wig. After the third stage, he started having cheek and neck (additions).’
Bernstein was an accomplished composer, earning himself Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, and 16 Grammy Awards – including the Lifetime Achievement Award.
His best-known work is West Side Story, for which he collaborated with famed lyricist and musicals legend, Stephen Sondheim.
Maestro tells the story of his life and relationship with his wife Felicia Montealegre, portrayed by Carey Mulligan.
Hiro addressed the backlash against the prosthetic nose, which Cooper chose to emphasise in his portrayal of Bernstein, who was Jewish.
‘I wasn’t expecting that to happen. I feel sorry that I hurt some people’s feelings,’ Hiro said.
‘My goal was and Bradley’s goal was to portray Lenny as authentic as possible. Lenny had a really iconic look that everybody knows – there’s so many pictures out there because he’s photogenic, too – such a great person and also inspired so many people.
‘So we wanted to respect the look too, on the inside. So that’s why we did several different tests and went through lots of decisions and that was the outcome in the movie.’
Maestro is set to be released in select theatres in November then on December 20, it will appear on Netflix.
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