LADY GAGA MAKES HER BIG SCREEN DE­BUT.

IN­STEAD OF A REHASH, WHAT’S OLD IS FRESH IN LOVE STORY REMAKE

The Observer - - WEEKEND - WORDS: SEANNA CRONIN

AS­tar is Born is a film of firsts for its stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. Four-time Os­car nom­i­nee Cooper makes his di­rec­to­rial de­but in the con­tem­po­rary take on the tragic love story that fol­lows a mu­si­cian who helps a young singer and ac­tress find fame even as age and al­co­holism send his own ca­reer into a down­ward spi­ral.

For mu­sic su­per­star Gaga, it’s her first lead­ing role in a ma­jor mo­tion pic­ture.

“It felt like we were at the same point in­di­vid­u­ally in our work, and we both needed the same thing from each other, es­sen­tially, in order to jump the tracks to this other place,” Cooper says.

“I’ve al­ways known that I wanted to di­rect, but I also knew that I needed to have a point of view, to know why I was do­ing it, oth­er­wise there was no rea­son to. And I al­ways wanted to tell a love story, be­cause it feels like some­thing ev­ery­body can re­late to – the love, the loss of it, the high of it. It’s the thing that makes you feel the most alive.”

De­spite her ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence on stage, in­clud­ing last year’s block­buster Su­per Bowl half-time show, Gaga ad­mits to nerves ahead of her fea­ture film de­but.

“I had to get past the nerves, but I was so ex­cited be­cause, in my opin­ion, when some­body has tal­ent in­side them, brew­ing for years, ready to move into an­other medium and it fi­nally hap­pens ... it’s like a huge ex­plo­sion, an opus,” she says.

“He was meant to di­rect, and I just got lucky enough to be in his first film.”

A Star is Born fea­tures a sound­track of orig­i­nal mu­sic largely writ­ten by Gaga and Cooper, who made a pact early on to record all their per­for­mances in the film live – no lip-sync­ing to a track.

“There’s some­thing about singing that’s so hon­est ... you can’t hide at all. I thought that those two things (mu­sic and singing) could be put to­gether in a way that maybe I’d find my point of view,” Cooper says.

“I never thought, ‘How do I make it orig­i­nal?’ I just knew I had to make it au­then­tic to tell the story I wanted to tell.”

Cooper plays Jack­son Maine, a sea­soned mu­si­cian who dis­cov­ers and falls in love with strug­gling artist Ally (Gaga). She has given up on her dream to be­come a suc­cess­ful singer un­til she meets Jack, who im­me­di­ately sees her nat­u­ral tal­ent.

The first time Jack sees Ally, she’s per­form­ing La Vie En Rose at a bar he’s wan­dered into in search of booze, and where ev­ery other per­former is in drag.

“He tells her things I don’t think he’s ever told any­one,” Cooper says.

“This is not a guy who talks about that stuff and all of a sud­den he’s talk­ing about it to her. They just met, but there’s this chem­istry, this syn­chronic­ity, that’s oc­curred, and they both wind up let­ting their guard down.”

The film­mak­ers shot in such iconic lo­ca­tions as Los An­ge­les’ Greek Theatre, The Fo­rum and The Shrine Au­di­to­rium, and on the stages of the Coachella and Stage­coach mu­sic fes­ti­vals, as well as Satur­day Night Live, to en­sure the au­then­tic­ity of this look be­hind the cur­tain of the mu­sic in­dus­try.

Sup­port­ing Cooper and Gaga are some fa­mous faces in­clud­ing Sam El­liott, Dave Chap­pelle and An­drew Dice Clay.

“Once ev­ery­thing came to­gether – we got the cast, the mu­sic, the script was in shape – ev­ery­body was in­vested in a way that felt like it was more than a job,” Cooper says.

“They trusted me, which made di­rect­ing just the great­est ex­pe­ri­ence ever, and made it pos­si­ble to cre­ate the film we set out to make.”

A Star is Born opens on Thurs­day.

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