The upcoming remake of A Star Is Born has been through multiple changes on the road to production, os you can forgive us for being a little concerned about its eventual outcome. What once existed as a starring vehicle for Beyonce (and also Jennifer Lopez), as directed by Clint Eastwood, has become a passion project for writer and first-time director Bradley Cooper. And he has one of the biggest music sensations on the planet as his leading lady -- Lady Gaga, making her big-screen debut. Cooper was on stage in Las Vegas at CinemaCon showing off the first footage from the upcoming release, and the trailer leads me to believe he's on to something special.
This story has been told before. Specifically, A Star is Born started as a George Cukor 1932 drama that evolved into a Judy Garland musical (in 1954) and a Barbra Streisand hit in 1976. The formula goes as so: A successful rocker finds an aspiring songwriter who's deemed "not good enough" by the industry and, recognizing her talents, gives her a helping hand. In time, the fall in love. And in more time, the protégé eclipses the mentor... with staggering results.
Bradley Cooper sold his passion for the upcoming A Star Is Born at CinemaCon. It's his directorial debut, and he seemed over the moon about having Lady Gaga as his muse for this project. The way that he told it, the singer-songwriter insisted that she and Cooper sing all of their parts in the movie live. She said she hates in movies where actors lip-sync over playback. It ruins the desired effect. And while Cooper said he wasn't a singer before the movie started, he committed to the training to meet his star halfway, and by the time they shot, he got pretty good.
He also said that they hopped on stage at real music festivals like Coachella and Glastonbury to film authentic concert scenes for A Star is Born. And that authenticity shines through in the footage that was shown, a trailer that tells how Bradley Cooper's character, Jackson Maine, finds aspiring songwriter Ally (Lady Gaga) and develops her talent until the moment she finally gets on stage and sings. The trailer, alone, earns the single moment when Gaga approaches the mic and starts to sing. If it plays out similarly in the full movie, this will be something to witness.
Social media lit up in response to the A Star Is Born footage, with several tweets mirroring this sentiment:
Of all the footage that I saw at CinemaCon on Tuesday, this trailer is the one that has lingered with me, and got me most excited to see what Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga will do with this iconic narrative later this year. A Star is Born opens on October 5. Could a Venice/Telluride/Toronto bow set this movie up for Oscar success? We shall see.