The buzz surrounding Lady Gaga's performance in A Star is Born is quite high, but there was a time when people weren't sure she was right for the role. While Bradley Cooper, who directed the singer and actress as well as performed as her co-star, was apparently sure that she was the one to play the role that had been handled by Judy Garland before her, producer Bill Gerber recently revealed that there were some at Warner Bros. who needed convincing. According to Gerber...
That was the studio --- that wasn't Bradley or the producers, but a former executive at Warner Bros. who wasn't convinced Gaga should get the role. So we convinced them. Bradley believed in her, and Warner's was generous enough to budget a proper screen test. It wasn't unanimous until we did the test, and when they saw it, it took them seconds to say yes.
While the studio may have needed convincing, it apparently didn't take too much to convince them. Simply showing them Lady Gaga's screen test got the job done. It's maybe understandable that a studio could be wary of casting somebody like Lady Gaga in such a high profile film. A Star is Born has been an Oscar contender all three times it has been made previously, including getting Best Actress/Actor nominations for Janet Gaynor and Fredric March in 1937 and then again for Judy Garland and James Mason in 1954. The goal was clearly to make the movie a contender again, which meant that the person in the female lead position had to be the absolute right choice.
While A Star is Born isn't Gaga's first acting gig, it is her first lead performance, so she's jumping into the deep end of the pool.
Lady Gaga tells the L.A. Times that she completely understands why she would need to test for the role, she admits that many people don't actually know what she even looks like since she's known for wearing such flamboyant outfits in public when performing.
And to be fair, making the movie with a less experienced actress wasn't entirely without its complications. Lady Gaga says she showed up to the first day of filming with all her lines memorized, only to have Bradley Cooper start out throwing her a line that wasn't in the script. She apparently froze up and was only able to repeat her scripted line over and over again. According to Gaga...
Finally, he said, 'Are you OK?' And then I started crying. Then I got that out of the way and then we did the scene. I had to let go of the words.
A Star is Born just had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, and so we'll learn shortly how the fledgling actress did in her big break, and if, in fact, a star has been born.