After seeing A Star is Born, it's hard to imagine anyone else playing Jackson Maine other than Bradley Cooper. In addition to the emotion he brought to the role, the four-time Oscar nominee sang his own songs and was also totally convincing as a rock star. Originally though, A Star is Born was going to star a real rocker instead of Bradley Cooper: the former lead singer of The White Stripes, Jack White.
When Bradley Cooper was initially looking at A Star is Born as his directorial debut, he was interested in having an actual musician play the part of the aging rocker and he met with him about the part. According to Variety's sources, that actual musician was Jack White. However, while Bradley Cooper was interested in him in the role, it seems that the studio was not and would not make the movie with Jack White.
It's not clear why the studio didn't want Jack White to lead the movie. Perhaps it felt that he didn't have enough acting credits to instill confidence he could lead the film or perhaps he just wasn't a recognizable enough face. This all apparently occurred before Lady Gaga came aboard to star in the film, so maybe the studio wanted to make sure that at least one of the leads had a big name.
Singer-songwriter Jack White has been successful in bands and as a solo artist, so he obviously would have delivered in the musical parts of the film and A Star is Born would have played to his strengths, much as it did Lady Gaga's. The majority of Jack White's acting credits are roles where he played himself, although he did have a part in Cold Mountain and he delivered a memorable Elvis Presley in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.
You can see the inclination to have a real rock star in the role. The songs are fraught with emotion and part of the story, so they have to be good and you want someone who can bring some authenticity on that front. It's hard to know how Jack White would have been as Jackson Maine, but thankfully the film we got doesn't have too many people wishing for what might have been.
While stellar musical performances are great, in the quiet moments you also need someone who can really act. Fortunately, Bradley Cooper actually sang live, including some songs he wrote, and came off as a believable rock star in the film. And Lady Gaga, who is a pop star, showed she is also a great actress. So it was a perfect marriage of two people who could deliver in all the areas the movie required.
Jack White as one of the leads is just one of the many permutations of what might have been with this A Star is Born remake over the years. At one point, Clint Eastwood was attached to direct and the film would have starred Beyoncé instead of Lady Gaga. In the male lead, names like Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise and Christian Bale were all talked about.
A Star is Born has been a box office hit and it is set to make a serious run come awards season. Bradley Cooper's film may even get a new, extended cut. A Star is Born is still playing, but that's not the only awards contender in theaters this fall. Check out all of the holiday's biggest blockbusters and buzziest films in our Holiday Movie Guide.