Bradley Cooper Changed Up A Star Is Born’s Ending Late Into Filming

Jackson singing to Ally

Spoilers ahead for A Star Is Born.

With holiday releases just a few weeks away, it seems that this year's awards season has officially begun. Then again, it could technically have started back in October, when Bradley Cooper's directorial debut A Star Is Born first arrived in theaters. The musical drama has Oscar noms written all over it, between the ambitious cinematography, groundbreaking roles for Cooper and Lady Gaga, and the soaring soundtrack.

One of the most powerful moments in A Star Is Born comes from its final sequence, where Ally belts out the anthem "I'll Never Love Again", the song her late husband Jackson wrote for her. While the sequence provided the moment Ally's star was born, it turns out that Bradley Cooper wasn't sure about which track to put in the finale. As Lady Gaga recently revealed:

The way Bradley chose to end the film was extremely of the times. It was an unorthodox way, but it was the authentic way. And it changed as we were filming. The script was being rewritten and we had a trove of songs, so even on the day [of shooting], Bradley would be like, 'No, we're going to do this song. Not this song. Switch it out.' I'd be in my trailer at the piano, getting ready.

Now this is interesting. Bradley Cooper's multifaceted role in A Star Is Born has been recounted leading up to the film's release, but it appears that the actor/director was also living in the moment and making changes late into the game. What's more, it didn't seem to bother Lady Gaga in the slightest, once again proving how well their collaboration worked on the project.

And in the end, Bradley Cooper likely chose the right finale with "I'll Never Love Again." In addition to giving Lady Gaga's Ally an 11 o'clock number that shows off her vocal range, it also provided one more emotional gut punch for the audience. Because just as the song reaches its final chorus, the scene shifts to Jackson clunking out the tune on the piano, and singing to his wife. She sheds a silent tear, and you get one final memory of the love story that just took up the last 135 minutes of music and drama.

After showing Jackson's original performance of the unfinished song, the camera once again cuts back to Ally's perspective, as she recovers from the emotional and vocally challenging number. The protagonist then looks into the camera, and just like that, the titular star is born.

A Star Is Born is full of musical numbers that are already iconic, but "I'll Never Love Again" has its own special place in the Oscar-bait project. While Bradley Cooper may have been flirting with a few different tracks, having Ally complete Jackson's original song brought the story full circle. While Ally's career was kickstarted when Jackson finished "Shallow", her completed version of "I'll Never Love Again" is the final step toward the superstardom she was meant to achieve.

Ally visiting Jackson in rehab

Lady Gaga's revelation to THR is sure to pique the interests of little monsters out there, as well as moviegoers who enjoyed her performance in A Star Is Born. The movie's soundtrack is quite popular, with "Shallow" currently getting airtime on mainstream radios, in addition to streaming numbers. As such, many fans will be eager to know what other songs might have ended up being A Star Is Born's finale. And while it might have been a cut song, there's another possibility from the soundtrack.

If Ally's goodbye to Jackson wasn't "I'll Never Love Again", smart money says it would have ended up being "Is That Alright?" The powerful ballad plays during the credits of A Star Is Born, and even made the rounds in commercials ahead of the film's release. It shows a different side of Gaga's voice, although she still gets the chance to belt out some powerful notes throughout its run. And the lyrics also would have worked in context with the movie's third act.

Much like "I'll Never Love Again", credit song "Is That Alright?" speaks to the devotion and love shared between Ally and Jackson Maine. The couple built a life together, with music and empathy at the heart of their relationship. The lyrics to "Is That Alright?" seemingly speaks to the future they could have had, if Jackson hadn't tragically taken his own life.

In addition to directing, writing, and starring in A Star Is Born, Bradley Cooper was also intimately involved in the music of the film. Despite not previously being a musician, he collaborated with the likes of Lady Gaga and Mark Ronson to craft the film's soundtrack, and decide how they'd be weaved into the project. It overall sounds like an extremely intense process, and it should be fascinating to see how much it pays off once ceremonies like the Golden Globes and Academy Awards begin.

Both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga seem like shoe-ins for leading actor nominations, as A Star Is Born has been both a critical and financial success. Add in the narrative of both performers stepping out of their comfort zone, and it seems like a story that might end with the duo snatching a few trophies in the coming months. You can't deny that Cooper and Gaga put a ton of work into A Star Is Born, and they've luckily both been getting plenty of accolades and praise thrown their way.

The movie is putting some weight behind "I'll Never Love Again", as its one of the three songs that is being pushed for a Best Song nomination. A Star Is Born anthem "Shallow" is also another prime candidate, as well as Ally's first breakout song "Always Remember Us This Way". Bradley Cooper only appears in one of those tracks, with the soundtrack's potential nominations showing the musical talents of Lady Gaga.

Alas, we'll have to wait patiently to see how nominations work for both the Oscars and Golden Globes. Nomination-bait movies are beginning to be released after A Star Is Born, so all eyes are on how it will shake down. Be sure to check back with CinemaBlend for updates on all things movies. And check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.