Bradley Cooper Thought He’d Never Play The Lead In A Star Is Born

Jackson meeting Ally at the bar

Awards season is in full bloom, with the Golden Globe Awards handing out the first trophies for film and TV's best work. For the film side of things, the frontrunners for Oscar contention are obvious, with Bradley Cooper's directorial debut A Star Is Born being one of the big names of the year. Cooper worked intensely on the project as a writer, director, and producer, but it turns out that he didn't originally think he'd ever play the film's tragic lead character.

Bradley Cooper's performance as Jackson Maine has garnered a ton of positive attention, as he was able to transform physically and vocally into the conflicted musician. But when he was approached by original director Clint Eastwood about playing A Star Is Born's male protagonist, he didn't think he could hack it. As Cooper recently revealed:

I knew, deep down, I hadn't lived enough and wouldn't play that character.

A Star Is Born had a long gestation period, where a variety of actor and directors were attached to the project. And when Clint Eastwood was planning to be behind the helm, he knew he wanted Bradley Cooper to play Jackson Maine. But the actor didn't agree. Let's just say I'm glad he changed his mind.

Bradley Cooper's comments from Deadline's The Contenders event may surprise moviegoers, who have responded well to his performance as Jackson Maine in A Star Is Born. Cooper was almost unrecognizable in the role, portraying Jackson's musicianship, substance issues, and family trauma with subtle realism. But when he was first approached, the actor believe he didn't have enough life experience to portray such a complicated and haunted character.

Ultimately Bradley Cooper did an about face, and ended up becoming more than just A Star Is Born's cast member. Cooper ended up working on the musical drama for years, making the movie his directorial debut in the process. Cooper put a ton of work into finding Jackson, including extensive work with a dialect coach in order to find the character's signature gravel. Furthermore, he had to learn how to sing, and helped Lady Gaga work on the film's already iconic soundtrack.

Bradley Cooper's performance has been critically acclaimed, an achievement made all the more impressive due tot the many roles he played in A Star Is Born. It should be interesting to see how he ends up doing during Awards Season, as there is some stiff competition for Best Actor categories. Chief among them is Rami Malek, who is the frontrunner after portraying Freddie Mercury in the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Both actors did a deep dive for their roles, so it'll be fascinating to see how various ceremonies go down. So far Malek is ahead, after taking the Golden Globe home.

CinemaBlend will keep you updated on all things A Star Is Born, especially as awards season continues on. In the meantime, 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.