It’s perhaps fair to say that Lady Gaga has never been afraid to show her emotional side. And, in fact, she once again turned on the waterworks during the promotional tour for her first lead role in a feature-length film. A Star Is Born sees the enigmatic singer perform alongside Bradley Cooper, who himself has been venturing into new territory by making his directorial debut on the movie.
Born in Philadelphia in 1975, Cooper began studying at New York City’s prestigious Actors Studio a year after having guested on Sex and the City. He had his big-screen debut in the 2001 cult hit Wet Hot American Summer and was cast as Will Tippin in TV spy drama Alias that same year – ultimately going on to star in all five seasons of the show. Then, in 2005 the actor landed a supporting role in box-office smash Wedding Crashers.
But Cooper’s big break would arrive in 2009 when he fronted one of the decade’s biggest comedy hits, The Hangover. He subsequently enjoyed leading-man status in Limitless and, a year later, achieved critical acclaim for his supporting performance in The Place Beyond the Pines. It would be 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook that would elevate his career to the next level, though.
Indeed, Cooper picked up the first of three consecutive Oscar nominations – making him only the tenth actor in history to achieve such a feat – for his turn in the romantic dramedy. 2013’s crime caper American Hustle and 2014’s American Sniper, the war drama he also produced, were his other recognized performances. On stage, the star also received a Tony Award nomination for his leading role in The Elephant Man.
Then, following even more success as the voice of Rocket Raccoon in the Guardians of the Galaxy films, Cooper took to the director’s chair for the first time to helm a remake of A Star Is Born. And his choice of leading lady couldn’t have been more high profile.
It was none other than Lady Gaga who was selected to assume the role first assumed by Janet Gaynor and subsequently reprised by Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. But this wouldn’t be the first time the multiple Grammy winner had proved she was more than a pop star. Gaga had in fact first showcased her acting skills playing La Chameleón in 2013 grindhouse throwback Machete Kills.
Gaga then made cameos in Muppets Most Wanted and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. A meatier part came in 2015, however, when she starred as The Countess in American Horror Story’s fifth season. And Gaga picked up a Best Actress Golden Globe for her performance in the horror anthology; she also showed up in its sixth season, “Roanoke,” as Scathach.
But A Star Is Born was the first time that Gaga had taken on leading-lady status in a motion picture. The star plays Ally, a struggling singer-songwriter discovered by a more established musician, Cooper’s Jackson Maine. And as well as working together in front of the cameras, the two A-listers collaborated for the film’s official soundtrack.
Then, after A Star Is Born premiered at the 2018 Venice Film Festival, it became an instant critical hit. The Wrap described Gaga and Cooper’s chemistry as “dynamite” and musical efforts as “electrifying,” for instance, Meanwhile, the Chicago-Sun Times declared the film “the best Star is Born yet and one of the best movies of the year.” And Time’s Stephanie Zacharek also singled out Gaga for particular praise, as the writer deemed the pop star’s performance to be “knockout.”
The critics weren’t the only ones enamored with Gaga, though. Indeed, director and co-star Cooper couldn’t stop gushing about his leading lady when the pair appeared alongside co-stars Sam Elliott and Anthony Ramos on Good Morning America. “I’m just so glad God gave her the talent that she has, and he chose her, because that’s quite a vessel to go through,” remarked Cooper during the September 2018 slot on the show.
Cooper added, “Because it’s really what you do with [your talent], and she’s such a beautiful human being.” A visibly touched Gaga, who had already shed a few tears during a rags-to-riches story told by Ramos, then returned the compliment. “So are you. Thank you,” she told Cooper.
Gaga then revealed how she immediately knew she’d strike up an instant rapport with the director. She said, “As soon as I opened the door to my house and saw him, it was like, ‘[Are] you hungry?’ And we’re both Italian and from the East Coast. Before I knew it, I was heating up some leftovers for him, and we were eating together.”
And Gaga admitted that she had been blown away by just how good Cooper’s singing voice was. The film’s director spent six months training his voice for the role – a commitment that the pop superstar told Good Morning America had certainly paid off. She said, “He began to sing. I stopped dead in my tracks, and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, Bradley, your voice. You can sing.’”
Gaga then shared with viewers the greatest words of wisdom that Cooper offered to her about the acting profession. She said, “What he taught me was know your lines, but [also] really know the story that you’re telling [and] what you’re trying to say.” Cooper then commented, “All we’re trying to do is not act. That’s all we’re trying to do.”
And the love-in between the pair didn’t end there, as Gaga continued, “Bradley really has been an incredible leader in creating a beautiful family.” She then added, “I just love every single person that’s sitting here today and feel so grateful to be here.”
But Gaga’s GMA appearance isn’t the only time one of her A Star is Born colleagues has made her weep. Speaking at a Q&A at the Toronto International Film Festival, soundtrack co-writer Lukas Nelson told the pop sensation, “You just destroyed every single scene you were in.” Gaga instantly began crying as a result.
The waterworks continued as the Q&A audience responded with a standing ovation. Cooper, who initially comforted his leading lady by grabbing her arm, then joined in with the rapturous applause. And although Gaga implored the crowd to stop, she also thanked them and blew them a kiss.
Meanwhile, at a press conference at the same festival, Gaga was effusive about Cooper and making A Star Is Born. She said, “This entire experience was life-changing… I don’t know that I’ve ever had a closer artistic relationship than I have had with Bradley, a closer exchange.”
Gaga then added, “It meant a lot to me – and I think to both of us – that at the beginning of making this film, we kind of shook hands literally. And he said, ‘You are an actress,’ [while] I said to him, ‘You are a musician.’” Both Gaga and Cooper have garnered Oscar buzz for their performances in the movie.
And in September 2018 Gaga also told Entertainment Tonight that even just thinking about Cooper’s skills in front of and behind the camera is enough to get her all emotional. She said, touchingly, “He’s such a visionary and so brilliant, it could just make me cry. I just believe in him so much.”