Much of the rumor around Bradley Cooper‘s”Teacher”until now it has revolved around his shocking physical transformation on famed director Leonard Bernstein, but the actor-director-writer’s preparation for the role might also surprise some people. Speaking at a recent screening of the film in Los Angeles in a conversation moderated by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tony winner for “Hamilton,” Cooper revealed that he spent six years learning to conduct just over six minutes of Bernstein-style music. . himself so he could film a crucial scene from “Maestro” live on set.
The scene in question recreates Bernstein’s famous conducting of the London Symphony Orchestra at Ely Cathedral in 1976. The sequence is the most moving in the film, fully displaying Bernstein’s musical genius and showcasing Cooper’s astonishing performance. in all its glory.
“That scene concerned me so much because we did it live,” Cooper said at the event (via IndieWire). “That was the London Symphony Orchestra. They recorded me live. I had to drive them. And I spent six years learning to conduct six minutes and 21 seconds of music.”
“I was able to get the raw take of the one I had just seen Leonard Bernstein (conducting) at Ely Cathedral with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1976. So I had to study that,” Cooper added, while thanking the “wonderful teachers” like the director of the Metropolitan Opera, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, for helping him perfect the performance.
“Nézet-Séguin made videos with all the tempo changes, so he had all the materials to work with.” Cooper said. “It was really about dialing in exactly what he wanted cinematically and then inviting them to inhabit that space and trust that everyone had done the work. Because I think he knew that he was terrified, absolutely terrified that if he hadn’t done the work he wouldn’t be able to enjoy these scenes. And everyone did it.”
“Maestro” frames Bernstein’s professional career around his marriage to Felicia Montealegre, played by Carey Mulligan. Matt Bomer, Maya Hawke and Sarah Silverman also star. mulligan recently said Variety that it was Cooper’s style that made her feel like a “real actress” for the first time on a film set.
“There was a part of me as an actor that always thought, ‘Well, I’ll never be one of those actors who maintains his dialect between takes,’” Mulligan said. “There was a part of me that was a little repressed, or maybe nervous about fully committing to something. But that’s what Bradley asked, basically, at the beginning of the process. He said, ‘If you’re going to do this, you just have to do it all the way.'”
“When he said that, I thought, ‘Okay, I’m absolutely going to do it all.’ I’m going to do all the research. I’m going to do the whole dialect thing. “I’m going to do everything I can so that when I get to the set I can 100% feel like I’m on stage and have that feeling of ‘I don’t remember what happened.'”
“Maestro” opens in select theaters on November 22 and will be available for global streaming on Netflix starting December 20.