Jamie Bernstein, the eldest daughter of famed composer Leonard Bernstein, is defending Bradley Cooper’s portrayal of the music icon in the upcoming Netflix movie “Maestro,” which world premieres Sept. 2 at the Venice Film Festival. Cooper, who directed the film and stars as Bernstein, has come under fire in recent weeks due to his decision to wear a prosthetic nose. He worked with Oscar winner Kazu Hiro (“How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Darkest Hour”) to create the controversial prosthetic.
“It’s just such an annoying distraction,” Jamie Bernstein told Vanity Fair about the backlash. “The people who were waiting to get mad about something were just waiting to pounce.”
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Jamie, along with her siblings Alexander and Nina, released a joint statement defending Cooper’s nose prosthetic shortly after Netflix debuted the first “Maestro” trailer, which accelerated the controversy.
“Bradley Cooper included the three of us along every step of his amazing journey as he made his film about our father,” the three Bernstein children said. “We were touched to the core to witness the depth of his commitment, his loving embrace of our father’s music, and the sheer open-hearted joy he brought to his exploration. It breaks our hearts to see any misrepresentations or misunderstandings of his efforts. It happens to be true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose. Bradley chose to use makeup to amplify his resemblance, and we’re perfectly fine with that.”
Afterwards, the Anti-Defamation League also came to the defense of Cooper. “Throughout history, Jews were often portrayed in antisemitic films and propaganda as evil caricatures with large, hooked noses,” the ADL said in a statement to Variety. “This film, which is a biopic on the legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein, is not that.”
“It just made us gasp at what they were able to achieve,” Jamie Bernstein told Vanity Fair about Cooper and Kazu Hiro’s collaboration. “He would send us photographs on his phone, and some of them were so spot on that we would think, Oh, come on now, he just sneaked in a picture of our dad.”
Jamie added about Cooper’s performance: “His energy was so similar to our dad’s, and his way of being in the world and relating to people reminded us more and more of our dad, and we began to see how right he was for the role in ways that wouldn’t even have occurred to us at first.”
“Maestro” will stream on Netflix starting Dec. 20.
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