Bradley Cooper Marks His Directorial Debut With a Remake of a Hollywood Classic

By  · Published on March 25th, 2015


What do you do after earning three Best Actor nominations in three years? And your first movie as a hands-on producer was nominated for Best Picture and became the top-grossing movie of the year in the US? You definitely want to try new things, and for Bradley Cooper the old cliche statement of “what I really want to do is direct” applies in this instance. He’s already been looking for a project to take on as his debut behind the camera, previously being linked to Honeymoon for Harry. Now Deadline reports that he’s in talks to instead make his first directorial effort be the next version of A Star is Born.

Cooper was apparently considered for the male lead in the remake when Clint Eastwood was attached as director and Beyonce was set to star. It was through that consideration that Cooper later went to Eastwood to helm American Sniper. He’s returned to take over and also produce and still star, and reportedly Warner Bros. is going to try to get Beyonce back on board, as well. That would be an interesting mix for the story, as I would have difficulty accepting Cooper as the Hollywood vet whose status is fading especially opposite a super-famous diva like Beyonce as the newbie he finds and helps in the birthing of her stardom.

This version should have some kind of fresh angle, and hopefully it will somehow deal with that external star text. A Star is Born has been done so many times, officially and unofficially, that the plot and themes require a new twist anyway. While technically only the third theatrical redo of the 1937 drama of the same name, the story has long been thought to be inspired by a real Hollywood couple (which one specifically has been up for debate) and a similar movie was made earlier in 1932, titled What Price Hollywood? In name, A Star is Born was turned into a teleplay in 1951, then a musical with Judy Garland in 1954 then as a movie set in the music business with Barbara Streisand in 1976.

There have also been foreign versions, including the recent Indian feature Aashiqui 2 and, my favorite take on the plot, the 1973 Bollywood classic Abhimaan, which starred real-life (and still together) couple Jaya Bhaduri and Amitabh Bachchan. And interestingly enough, she was in actuality the bigger star at the time of its release yet played the newcomer to his more famous character. Other similar movies include the recent silent Best Picture winner The Artist.

For some fascinating stories about the making of the 1954 and 1976 remakes, listen to the following episodes of Karina Longworth’s You Must Remember This podcast:

YMRT #5: The Lives, Deaths and Afterlives of Judy Garland

YMRT #21: The Birth of Barbra Streisand’s A Star is Born

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.