Another prestigious filmmaker makes the move to Netflix, with Bradley Cooper joining the streaming service’s ranks. The actor turned director made considerable waves with A Star Is Born in 2019, earning three Oscar nominations as a result. Yet A Star Is Born got crushed on the night, left taking home a single prize for Lady Gaga and “Shallow.” Considering the musicality of A Star Is Born pushed him into writing his own music, it is unsurprising that Cooper’s next work will focus on the famed composer Leonard Bernstein.
Bernstein remains one of the great film composers of the 20th century. Bernstein was best known in New York circles for his work on Broadway and with the New York Philharmonic. He scored dozens of shows, most notably West Side Story. His other works include the stage adaptation of Peter Pan, On the Town, and the 1954 film On the Waterfront. A legend of the era, Bernstein hid his sexuality from the public. He was married to his wife, Felicia Montealegre, for more than thirty years. The film will focus on their relationship, and will likely dive into his relationships with men as well. Oscar-winning screenwriter Josh Singer (Spotlight, First Man, The Post) will pen the screenplay.
Cooper becomes the latest director to jump to Netflix, likely due to the higher budgets they can offer him. Martin Scorsese leads an all-star team of producers, including Steven Spielberg and Todd Phillips, after the success of The Irishman this fall. Spielberg’s involvement marks the first collaboration between the director and the streaming giant. It also likely means that Cooper’s Bernstein biopic will get considerable time in theaters. After all, Scorsese and Spielberg have made preserving the theatrical experience as part of their mission over the past five years. The marriage might be an uneasy one, but if Netflix can continue their hot-streak with Cooper, much of the negative press between the parties will heal.