Bernstein latest: Bradley Cooper will star in Lenny biopic

Bernstein latest: Bradley Cooper will star in Lenny biopic


norman lebrecht

May 10, 2018

The Bernstein industry has told Variety that ‘A Star Is Born’ star Bradley Cooper will direct and play the lead in a Lenny biopic financed by Paramount Pictures and Amblin Entertainment and scripted by Josh Singer. Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Fred Berner, Amy Durning, and Kristie Macosko Krieger will co-produce.

They willl face competition from another Bernstein film starring Jake Gyllenhaal and called ‘The American.’

Some poor critics will have to watch both.



  • JoBe says:

    There is a very good Indian version of “A Star is Born”, even if it does not quite acknowledge its source: “Kaagaz Ke Phool” by Guru Dutt.
    Bradley Cooper is incidentally also the star of aptly titled films “He’s Just Not That into You”, “Yes Man”, and “Bending All the Rules”. He may indeed have been born to play Bernstein, the family man.

  • anon says:

    Get real, who the hell is gonna go see a biopic about Leonard Bernstein? It might play at several art house cinemas on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and in Boston, but even then, it’d only play one showing per day.

    The best one can hope for is a HBO series like the one about Liberace.

    Plus, Hollywood ran out of gay actors?

  • collin says:

    There were 2 biopics about Yves Saint Laurent, and one was watchable only because the gorgeous Gaspard Ulliel went full frontal.

    Gyllenhaal refused to go nude in Brokeback Mountain, I doubt he’d do so for Lenny B.

    So, another straight to DVD production.

  • David Boxwell says:

    Also starring Jessica Alba as Felicia Bernstein, Donald Glover as Donald Cox, Mandy Patinkin as gruff father Sam, J. K. Simmons as Dmitri Mitropolous, and Colton Haynes as Farley Granger,

  • Cubs Fan says:

    Since most Americans today have no idea who Leonard Bernstein was, these movies are a dumb idea. Let Lenny be Lenny: there’s plenty of video of him on the Omnibus series, Young People Concerts, and other sources. Those of us who treasure his legacy will watch those, but not some dumb biopic which will likely try to tarnish his reputation in some way. Compared to decades ago, movies that portray classical music and musicians in a positive light are far and few between.

    • The View from America says:

      Along these same lines … does anyone remember the biopic about Cole Porter that was released about 15 years ago?

      If you don’t, consider yourself fortunate.

  • Mather Pfeiffenberger says:

    Who will play Copland?

  • Sharon says:

    Don’t his kids have to authorize these films? I wonder if the Bernstein Foundation provided any funding. I do not believe there would be the interest in the US to provide a profit for a commercial film release. Why is Spielberg involved? Does he want to just try his hand at biopics?

  • Sharon says:

    Of course, it could be handled with the typical theme of the angst of the closeted gay man. Would this have a large general audience

    However, the Boys in the Band has just been revived on Broadway to pretty good audience reviews but it fortunately will have a limited run in part, I suppose, to prevent it from losing money.

  • collin says:

    The only bona fide success of a biopic about a classical music musician was Amadeus.

    What was the winning formula?

    IMHO, it was the script, the (made up) conflict, the jealousy, between Salieri (“I’m the patron saint of mediocrity”) and the (supposed) happy-go-lucky boy genius, enfant terrible, of Mozart.

    Bernstein never had such a (fictional) nemesis in his life. Karajan? Boring.

    Bernstein’s (supposed) famous lovers (Copland, Metropoulos) would not make appealing screen appearances.

  • Simon Hall says:

    Does the world really need 2 movies about LB? I think one of them should be scrapped and a movie made about Dimitri Mitropoulos instead.

  • anon says:

    Is there a Bernstein centennial in Europe? Even in the US, it’s mainly a NY, Boston, Ravinia affair, isn’t it? Even Broadway isn’t celebrating Bernstein, and his greatest contribution to music is on Broadway.

    I just don’t see the audience for these biopics.

    • Cubs Fan says:

      The Des Moines Symphony, hardly a glamour orchestra, is doing a LOT of Bernstein in the 2018/19 season. There’s something by LB on every concert, except maybe one. And West Side Story – complete. Personally, I’m sick and tired of the music already. I’ve played Symphonic Dances from WSS several times this season. And the Maurice Peress overture to WSS. And I’ve played the Candide overture three times. Enough already!!!!!

  • Larry W says:

    Leonard Bernstein- composer, conductor, pianist, and music educator- is the greatest musician America has ever produced.

  • Zalman says:

    I was just going to say that Jake Gylenhaal would be a much more suitable choice. Or Adrien Brody. Well, he can certainly play MTT.

  • Seth Lubin says:

    They can never make a good film about Bernstein as quite a lot of the plot would have to be X Rated.

  • Midwest Maestro says:

    Leave him alone, jealous ones. Despite all of his faults, Bernstein brought classical music to the masses in his teaching, composing, and conducting, during which he devoted hours of his precious last years to young people.

    • Seth Lubin says:

      It’s the movie companies that should leave him alone. Bernstein was a genius. Along with that goes his extraordinary personality. No script or actor can do him justice.