Bradley Cooper’s fake nose in Leonard Bernstein biopic sparks ‘Jewish face’ debate

JTA – Bradley Cooper’s Upcoming Biopic About Leonard Bernstein When Netflix Releases the First Stills of “The Master”, There’s One Thing Most Fans Can Agree on .

Cooper looked completely unrecognizable, especially in one photo where he was an older version of the iconic Jewish conductor.

But as a slew of angry social media users pointed out Monday, part of Cooper’s makeover involved a fake nose, which many consider anti-Semitic — especially since Cooper isn’t Jewish.

“There is no reason to believe that the decision to wear a prosthetic nose was a deliberately anti-Semitic act,” wrote James Hersh, co-host of the Canadian Jewish News’ Menschwarmers podcast about Jewish athletes. “Cooper was presumably interested in exploring the life of a great composer he admired. Many Jews were involved in making it. The prosthesis arguably contributes to the similarities.

“But this is the third time Cooper has portrayed a historical figure on screen,” added Hersh. “No prosthetics were used to play American Sniper’s Chris Kyle or Licorice Pizza’s Jon Peters. He didn’t use them to play The Elephant Man on Broadway.”

Hersh isn’t the only one calling for prosthetics.

While actors often adjust their bodies when playing historical figures, conversations about how many non-Jews are playing Jewish characters in Hollywood — and the scale that should be allowed — have been circulating for years.

But the “Jewish Faces” debate got a boost last year, especially after non-Jewish actress Kathryn Hahn was cast as outspoken Jewish comedy pioneer Joan Rivers (in a series that was eventually dropped). Comedian Sarah Silverman made headlines after berating the cast during an episode of her podcast, saying “Right now, reps are fucking important.”

Bernstein’s biographical discourse has received particular attention since 2018, when Cooper and Steven Spielberg (who initially made his first film before becoming the director’s follow-up to Cooper’s 2016 remake of “A Star Is Born”) The cast and director team, designated as director “Master”), beat out Jake Gyllenhaal and Cary Fukunaga for music rights from Bernstein’s estate.

In an interview last year about Bernstein’s sweepstakes, Gyllenhaal, who is Jewish like Spielberg, mentioned Bernstein’s Jewish identity when he conceded defeat.

“It’s something to be proud of by sticking your neck out and hoping to be able to tell the stories you love that have been in your heart for so long. That story, the idea of ​​playing one of America’s greatest Jewish artists and his relationship with The struggle for my own identity has been on my mind for over 20 years, but sometimes these things don’t work,” he told Deadline.

Some fans have revived the possibility of Gyllenhaal playing Bernstein as they swiped at Cooper’s live images.

Production begins this month on “Maestro,” starring Carey Mulligan as Bernstein’s wife, Felicia Montealegre. The film is likely to be released in 2023.

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