Leonard Bernstein’s Family Respond After Backlash To Bradley Cooper Wearing Prosthetic Nose To Play Jewish Composer

The actor is playing Bernstein in forthcoming biopic Maestro, the trailer for which recently dropped and sparked controversy.

Leonard Bernstein’s family has issued a statement responding to the backlash surrounding Bradley Cooper wearing a prosthetic nose to play the Jewish composer in forthcoming biopic Maestro.

The trailer for the Netflix film, which debuted on Tuesday evening, sparked controversy, with many fans criticising the move for supporting antisemitic stereotypes, while others suggested a Jewish actor should have been cast in the role instead.

Actor Tracy-Ann Oberman was among those who commented on social media, writing on Instagram: “If Bradley Cooper green lights your film to play the Jewish composer Bernstein and you want him over a Jewish A-lister who can equally play that role – then let Bradley Cooper’s acting be so magnificent and truthful that the character of Bernstein shines through what he already looks like.”

“If Bradley Cooper can’t do it through the power or acting alone then don’t cast him – get a Jewish actor,” she added.

Bradley Cooper plays
Bradley Cooper plays
Rodin Eckenroth/GA via Getty Images

Leonard Bernstein’s children, Jamie, Alexander, and Nina, have now responded to the backlash in a statement they shared on the Instagram account for their father’s estate.

They wrote: “Bradley Cooper included the three of us along every step of his amazing journey as he made his film about our father.

“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. We’re also certain that our dad would have been fine with it as well.

“Any strident complaints around this issue strike us above all as disingenuous attempts to bring a successful person down a notch ― a practice we observed all too often perpetrated on our own father.”

Leonard Bernstein pictured in 1971
Leonard Bernstein pictured in 1971
via Associated Press

They continued: “At all times during the making of this film, we could feel the profound respect and yes, the love that Bradley brought to his portrait of Leonard Bernstein and his wife, our mother Felicia.

“We feel so fortunate to have had this experience with Bradley, and we can’t wait for the world to see his creation.”

HuffPost UK has contacted representatives for Netflix and Bradley Cooper for additional comment.

Maestro tells the complex love story between Leonard – who was the conductor and composer behind works such as West Side Story – and Felicia Cohn Montealegre, who is played by Carey Mulligan.

Throughout their romance, which spanned more than 30 years, they had two engagements, a 25-year marriage and three children, as Bernstein tried to come to terms with his sexuality.

Bradley has also written the screenplay, and is serving as a producer and director on the film.

Maestro is set to be released in select cinemas in November, before it begins streaming on Netflix in December.


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