Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga are phenomenal
We already knew Lady Gaga has some serious acting chops after she won a Golden Globe for her role in American Horror Story: Hotel, but when she steps into the shoes of struggling singer-songwriter and waitress Ally in A Star Is Born she takes her acting credentials to new heights.
Paired with Bradley Cooper’s portrayal of troubled country-rock star Jackson Maine – complete with a perfectly-practised Southern drawl – you have a match made in Award-season heaven.
As individual characters their performances are outstanding, but when brought together their chemistry is electric, their connection undeniable, and their story completely captivating.
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But it’s more than just a two-person show
While Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper lead the way, they don’t completely steal the show – and that has a lot to do with how great the rest of A Star Is Born‘s cast is.
Sam Elliot is perfect as Jackson’s older brother/father figure Bobby (who also provided the inspiration for Cooper’s gravelly drawl). Rafi Gavron shines as Ally’s straight-shooting manager Rez, Andrew Dice Clay will have you in fits of laughter with his portrayal of Ally’s Sinatra-obsessed father Lorenzo, and Hamilton star Anthony Ramos’ Ramon is the perfect best friend.
Bradley Cooper had to learn how to sing and play guitar for the role
After seeing Bradley Cooper’s portrayal of Jackson Maine, you’d have a hard time believing that he had to learn how to sing and play guitar specifically for the role – but that’s exactly what he did. He was coached by co-star Sam Elliot and Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder to perfect Jackson’s character, and according to an interview with Vanity Fair, Vedder tried to convince Cooper not to do his own singing.
Not only did Cooper spent months transforming his own speaking and singing voice into one that sounds a whole lot like Elliot’s, but he also spent 18 months mastering the guitar. So anytime you see Cooper shred, it’s legit.
All hail the soundtrack
Full disclosure, we’ve been listening to A Star Is Born‘s soundtrack for the last week, and we’re listening to it right now.
Every musical moment spread throughout the film’s two-hour runtime is pure perfection. From rock ’n’ roll opener Black Eyes all the way to the emotional I’ll Never Love Again, every single song hits the mark.
Cooper and Gaga feature in the writing credits of almost every song on the soundtrack, while other familiar names include Mark Ronson, Jason Isbell, Lori McKenna, and Andrew Wyatt.
After seeing him perform at 2016’s Desert Trip festival, Cooper reached out to Willie Nelson’s son Lukas to consult on the film’s music – he then ended up contributing eight original songs, as well as offering his own band Promise of the Real to perform as Jackson Maine’s onscreen backing band.
Every musical scene was performed live
Speaking of musical moments, every single performance was recorded live. Gaga was adamant that the pair actually perform to avoid looking like they were awkwardly lip-syncing. In June 2017, Cooper made a surprise appearance on Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage as part of filming. In a fun twist of fate, he actually took to the stage just before Kris Kristofferson, who starred in Cooper’s role in the 1976 version of A Star Is Born. Other performances were directed and performed at festivals including Stagecoach and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
The cameos are top notch
If you’ve had a squiz through IMDB (surely, we’re not the only ones that do that before we see a film, right?) then you’ll know that the celeb cameos are A+. From our adopted son (yes, we’re doing that Australian thing where we claim every New Zealander that moves over here) Marlon Williams to pop superstar Halsey – and a whole stack of legends in between – you’ll want to watch the film just so you can play spot the celeb drop in.
Bradley Cooper’s dog gets a starring role
We won’t blame you for falling in love with the adorable labradoodle Ally brings home for Jackson in the film. Well it turns out that very good boy is Bradley Cooper’s real-life dog Charlie. He appears in several pivotal scenes throughout the film and his acting skills are spot on. We’ll be keeping an eye on Charlie come Oscar season.
Check out the trailer below.
A Star Is Born is in cinemas now.