Netflix Will Develop Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein Biopic
Netflix is on board to develop Bradley Cooper’s biopic on American composer Leonard Bernstein, according to Deadline. Cooper will direct, star, and co-produce the untitled feature, which he co-wrote with Josh Singer (Spotlight). The picture was originally at Paramount back in 2018, but the studio has since relinquished its hold.
Cooper has an exclusive rights deal with the Bernstein estate, and has been closely working with the Bernstein family for the past two years. The feature film, which spans across 30 years, will focus on the “beautifully complex” relationship between Bernstein and his wife Felicia Montealegre. The movie boasts an impressive roster of co-producers, including Joker director Todd Phillips, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg, who recently helmed a remake of Bernstein’s West Side Story.
Cooper wasn’t the only one interested in illuminating the influential musician’s rich history on the silver screen. Up until mid-2018, Cary Fukunaga was also in talks to direct a Bernstein biopic with Jake Gyllenhaal in the leading role, but was eventually edged out by Cooper’s project. Cooper established his filmmaking chops with his directorial debut A Star Is Born, and Netflix Head of Film Scott Stuber is confident Cooper will bring that same finesse to the Leonard Bernstein story. “His strong passion and clear vision for bringing to life the relationship between the iconic composer Leonard Bernstein and his wife Felicia Montealegre promises to do their lives justice as only this renowned filmmaking team can," Stauber told Deadline.
Netflix’s decision to finance Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein biopic doesn’t come as a surprise, considering the studio’s recent focus on high-quality, star-driven dramas. After all, last year’s Marriage Story and The Irishman are both nominated for Best Picture nominations at the Academy Awards. The Bernstein film, set to begin filming in early 2021, will receive a significant theatrical release before its debut on the streaming platform.
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