Donning a white wig and some very persuasive prosthetics, the 47-year-old American actor looks totally unrecognisable as an older Bernstein.
The pictures, released on Monday, allowed fans to have a first glimpse at the new Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg-produced film. In one shot, Cooper in a white shirt and white wig holds a cigarette while moving an arm. In another image, that looks like it’s been taken from the same scene, Cooper is bent over a table in thought.
A third image shows the actor as a much younger Bernstein, standing in a theatre holding on to Carey Mulligan, who is playing Berstein’s wife, the actress Felicia Montealegre. Cooper has thick black hair and the image has been released in black and white. Another black and white image shows the duo back to back, laughing and in love, and another shows Cooper filming Mulligan.
Maestro follows Bernstein’s career over thirty years. The Massachusetts-born musician is considered to be one of the most important conductors of all time, winning seven Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, sixteen Grammy Awards and the Kennedy Center Honor.
He made his conducting debut at the New York Philharmonic aged 25 and made the front page of The New York Times the next day. He composed the Oscar-nominated score for On the Waterfront, and, most famously, for the musical West Side Story.
He also wrote orchestral music, opera, chamber music, ballet and theatre music, and works for the piano. Bernstein, who died in 1990 aged 72, was also an activist, vehemently against the Vietnam War.
Cooper is directing Maestro with Hollywood legends Scorsese and Spielberg as producers, alongside Kristie Macosko Krieger (The Trial of the Chicago 7) and Fred Berner (Law & Order). Cast members joining Mulligan include Succession’s Jeremy Strong, Maya Hawke (the daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman) and Matt Bomer (Will &Grace, American Horror Stories).
The new film is the actor’s first directorial effort since A Star Is Born. The 2018 flick was Cooper’s directorial debut and went on to be a smash hit garnering a number of accolades including an Academy Award for Best Original Song for Lady Gaga, four Grammy Awards, Best Cinematography at the Satellite Awards, and over 250 award nominations.
With such a track record, plus its illustrious cast and acclaimed producers, everything is working in Maestro’s favour to be another massive hit.