Bradley Cooper to Direct and Star in Netflix Biopic on Leonard Bernstein


How early is too early for Oscar buzz? Netflix is lining up another big one here.

The streaming giant has been behind more and more films that head onto the awards circuit, namely the Oscars. And with both The Irishman and Marriage Story this year up for Best Picture, they’re only going to be ramping it up.

A big prestige play they have coming up is with Bradley Cooper, who’s now lined up the next film he plans to both direct and star in following his acclaimed award-winner A Star is Born. Deadline reports that Netflix has obtained the rights to an untitled biopic on American composer Leonard Bernstein, who was behind the music of classics On the Waterfront and West Side Story. The project was previously set up at Paramount Pictures.

Cooper has co-written the film with Josh Singer, who earned an Oscar for Spotlight, and will be producing alongside big names like Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Joker director Todd Phillips, among others. Scorsese had planned to helm a film on Bernstein when the project was at Paramount, but moved on to The Irishman and allowed Cooper to step in.

“Bradley’s directorial debut was nothing short of brilliant and he quickly cemented himself as a serious filmmaker,” Netflix Head of Film Scott Stuber told Deadline in a statement.

“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. We are honored to be working with the Bernsteins to share their family’s story with audiences everywhere.”

As Stuber said, the film will tell of the complex marriage between Bernstein and Montealegre, a Chilean-born actress. The film will be spanning over three decades, touching on a life that saw Bernstein make the front page of The New York Times after conducting the New York Philharmonic, while sick, without rehearsing, at the age of 25; get blacklisted and accused of being a communist before being cleared; earn an Oscar nomination for On the Waterfront not long after; and become a vocal activist in the civil rights movement.

Cameras on this highly-promising film are expected to begin rolling in 2021. Up next for Cooper, a starring role in Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley, a remake of a 1947 movie.

Roadshow Films


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Guillermo, Founder and Manager of Screen Realm, lives and breathes all things screen and pop culture. He has over eight years' experience in the media landscape in a career that has encompassed television, radio, and the online space. When he's not working hard on Screen Realm, you can find him at a local Sydney cinema or catching up on his ever-growing list of must-watch TV shows. He's also started a video podcast with his wife, Cassandra. Find the LOUD OBSERVERS right HERE.