“Maestro” is Cooper’s sophomore directorial effort, and he has some pretty impressive help from producer Steven Spielberg. Photos of Cooper in his transformative makeup are nothing short of amazing, and this is a passion project close to the performer’s heart. He told Variety in January that he had always wanted to be a composer, and now he’s going to get to portray one of the greats.
Bernstein had an incredible life and career, debuting as a conductor at only 25 years old when another conductor took ill and he was put in charge of the New York Philharmonic. That’s one helluva debut, but he had a hard time after being blacklisted for accusations of being a communist. He was also a gay man hiding in a complex marriage, and the story is sure to be a complicated one with lots of emotional resonance. Over the course of his career, he wrote music for huge Broadway hits like “West Side Story,” though his greatest contribution to film (aside from “West Side Story” adaptations) was probably his score for the Academy Award-winning “On the Waterfront.” The film was co-written by Cooper with “Spotlight” scribe Josh Singer and is being produced by Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Fred Berner, and Amy Durning. That’s right, Spielberg and Scorsese are both producing this, which is about as great a film pedigree as anyone can ask for.
The film is set to take place over 30 years of the composer’s life, and Cooper worked with Bernstein’s real life children to ensure he brought the story to life correctly. The film began filming in May and currently has no set release date, though it’s probably safe to bet that it will head to Netflix a little closer to awards season.