Bradley Cooper: Architect of His Own Legacy?

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Good morning: In today’s edition of The Industry, we look at:

Bradley Cooper as Maestro, Hopkins as Freud, OnlyFans and Jon Hamm’s nipple rings.

Let’s go!

BRADLEY COOPER: THE ARCHITECT OF HIS OWN LEGACY?

Bradley Cooper doesn’t hide.

When Liza Minnelli (Cabaret), daughter of Judy Garland—the lead actress of the 1954 version of A Star is Born, visited Bradley Cooper’s college, Georgetown, he risked embarrassment to seek feedback from her.

Although Cooper is not a natural singer, he was in the school choir at the time. He convinced his teacher to allow him to perform a solo in front of her and the entire school assembly to garner her feedback.

Later, in graduate school at The Actor’s Studio, he famously asked Robert DeNiro and Sean Penn questions about their acting technique.

It’s clear that Bradley Cooper has always been determined to grow, even at the risk of appearing naïve.

Starting with his first on-screen appearance in a 1999 episode of Sex and the City to later works like Wedding Crashers and The Hangover trilogy, he has gone on to transcend what could have been a superficial acting career, moving away from charismatic bad-boy roles into a career as a director.

In fact, from a young age, he had always wanted to direct:

“When I think about being 12 and watching The Elephant Man, it wasn’t so much what Anthony Hopkins was doing. It was what David Lynch was doing. I would always spend all my time, as much as I could, in editing rooms and shadowing directors and asking crew members questions and learning about lenses.”

Following his stunning directorial debut, A Star is Born (2018), Cooper’s sophomore feature is Maestro, a biographical film exploring the life of Leonard Bernstein. It delves into Bernstein’s rise in the international music scene and the complexities of his personal life.

The parallels between Bradley and Bernstein are uncanny in the unwavering persistence of their artistic journeys.

Cooper’s metamorphosis into Bernstein took five hours each day, aided by two-time Oscar-winning makeup artist Kazu Hiro (Darkest HourBombshell). Cooper would arrive two hours before call time to set up the shoot in make-up.

We often hear stories of actors in grueling prosthetic make-up sessions. But pulling double duty as director and actor seems unimaginably difficult.

From his curiosity about Liza Minnelli, Robert DeNiro, and Sean Penn to his shadowing of directors on-set, Bradley Cooper stands not just as a performer but as a maestro, orchestrating his legacy with meticulous precision.

And above all, backing himself.

For More:

Trailer for MaestroIn theaters November 22nd. On Netflix December 20th.

Louis C.K. bad-mouths actor studio students who ask questions. Bradley gets revenge. Meme here.

A triumphant return to the Actors Studio with Bradley Cooper.

THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Richard Roundtree, the actor known for his groundbreaking portrayal of John Shaft in the 1971 movie Shaftpassed away at 81. He redefined the depiction of African-American masculinity in the film industry during his time.

Oppenheimer propels IMAX to massive earnings. Beating Wall Street expectations, IMAX revealed a robust third-quarter revenue of $103.9 million. It’s up over 50% from last year. Nolan’s steadfast dedication to massive film formats is single-handedly allowing IMAX to thrive. And cinema audiences reap the glory.

Buyers struggle to make deals at AFM amidst uncertainty over when the actor’s strike will end. Hollywood agents are withholding scripts from their clients until independent filmmakers secure interim agreements from SAG-AFTRA.

Without a cast, finding financing for these independent films has been near-impossible. Furthermore, SAG’s backlog of interim agreements has caused delays in production and casting. As a result, some projects are shooting in Europe and Australia with non-SAG-AFTRA cast.

Plan B: make unscripted content. Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B has partnered with Oscar-winning documentarian Kevin Macdonald (One Day in September). The collaboration will deliver a new slate of unscripted films and TV series.

Apple ups price for TV+

  • Monthly $6.99 → $9.99

It’s still low for a streaming service (Netflix is at $15.49 w/o ads). We will keep subscribed as we’re still hanging on for the next season of Severance.

We should remind ourselves that an overnight rental from Blockbuster was not that much cheaper than a month of streaming.

THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Sir Anthony Hopkins is FreudThe upcoming film Freud’s Last Session delves into Freud’s fictional encounter with C.S. Lewis (Matthew Goode, The Imitation Game).

Set against the backdrop of pre-World War II London, the film explores their intellectual debates about trauma, repression, and God.

We wanted to see a bit more of Hopkins psychologically torturing his patients. But maybe we’re just nostalgic for Hannibal Lecter.

The movie is out on December 22nd. The trailer lives here.

Wonderman Yahya Abdul-Mateen II moves from Morpheus to MarvelYahya had the impossible job of taking over the role of Morpheus from Laurence Fishburne.

His re-interpretation of the role in The Matrix Resurrections and the detailed portrayal of painful obsession in the ​Striking Vipers ​episode of Black Mirror is a testament to his formidable acting prowess.

His latest project, Marvel’s Wonderman series, is a commentary on the film industry. The show centers on Simon Williams (Yahya), a superhero-turned-actor. No release date yet, but be on the lookout!

Jon Hamm rocks nipple rings in the Fargo Season 5 trailer. Not much more needs to be said. We think it’s pretty hilarious.

TECH SECTION

Adobe is a genius software company. Their ability to innovate and constantly integrate new product features into Photoshop, InDesign, and Premiere makes them a mainstay among a lot of filmmakers.

Now, they’re adding AI to their products to empower creators. Adobe Firefly, their AI text-to-image generator, will allow artists to upload their reference images and get the AI to iterate. We promise we didn’t use them for our logo.

INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

Christine Vachon is the mother of indie cinema. A “short” list of her producing credits over the past two decades is intimidating:

Her latest film is May December, directed by Todd Haynes. It hits theaters on November 17th. She has produced every one of Todd Haynes’ films since his directorial debut, Poison, in 1996. She mused about working with him:

“Our relationship hasn’t fundamentally changed. It’s shifted as we grow and mature. I feel like Todd is at the top of his craft now, so there’s a kind of pleasure that comes with seeing that. I guess at the beginning when we were both trying to figure out the way forward, his talent as a director was always incredibly clear to me.”

It’s great to see such an iron-clad collaboration.

Can you imagine A24 with an OnlyFans page? Amid a burgeoning IP market and recent Hollywood strikes, A24 has secured significant deals. They’ve been swooping in to grab some excellent properties.

The latest, Margo’s Got Money Troubles, revolves around Margo Millet, daughter of a Hooters waitress and ex-pro wrestler. After an affair with her college professor leads to pregnancy, Margo turns to OnlyFans for financial support.

The project is being EP’d by Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning, and Nicole Kidman—no word yet if any of the three actresses will star. Email us with your top choice.

Red Rocket director Sean Baker re-teams with sales agent FilmNation Entertainment. They’ve acquired his latest project, Anora, for international sales—plot details are under wraps. But it was shot in NYC. If Baker can give Times Square a unified color grade like The Florida Project, we’ll buy the entire office tickets.

FESTIVALS

Luca Guadagnino received the Excellence in Cinema Award at the Mumbai Film Festival. We love Luca dearly. Fun fact: while directing Call Me By Your Name, he used a single lens for the entire shoot: a 35mm, and it was shot on 35mm film. He has an upcoming project with Daniel Craig.

This year’s Student Academy Awards gold winners are:

  • Narrative
  • Documentary
  • Animation
    • Boom, Gabriel Augerai, Romain Augier & Yannick Jacquin, École des Nouvelles Images, France
  • Alternative/Experimental
    • Skin, Leo Behrens, American Film Institute

Famous Student Academy Awards recipients include Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump), Spike Lee (Do The Right Thing), and Cary Fukunaga (True Detective). We hope these winners follow in their footsteps!

Sundance Producers Lab, applications are open!

The program offers a yearlong experience to nurture emerging producers in the film industry—mentorship from industry experts, networking opportunities, and professional development workshops.

The deadline is Wednesday, January 3, 2024.

Application here.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Polish documentary epitomizes the struggle of young musicians. Premiering at Sundance, Pianoforte captures the tumultuous journey of young musicians participating in the revered International Chopin Piano Competition, held once every five years. The doc looks energetic and enthralling. Check out the trailer. Total Whiplash vibes. In select theaters on December 1st. VOD January 9th.

Tax incentives shape the landscape of cinema. It’s hard to imagine Breaking Bad being shot anywhere but in New Mexico, yet it was a generous 30% incentive that drew Vince Gilligan and his producers there (the series was initially set in LA.) The new season of White Lotus, set in Japan, was shot in Thailand. Gaining $4.4M in tax incentives from a 30% rebate. Japan is currently restructuring its incentives to lure back productions.

Concrete Utopia, South Korea’s Oscar entry, is a grim survivalist story with great VFX. A devastating earthquake in Seoul collapses the city in Inception-like sequences of folding city-scapes. A singular apartment building is all that is left standing. Conflicts arise within the community, testing the limits of the survivors’ resilience.

Trailer here.


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That’s all for today! See you tomorrow.

ON THIS DAY

1984 – The Terminator, directed by James Cameron, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, is released in the US.



Today’s edition was written by: Gabriel Miller, Spencer Carter and Clarke Scott.

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