Update, September 22: Deadline reports Bradley Cooper has cast Carey Mulligan as Leonardo Bernstein’s wife Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein. The film is now officially titled “Maestro.” Production begins in spring 2021.
Earlier: Bradley Cooper’s long-in-the-works Leonard Bernstein biographical drama is setting up shop at Netflix after first being developed at Paramount. The project was first announced in 2018 and will mark Cooper’s directorial follow-up to the Oscar-winning “A Star Is Born.” Deadline first reported the news. Cooper will direct, star in, and produce the movie from a script he co-wrote with “Spotlight” Oscar winner Josh Singer. Also attached as producers are Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and “Joker” director Todd Phillips. The script spans 30 years and tells the story of composer Bernstein and his marriage to Felicia Montealegre.
Per Deadline’s report: “The Bernstein film is expected to begin production early next year. Netflix will give it a significant theatrical release before the film premieres on its streaming site, just as it did for Scorsese on ‘The Irishman,’ as well as ‘Marriage Story,’ ‘The Two Popes,’ and several other awards season contenders.”
“Bradley’s directorial debut was nothing short of brilliant and he quickly cemented himself as a serious filmmaker,” Netflix’s head of film Scott Stuber said 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.”
Cooper developed the project over the last two years with cooperation from Bernstein’s estate, including the composer’s three children. Scorsese was originally going to direct a Bernstein movie from Singer’s script with Cooper to star, but Scorsese gave the director’s chair to Cooper in order to continue working on “The Irishman” at the time. Jake Gyllenhaal was also developing a Bernstein movie with Cary Fukunaga, but that project fell through once Cooper landed the support of the composer’s estate. Fukunaga went on to direct the upcoming Bond film, “No Time to Die.”
Cooper’s Bernstein drama now joins a high profile list of upcoming Netflix original movies that also include Dee Rees’ “The Last Thing He Wanted,” Charlie Kaufman’s “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” Spike Lee’s “Da Five Bloods,” and David Fincher’s “Mank.” All of these movies will be released in 2020.