“A Star Is Born” is notable for being Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut and Lady Gaga’s first lead role in a major motion picture, but the MVP could very well end up being cinematographer Matthew Libatique. Warner Bros. released the first official trailer for the movie and it looks like a visual stunner. Watch the trailer here, and click through the gallery for the Cooper-directed images we’re already loving.
“A Star Is Born” opens in theaters October 5.
Cooper and Libatique shot concert scenes for the movie during real festivals like Coachella and Glastonbury. The two decided to film the concert scenes with the camera on stage, framing the performers in handheld closeups.
The trailer is dominated by tracking shots of the camera following the performers around different stages. We’re introduced to Lady Gaga’s ingenuine with a shot of her heading on stage at a local club.
Cooper went with an intense red color palette to depict the first meeting between the characters played by Lady Gaga and himself.
“A Star Is Born” is Lady Gaga’s most high profile movie role to date. The singer’s acting career got a boost with a performance on FX’s “American Horror Story: Hotel,” for which she won a Golden Globe.
Cooper’s grounded take on the film results in the camera being up close and personal with his characters. The red lighting is an obvious but gorgeous-looking choice to foreshadow the passion to come for the character.
Cooper said he made a pact with Gaga before filming started. He agreed to help her act naturally on screen, while she agreed to help him nail the singing elements of the movie.
This tracking shot follows Cooper into what looks like an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. The meeting group is bathed in white lighting, hinting at a possible salvation for the alcoholic character. The choice to light Cooper as a black silhouette only heightens his demons.
“A Star Is Born” is one of three major releases Libatique has coming out this fall. The other movies are tentpoles “Bumblebee” and “Venom.”
Cooper performs on stage. The actor took vocal lessons and performed all of his music live in front of real audiences. Gaga would not sign on to the film without Cooper’s promise that all of the music would be filmed live.
Cooper and Libatique rely on lighthing throughout the film to help convey the emotional undertones of their central relationship.
Cooper was able to film at Glastonbury because previous “A Star Is Born” star Kris Kristofferson had a set there and gave up four minutes of his show to Cooper and the production.
“Gaga is a revelation,” Cooper said earlier this year about the film. “I relied on her. She said right from the beginning that this is going to be a barter: ‘I’m gonna rely on you to get a performance out of me, and I’m gonna make sure you’re going to be a real musician.’”
By the time Lady Gaga’s character gets up on stage for her breakout performance, Cooper frames the shot identical to those of him performing on stage.
Libatique has one Academy Award nomination under his belt for “Black Swan.” His other famous credits include “Iron Man” and “Straight Outta Compton.”
When he’s not using closeups to get intimate with his characters, Cooper relies on widescreen shots to show off the lavish successes of his character’s celebrity life.
“A Star Is Born” is Libatique’s first release since Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!” arrived in theaters last fall.
Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” is the fourth film version of the property after movies in 1937 (Janet Gaynor and Frederic March), 1954 (Judy Garland and James Mason), and 1976 (Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson).
Lady Gaga helped collaborate on the film’s original soundtrack, which features several songs written specifically for the movie. Expect the release to be a contender for best original song nominations.
Judy Garland and Janet Gaynor both earned best actress Oscar nomiantions for playing the role of the ingenuine in “A Star Is Born.” Warner Bros. is expected to mount a campaign around Lady Gaga this awards season.
The 1976 “A Star Is Born” earned DP Robert Surtees an Oscar nomination for best cinematography. We’ll find out this October when the film is released if Libatique is a contender in the category.