Bradley Cooper's 'Jewface' makeup for Leonard Bernstein biopic took over five hours to complete

Many people were also unfazed by Bernstein’s so-called Jewface during a New York screening of Maestro


Bradley Cooper's full transformation into composer Leonard Bernstein for Maestro took more than five hours, the make-up artist for the biopic has revealed. 

Oscar winning make-up designer Kazu Hiro also revealed Cooper, who is directing the movie, moved up the call times so he could be in full Bernstein gear to helm the production while keeping in character. 

Opening up about the transformation process, Hiro explained: “The last stage - he was covered pretty much everywhere, the bodysuit and arms -- that took over 5 hours.

“The last stage, the whole time, our call time was one in the morning and the other thing was he wanted makeup to be finished before the crew call, so he would appear as Lenny to set up the shoot and everything. 

“That also kind of made our call time two hours earlier than normal, so that was quite tough.”

Hiro also explained Cooper appears as Bernstein in different stages of the composer's life, therefore requiring different lengths of time in the makeup chair.

Speaking at the New York Film Festival, he added: "[We had to] keep adding because as he gets older, we had to add more elements.

“The younger stage was the nose and lips and chin and a wig. After the third stage, he started having cheek and neck [additions.]”

Meanwhile, many film critics and figures who attended a screening of the biopic at the New York Film Festival on Monday were left unfazed by Bernstein’s so-called “Jewface”.

An earlier trailer for the upcoming Netflix biopic about the late composer provoked disagreement across the Jewish community after Cooper's outfit to play Bernstein included a prosthetic nose.

Scott Drevnig, deputy director of the historic Glass House in Connecticut, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: “I thought it was appropriate and I have no problem. The nose seemed right for the movie.”

“I grew up loving Bernstein, and it felt totally fine,” Greg Outwater, who is not Jewish and works in fundraising for Northwestern University, said about the prosthetic nose. “I thought it was going to be a little bit more about the music and his conducting, that’s the only thing that I wasn’t expecting.”

Bernstein’s children also shared the moment they first saw Cooper portraying their father in the biopic. 

His daughter Nina said: “I had a FaceTime call come in, and I didn’t recognise the number. But I chanced it, and it was my father as an old man!

“Obviously, that was not my father as an old man, it was Bradley. I could not stop laughing. He had the cigarette and the glasses, it was so spot on.”

On watching the film, Jamie added: “It took our breath away, it made us gasp. In some pictures, we could tell a little bit that it was Bradley, but there were certain photographs where we would go, ‘Oh my God!’ It was so amazingly perfect.”

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