'Maestro': Carey Mulligan Joins Bradley Cooper's Leonard Bernstein Biopic

Bradley Cooper‘s upcoming biopic of famed composer Leonard Bernstein finally has a title…and a leading lady.

Maestro, which will see Cooper playing the dynamic composer of films such as West Side Story, has cast Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby, Drive) as Bernstein’s wife. Read more about the movie below.

Leonard Bernstein wrote the music for films like On The TownOn The Waterfront, and most famously, West Side Story, a remake of which is slated to hit theaters this December. (That remake comes courtesy of Steven Spielberg, who himself flirted with the idea of making a Bernstein biopic back in 2018.) Bernstein was an incredible musician who wrote for ballet, opera, theatre, and more. He was a lifelong activist who protested the Vietnam War, raised money for AIDS and HIV research, supported the Black Panther movement, and spoke out against wealth inequality. Over the course of his career, he won eleven Emmy Awards, one Tony Award, and seventeen Grammy Awards. (He was nominated for an Oscar for his score for On the Waterfront, but didn’t win.)

Deadline reports that Cooper has cast Carey Mulligan to play Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein, Bernstein’s wife. The real Felicia was born in Costa Rica and worked as an actress, eventually marrying Bernstein and becoming just as involved in anti-war protests as her husband (she was arrested in Washington, D.C. for protesting in 1972). Mulligan is a terrific performer, having spent the past decade establishing herself as an often-subdued but deep emotional wellspring in films like An Education, Brothers, Never Let Me Go, Drive, Shame, The Great Gatsby, Inside Llewyn Davis, Far From the Madding Crowd, Mudbound, and Wildlife. Recently, she starred in Promising Young Woman, a hot-button movie that was originally slated to hit theaters earlier this year but has since been temporarily pulled from the release calendar due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Bernstein was a closeted gay man growing up in an era in which the act of revealing that information to the public could cost him his livelihood, but by several accounts, he and Felicia were happily married for many years. It should be interesting to see how Cooper, who co-wrote the screenplay with Spotlight co-writer Josh Singer, decides to frame their relationship in this biopic.

“I was struck by Carey ever since I saw her on stage many years ago and I haven’t missed a performance of hers since,” Cooper said in a statement. “I am humbled to be working with such a mammoth talent, as well as such a kind person in Carey.” Filming will begin next spring, and the movie will eventually live on Netflix.

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