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Movies & TV

16th Aug 2023

Family of Leonard Bernstein defend Bradley Cooper’s prosthetic nose in biopic

Simon Kelly

“It happens to be true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose.”

The family of Leonard Bernstein have released a statement defending actor Bradley Cooper for his portrayal of the late composer in the upcoming biographical drama Maestro.

The statement comes as a response to online backlash since the release of the trailer for the film, which shows Cooper using a prosthetic nose to replicate Bernstein.

The prosthetic has caused the online reignition of the ‘Jewface’ debate, which stems from antisemitic stereotypes focusing on the shape and size of Jewish people’s noses.

People also found an issue with the fact that Cooper, a white Irish-Catholic, is portraying a Jewish man in the film.

Leonard Berstein’s family defend Bradley Cooper

However, Bernstein’s children, Jamie, Alexander and Nina released a joint statement defending Cooper, saying it broke their hearts to see “misrepresentations or misunderstandings of his efforts” and that they are “perfectly fine” with the actor using a prosthetic nose in order to resemble their father, assuring people that their father would be too.

“From Jamie, Alexander, and Nina Bernstein: Bradley Cooper included the three of us along every step of his amazing journey as he made his film about our father.

“We were touched to the core to witness the depth of his commitment, his loving embrace of our father’s music, and the sheer open-hearted joy he brought to his exploration. It breaks our hearts to see any misrepresentations or misunderstandings of his efforts.

“It happens to be true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose. Bradley chose to use makeup to amplify his resemblance, and we’re perfectly fine with that. We’re also certain that our dad would have been fine with it as well.

“Any strident complaints around this issue strike us above all as disingenuous attempts to bring a successful person down a notch — a practice we observed all too often perpetrated on our own father.

“At all times during the making of this film, we could feel the profound respect and yes, the love that Bradley brought to his portrait of Leonard Bernstein and his wife, our mother Felicia.”

Maestro also stars Carey Mulligan as Felicia Montealegre, Bernstein’s wife. Matt Bomer, Maya Hawke, and Sarah Silverman also appear in supporting roles. It’s set to release on Netflix on December 20.

You can check out the trailer below.

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