You are forgiven if you don’t recognize the white-haired man in glasses smoking a cigarette in these promotional photos.
He looks important but only vaguely familiar – like a long-lost uncle, or that old guy who plays chess every day in the park.
It’s actor Bradley Cooper, under layers of prosthetic makeup, as aging composer Leonard Bernstein in “Maestro,” a biopic currently filming for Netflix. The streaming service posted the photos Monday on Twitter, where they immediately prompted double takes.
“Dang! He even has white arm hairs! Such attention to detail! Whoever is the makeup/hair person(s) on that film needs to win some major awards,” gushed one user.
Cooper, 47, also directs the movie, his followup to “A Star is Born.” It co-stars Carey Mulligan as Bernstein’s wife, Felicia Montealegre, and Jeremy Strong (Kendall Roy in “Succession”) as critic John Gruen.
The new publicity photos also show Cooper as a younger Bernstein, sharing a smile with Mulligan’s Montealegre.
A legend in the world of musical theater, Bernstein was best known for composing the music for “West Side Story,” the 1957 Broadway show that spawned the 1961 film and Steven Spielberg’s recent remake. He died in 1990 at age 72.
Not much is known yet about “Maestro,” due in 2023. The Internet Movie Database says it’s about “the complex love story of Leonard and Felicia, a story that spans over 30 years – from the time they met in 1946 at a party and continuing through two engagements, a 25 year marriage, and three children.”
Spielberg is one of the film’s producers, as is filmmaker Martin Scorsese. According to Variety, production on the movie began this month.