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Why Is Bradley Cooper Doing a Father John Misty Impression?

And 22 other questions about the Bradley Cooper–Lady Gaga remake of ‘A Star Is Born’

(Warner Bros.)
(Warner Bros.)

One of the weirder ongoing stories in the movie industry has been the development of A Star Is Born, the remake of a remake of a remake of a movie about a fading star who mentors (and falls in love with) an up-and-comer. The last iteration, a 1976 jam starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, was by no means a classic — the New York Times review glowingly described it as "not at all bad" — so the continued drive to revisit the material, by very renowned figures, has been somewhat perplexing. Back in 2012, Clint Eastwood was set to direct the latest iteration of the film with BEYONCÉ KNOWLES in the female lead role — a male lead hadn’t been locked in, but Warner Bros. was reportedly eying everyone from Leonardo DiCaprio to Hugh Jackman to Tom Cruise. That all fell apart, though: Beyoncé dropped out and, in an equally confounding move, Eastwood decided to turn Jersey Boys into a movie instead. (I am personally devastated that we never got to see Beyoncé act opposite Tom Cruise.)

The project came back to life in 2015 when it was reported that Bradley Cooper, fresh off hits like American Sniper and Guardians of the Galaxy and not-hits like Aloha and Burnt, was going to make the film his directorial debut. Those reports became reality, and soon after news broke that Lady Gaga was stepping into the Beyoncé role, with Cooper taking on double duties as the director and the male lead.

Does any of this track? Does any of it make sense when you consider everything you know about Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, the desires of modern audiences, or filmmaking in general? Not really? Then, wow, I cannot wait to show you the first still from and synopsis of this movie.

Hang on, don’t freak out yet — read the synopsis first:

Like you — like everyone in the world, I’m sure — I have more than several questions.

1. Is Bradley Cooper supposed to be Father John Misty?

2. Does Father John Misty know that his aesthetic is being appropriated by Bradley Cooper? This feels like something Father John Misty would like to know, tweet, and write a sarcastic song about.

3. "Introducing Stefani Germanotta"? Really?

4. Who is better: Bradley Cooper on guitar or Ryan Gosling on piano?

5. How many names did they try before landing on "country music star Jackson Maine?"

6. JACKSON MAINE?!

7. Doesn’t Jackson Maine seem like the result of one of those "Your ____ name is ____ plus _____" tweets that were popular last week? Your country music star name is the last name of your dad’s favorite baseball player plus the state you were born in. (My country music star name is Mantle New York, P.S.)

8. Isn’t this just an episode of Nashville?

9. Isn’t this just a remake of Song to Song, a Terrence Malick film that came out a month ago?

10. Hold up — they’re shooting at Coachella? Like how Malick shot at Austin-area music festivals? This is totally a Song to Song remake, right?!

11. DID I JUST READ THAT ANDREW DICE CLAY IS IN THIS? WHY?!

12. If your movie about a fading country singer doesn’t star Sam Elliott, does Sam Elliott just magically appear on screen anyway?

13. Are we sure Bradley Cooper has the capacity to make sound, career-advancing decisions?

14. But no, seriously: are we sure? Check out his past five acting roles: cameos in a very bad CBS reboot of Limitless (which he produced!), a dude in War Dogs, the voice of a racoon — twice — and now Father John Bradley. Remember: Before all of this, Bradley Cooper secured back-to-back-to-back Oscar nominations for American Sniper, American Hustle, and Silver Linings Playbook.

15. Was January 5, 2015, the day this W magazine cover came out, the turning point in Bradley Cooper’s career?

16. Did Clint Eastwood trick Bradley Cooper into taking this directing job? Here’s my theory: On the set of American Sniper, Clint noticed the talent and upward mobility of his star, Bradley Cooper. "I’ll be damned if there’s gonna be another successful, ruggedly handsome actor-director while I’m still breathing," Clint said to himself. Knowing A Star Is Born was going to be a disaster — the real reason he left the project in the first place — Clint got the idea to push Cooper onto the film, therefore condemning the actor’s chances of becoming a multi-hyphenate.

17. When Lady Gaga jumped off of multiple platforms during her Super Bowl halftime performance, was she trying to injure herself so badly that she’d have to drop out of this movie?

18. Did Warner Bros. really look at Joanne, Gaga’s most recent (and most country) album and say, "Yes, this is the vehicle that will get butts into seats"?

19. On the other hand, is Warner Bros. hoping that people don’t realize Stefani Germanotta and Lady Gaga are the same person?

20. What are the chances this movie is actually amazing? Have you heard Bradley Cooper sing? It’s enchanting. What if Lady Gag — sorry again — Stefani Germanotta proves capable of eclipsing the onscreen charisma of Streisand? Her performances in the American Horror Story universe have been clunky and distracting, but what if all she needed was to get out from under Ryan Murphy? What if a star is born in A Star Is Born?

21. Why am I singing "Million Reasons"?

22. Did I just mark my calendar for September 28, 2018?

23. Oh my God, I did. What is happening?