In Vogue‘s October cover story featuring the superstar singer-turned-actress, she talked about how her participation opposite Cooper in the A Star Is Born remake — for which she’s getting early Oscar buzz — came to be. The story involves Cooper, of course, but also Facebook billionaire Sean Parker, the folk song “Midnight Special,” and … spaghetti and meatballs.
No meat dresses or Kermit the Frogs here. Gaga is stripped down for her Vogue cover:
Five years after Gaga and Cooper were briefly introduced on the set of Saturday Night Live, they were both at a very star-studded cancer benefit in Parker’s backyard in L.A. in 2016. Cooper — who had already signed on to play Jackson Maine in A Star Is Born but was still looking for his Ally (he also co-wrote the screenplay and directed the film) — heard Gaga, “who had her hair slicked back” that night, he recalled — sing “La Vie en Rose” and it left him “levitating.” He told the magazine, “It shot like a diamond through my brain. I loved the way she moved, the sound of her voice.”
Cooper had his people call her people, and the next day, he drove to her Malibu home, which she calls her “oasis of peace” and “gypsy palace,” where they had a chance to talk. “The second that I saw him, I was like, ‘Have I known you my whole life?” Gaga told the fashion mag. “It was an instant connection, instant understanding of one another.” He also made it seem like the moment they shared was one of those InStyle celebrity wedding specials, saying, “She came down the stairs and we went out to her patio and I saw her eyes, and honestly, it clicked and I went, Wow.”
Cooper said he pretty much offered her the part on the spot — and then they, both starving, celebrated by going “into her kitchen for spaghetti and meatballs,” he said. “Before I knew it, I was making him lunch and we were talking,” Gaga said. (Cooper previously said he hadn’t realized Gaga was Italian-American — clearly, he’d never dined at Joanne Trattoria in NYC — and they immediately had a “huge bond” over both coming from East Coast Italian-American families.”)
With yummy carbs in their bellies, they then moved over to her piano and did an impromptu recording session of the oft-covered “Midnight Special.” Cooper recalled, “She was kind of laughing at me that I would be suggesting this, but I said, ‘The truth is, it’s only going to work if we can sing together.” Gaga “printed out the sheet music,” Cooper pulled up the lyrics on his phone, and they began. When Cooper started to sing, Gaga said she stopped in her tracks, telling him: “‘Oh, my God, Bradley, you have a tremendous voice.’ … He sings from his gut, from the nectar! I knew instantly: This guy could play a rock star. And I don’t think there are a lot of people in Hollywood who can. That was the moment I knew this film could be something truly special.”
They recorded their performance, with Cooper’s phone, and he later “showed to Warner Bros. to get the movie green-lit.”
Gaga went on to tell the magazine that the chemistry between them is so good on film because it’s real. She also said that in the film, Cooper “nailed” what it’s like when love and fame get intertwined. “They’re both very complex, layered things, with a lot of emotional depth, and he captured that,” she said. “This is what I think makes the film so successful: that it was so real. And I’ve lived it, so I can testify to that.”
For his part, Cooper talked about how he had to work even harder with the performance piece to make sure things were up to Gaga standards. For instance, they shot some of the concert scenes at the Glastonbury Festival in England. “I got onstage in front of 80,000 people. It was nuts,” he recalled. “But Lady Gaga is so good that if the world I’d created wasn’t authentic, it would stand out in a second. Everything had to be raised to her level.” (While discussing the film at the Venice Film Festival last month, Cooper said he “fell in love with” Gaga’s “face and eyes” on the set.)
At the A Star Is Born premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival over the weekend, Cooper was seen helping Gaga adjust her outfit (veils can be tricky — even for non-brides). That further deflates some of those rumors that circulated while they were filming: That they were “at odds” over how she would be credited in the film and that he made her use her real name, Stefani Germanotta, instead of her stage name. Another erroneous report was that he was worried the film would flop and that her part required extensive reshoots. There was also a story about how Gaga was giving Cooper, who has a newborn daughter with his girlfriend, model Irina Shayk, “unwanted sexual attention.” (Tabloids!)
In the profile, Gaga was less forthcoming about details about her real-life romance with talent agent Christian Carino. At the time of the interview, she had just returned from a restful vacation with him on a remote tropical island, but she wouldn’t say a word about it — or even reveal which island they traveled to.
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