Carey Mulligan to Star Opposite Bradley Cooper in Leonard Bernstein Biopic

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday September 22, 2020

Carrie Mulligan
Carrie Mulligan  (Source:Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Actress Carey Mulligan ("The Great Gatsby") will star opposite of Bradley Cooper ("A Star is Born") in "Maestro," a new biopic about Leonard Bernstein, the legendary composer behind "West Side Story" and more, Entertainment Weekly reports.

Felicia Montealegre, Leonard Bernstein and their children.

The Cooper-directed film — his first since 2018's "A Star is Born" with Lady Gaga — will follow the complex relationship between Bernstein (played by Cooper) and his wife, Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein (played by Mulligan). Strikingly, information about "Maestro" reveals nothing about how Leonard's homosexuality will figure into the storyline. The composer was known to have extramarital affairs, and even longterm relationships, with men. Undoubtedly, Leonard loved Felicia — and the family they created — but lived and worked in a period of time where being out and open wasn't particularly easy. When the couple married, Felicia had written to Leonard:

"You are a homosexual and may never change—you don't admit to the possibility of a double life, but if your peace of mind, your health, your whole nervous system depends on a certain sexual pattern, what can you do? I am willing to accept you as you are, without being a martyr or sacrificing myself on the L.B. altar."

Both Cooper and the Bernsteins' daughter, Jamie, have praised the addition of Mulligan to the film's cast — the former calling his new co-star a "mammoth talent" and the latter commenting that Mulligan will capture her mother's "unique combination of wit, warmth, elegant beauty, and depth of emotion... a kid of storybook European grace."

Shooting for "Maestro" is set to begin in Spring, with no release date yet mentioned.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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