Bradley Cooper‘s prosthetic nose in the newly-released trailer for Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro has sparked online chatter, with some calling out the actor/director for playing to ‘Jewface’ stereotypes with the exaggerated facial feature and the casting of a non-Jewish actor in a Jewish role.
The Philadelphia native, 48, plays the role of the legendary musical conductor in the film opposite Carey Mulligan, who portrays his wife Felicia Montealegre, with the movie examining their relationship.
On social media, many users sounded off on the size of the prosthetic – which was visible as he filmed the movie in 2022 – with some using photos to show that Bernstein’s nose was not close to that size.
‘It seems completely unnecessary to have gone in that direction given the uncanny resemblance,’ one user said ‘the real Leonard Bernstein did not have the funny nose that Bradley Cooper is wearing in Maestro.’
Another user added that ‘there was no need for Bradley Cooper to add an odd prosthetic nose on top of this to play Leonard Bernstein,’ as ‘his own nose is longer!’
The latest: Bradley Cooper’s prosthetic nose in the trailer for Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro has sparked online chatter, with some calling out the actor/director, 48, for playing to ‘Jewface’ stereotypes with the exaggerated facial feature
Bradley Cooper (left) is seen on the left in a trailer for the biopic movie about Leonard Bernstein (right)
Bradley Cooper is seen with a prosthetic nose as Leonard Bernstein on the set of ‘Maestro’ filming in New York City
One user noted that the Academy Award-nominated star, who is not Jewish, should not have even been in the casting discussion with ‘so many great Jewish actors out there.’
Jake Gyllenhaal, who is Jewish, had a competing biopic but lost in the battle of rights to use Bernstein’s material against Cooper and his producing team on the film, which includes filmmaking icons Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.
Said another user: ‘I still would have preferred they at least give Jewish actors a chance to audition before automatically casting someone more famous.’
One user said that Cooper’s appearance was both offensive and unnecessary to the actual storytelling process in the film.
‘Bradley Cooper wearing a prosthetic nose to play Leonard Bernstein is the equivalent of Black face,’ the user said. ‘He should be able to portray the character through the magnificence of his own acting.
‘Particularly if Cooper has been hired over a Jewish actor. There has to be a line.’
One user, noting they rooting on The Hangover star in his quest for Oscar gold, said they could see the concerns over the prosthetic.
‘I love Bradley Cooper and I do want him to get an Oscar but – I understand the “jewface” concerns,’ the user said. ‘Carey Mulligan on the other hand COMMITS to her period pieces. That voice. She’s so lovely.’
Cooper plays the role of the legendary musical conductor in the film opposite Carey Mulligan, who portrays his wife Felicia Montealegre, with the movie examining their relationship
Some users said that Bernstein should have been played by a Jewish actor instead of Cooper, who is not Jewish
Cooper was spotted with the prosthetic nose while filming scenes for the movie in New York City in July 2022
On social media, many users sounded off on the size of the prosthetic, with some using photo to show that Bernstein’s nose was not close to that size
The concept of ‘Jewface’ has been debated across Hollywood, with some people critical of Felicity Jones, who is not Jewish, playing late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the 2018 film On the Basis of Sex.
Another controversy come in the fall of 2021 when Kathryn Hahn, who is not Jewish, was cast to play late comic and talk show host Joan Rivers in a limited series titled The Comeback Girl. (The project did not move forward due to licensing rights.)
One of the biggest critics of Hahn’s casting was Sarah Silverman – who, in an ironic twist, plays the role of Shirley Bernstein in Maestro alongside Cooper.
On The Sarah Silverman Podcast in October of 2021, Silverman said that ‘there’s this long tradition of non-Jews playing Jews, and not just playing people who happen to be Jewish but people whose Jewishness is their whole being.’
Silverman said that ‘one could argue, for instance’ that a non Jewish actress ‘playing Joan Rivers correctly would be doing what is actually called “Jewface.”‘
A controversy come in the fall of 2021 when Kathryn Hahn, who is not Jewish, was cast to play late comic and talk show host Joan Rivers in a limited series titled The Comeback Girl
One of the biggest critics of Hahn’s casting was Sarah Silverman – who, in an ironic twist, plays the role of Shirley Bernstein in Maestro alongside Cooper
Silverman on the podcast said that “Jewface” is ‘defined as when a non-Jew portrays a Jew with the Jewishness front and center, often with makeup or changing of features, big fake nose, all the New York-y or Yiddish-y inflection’
She asked, ‘In a time when the importance of representation is seen as so essential and so front and center, why does ours constantly get breached even today in the thick of it?’
Maestro is set to arrive in theaters and on Netflix December 20.