Bradley Cooper Did His ‘Maestro’ Nose ‘Out of Love’

Photo: Jason McDonald/Netflix

When the trailer for Maestro, Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan’s new Leonard Bernstein biopic, dropped in August, many eyes went straight to one thing: the prosthetic nose Cooper wore while portraying the famed Jewish composer. Cooper, who is not Jewish, was swiftly accused of playing into antisemitic stereotypes and engaging in “Jewface.”

Now — with the movie hitting select theaters on Wednesday, before its December Netflix release — Cooper is addressing the backlash. Asked by Gayle King about the criticism in a CBS Mornings interview, the actor said, “I’ve done this whole project out of love, and it’s so clear to me where I come from — my nose is very similar to Lenny’s, actually. The prosthetic is actually like a silk sheet.” He went on to explain that although he initially felt prosthetics wouldn’t be necessary, it became clear that because his own lips and chin “are nothing like Lenny’s,” and without the enhancements, his face “just didn’t look right.” Ultimately, he said, he felt he “had to do it.”

As complaints about Cooper’s Maestro appearance first surfaced online, the Anti-Defamation League — a Jewish organization that tracks bias and hate speech — and Bernstein’s children backed up the actor. “Throughout history, Jews were often portrayed in antisemitic films and propaganda as evil caricatures with large, hooked noses,” the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement to Variety. “This film, which is a biopic on the legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein, is not that.”

And Bernstein’s children issued their own statement: “It happens to be true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose,” they wrote on Twitter (currently X). “Bradley chose to use makeup to amplify his resemblance, and we’re perfectly fine with that. We’re also certain that our dad would have been fine with it as well.”

Bradley Cooper Did His Maestro Nose ‘Out of Love’