Working on Bradley Cooper‘s “Maestro” meant incredibly long hours for prosthetics master Kazu Hiro and his makeup team. Hiro, an Oscar winner for transforming Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill for “The Darkest Hour,” revealed at the New York Film Festival (via Entertainment Weekly) that he needed to be on set at 1 a.m. during parts of the film where Bradley Cooper appears as Leonard Bernstein in his 70s.
“The last stage, he had covered pretty much everywhere, the bodysuit and arms. That took over five hours,” Hiro revealed. “The last stage, the whole time, our call time was one in the morning. The other thing was he wanted makeup to be finished before the crew call, so he would appear as Lenny to set up the shoot and everything. That also kind of made our call time two hours earlier than normal, so that was quite tough.”
Cooper appears as the famed composer over decades, which required different lengths of time in the makeup chair. It only took two and a half hours to transform Cooper into Bernstein in his 20s, for instance, compared to the five-hour process of Bernstein in his 70s.
“[We had to] keep adding because as he gets older, we had to add more elements,” Hiro said. “The younger stage was the nose and lips and chin and a wig. After the third stage, he started having cheek and neck [additions.]”
Hiro’s work earned high praise from Leonard Bernstein’s three children.
“It took our breath away, it made us gasp,” Jamie Bernstein told Variety on the New York Film Festival red carpet. “In some pictures, we could tell a little bit that it was Bradley, but there were certain photographs where we would go, ‘Oh my God!’ It was so amazingly perfect.”
“I had a FaceTime call come in, and I didn’t recognize the number. But I chanced it, and it was my father as an old man!” added Nina Maria Felicia Bernstein. “Obviously, that was not my father as an old man, it was Bradley. I could not stop laughing. He had the cigarette and the glasses, it was so spot on.”
Hiro’s “Maestro” prosthetics have created a lot of buzz around the film due to Cooper’s decision to wear a large prosthetic nose to play Bernstein, who was Jewish. Hiro addressed the backlash during the film’s press conference at the Venice Film Festival.
“I wasn’t expecting that to happen,” Hiro said. “I feel sorry that I hurt some people’s feelings.” He went on to explain: “My goal was and Bradley’s goal was to portray Lenny as authentic as possible. Lenny had a really iconic look that everybody knows — there’s so many pictures out there because he’s photogenic, too — such a great person and also inspired so many people. So we wanted to respect the look too, on the inside. So that’s why we did several different tests and went through lots of decisions and that was the outcome in the movie.”
“Maestro” will stream on Netflix starting Dec. 20.
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