Bradley Cooper opens up about the pressure he felt for a “six minutes and 21 seconds” scene in the movie Maestro.
Speaking at a recent Los Angeles displaying of the movie, which was facilitated by Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda for “Hamilton,” Cooper disclosed that, in order to record a pivotal scene for Maestro live on set, he had to spend an astounding six years learning how to conduct slightly more than six minutes of music in the style of Leonard Bernstein.
The moment in question is a recreation of Bernstein’s well-known 1976 London Symphony Orchestra conductorship at the Ely Cathedral.
The scene is the most exciting in the movie because it brilliantly displays Cooper’s incredible performance in all its full-bodied glory and Bernstein’s masterful compositions.
“That scene I was so worried about because we did it live,” Cooper said at the event, as per IndieWire.
“That was the London Symphony Orchestra. I was recorded live. I had to conduct them. And I spent six years learning how to conduct six minutes and 21 seconds of music.”
“I was able to get the raw take where I just watched Leonard Bernstein [conduct] at Ely Cathedral with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1976. And so I had that to study,” Cooper added, while crediting “wonderful teachers” like Metropolitan Opera director Yannick Nézet-Séguin for making him nail the performance.
“Nézet-Séguin made videos with all the tempo changes, so I had all of the materials to just work on.” Cooper continued.
“It was really about dialing exactly what I wanted cinematically and then inviting them into then inhabit that space and trusting that they have all done the work,” he said.
“Because I think that I knew I was terrified, absolutely terrified that if I hadn’t done the work then I wouldn’t be able to enjoy myself in these scenes. And everybody did.”
Maestro will debut in a few cinemas on November 22 and be accessible for global Netflix streaming on December 20.