Bradley Cooper Addressed Backlash Of Him Wearing A Fake, Big Nose To Portray A Jewish Man After People Called It "Antisemitic"

Bradley Cooper is being called "antisemitic" for his choice of prosthetics in his new movie Maestro, and now he's responding to the backlash.

closeup of him at an event
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In this biographical film, Bradley portrays the life and career of Jewish-American composer Leonard Bernstein. It also centers around his relationship with his wife, Felicia Montealegre Bernstein, played by Carey Mulligan.

closeup of the Bradley as Leonard and Carey as Felicia in black and white smoking and holding hands in a living room
Netflix /Courtesy Everett Collection

Bradley not only stars in the film, but he also co-wrote it, co-produced it, and directed it. This will be his first time in the director seat since his hit 2018 release of A Star Is Born.

him standing by the movie poster
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Negative reviews of Bradley's involvement in the Netflix movie first began with the casting choices. The Hollywood Reporter film critic, Daniel Feinberg, pointed out that not only is Bradley a non-Jewish actor playing a historic Jewish figure...

A closeup of the real Leonard
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...but Carey, a white English actor, is portraying his Costa Rican-Chilean wife.

closeup of the real-life couple
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"That's a lot of ethnic cosplay for one movie," Daniel tweeted.

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Some also mentioned their disappointment of Jake Gyllenhaal (a Jewish actor) losing out on the rights to the film, after decades of hoping he'd get to bring Leonard's story to the big screen.

closeup Jake Gyllenhaal outside
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And as the trailer and more images from Maestro were released, people couldn't see past Bradley's decision to use a prosthetic nose to increase the size of his natural nose, saying that it plays into Jewish stereotypes.

bradley in the role smoking a cigarette outside

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Well, Bradley is finally speaking out. During a recent interview with CBS Mornings, he admitted he was initially against using a prosthetic nose.

closeup of Bradley in a suit at a media event
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“I thought, ‘Maybe we don’t need to do it,'” Bradley said. “But it’s all about balance, and, you know, my lips are nothing like Lenny’s, and my chin. And so we had that, and it just didn’t look right [without the prosthetic].”

closeup of Bradley in makeup and costume for the character
Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection

Leonard's three children, who were involved in the making of the movie, also chimed in to support the film's use of prosthetics, adding that their late father would've agreed with the choice as well, because he did in-fact have a "nice, big nose."

“It happens to be true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose," they wrote in a joint statement on Twitter. "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.” They also noted that the critiques were “disingenuous attempts to bring a successful person down a notch — a practice we observed all too often perpetrated on our own father.”

Bradley spent six years preparing for this role, which included learning how to properly conduct an orchestra and mastering Leonard's mannerisms.

bradley as Leonard conducting an orchestra
Jason McDonald/Netflix

And despite the recent backlash, when Maestro first premiered at the 80th Venice International Film Festival it was met with predominantly positive reviews (currently holding an 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes).

  Netflix /Courtesy Everett Collection
Netflix /Courtesy Everett Collection

How will this controversy surrounding the film play out during awards season? Only time will tell. Maestro is expected to hit Netflix on Dec. 20.