Leonard Bernstein's children defend Bradley Cooper's prosthetic nose in new biopic
The children of Jewish composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein insist that their father would have approved of actor Bradley Cooper's decision to wear a prosthetic nose for his starring role in the Netflix film
In the trailer for the Netflix film, which was released earlier this week, Cooper was seen with a significantly larger nose than his real one, prompting some social media users to accuse him of playing up to offensive Jewish stereotypes.
The British actress and activist Tracy-Ann Oberman, who is Jewish, claimed this was 'the equivalent of black-face or yellow-face', writing on Instagram that if Cooper was chosen over a 'Jewish A-lister who can equally play that role' then his acting should be 'so magnificent and truthful that the character of Bernstein shines through what he already looks like'.
When photos from the set emerged in May, the Hollywood Reporter’s chief TV critic Daniel Fienberg called the prosthetics 'problematic' and subsequently described the film as 'ethnic cosplay'.
In a statement posted online, however, Jamie, Alexander and Nina Bernstein wrote: 'It breaks our hearts to see any misrepresentations or misunderstandings of [Cooper's] efforts.'
'It happens to be true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose,' they said. 'Bradley chose to use make-up 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.'
The American Journalist and tech entrepreneur Brian Krassenstein also added his voice to the debate, posting on X, formerly known as Twitter, 'Relax! Movies are art. An actor's job is to portray the character they play to the best of their ability. I'm Jewish. My nose is large. Many Jewish people's noses are large. It's just a fact.'
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Maestro, which examines the relationship between Bernstein and his wife, the actress and activist Felicia Montealegre, is set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September, before being released in selected cinemas in November and on Netflix on 20 December.