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Bradley Cooper: a feast for this middle-aged woman’s eyes and brain


Remember the old days of teen magazines and the irrepressible celeb crushes that took hold of your heart and wouldn’t let go? Well, at age 50, I have a new irrepressible celeb crush. It’s Bradley Cooper. I know, I’m not alone in this. And I’d love to say: “Stand aside, ladies – and probably gents – he’s all mine!” But let’s get real for just a minute. It’s never gonna happen! O, let me count the ways:

  • I’m 50 and he’s 43
  • I live in Australia
  • We’re never met (that’s a pretty big one)
  • I don’t move in his circles
  • To say he’s out of my league is the craziest understatement
  • He’s in a committed relationship with a stunning woman
  • He’s a new dad

Wait, it’s all moot, but a girl can fantasise, right?

But let’s take a closer look at him!

In his new movie, A Star Is Born and he is absolutely delightful. Hasn’t he come a long way since The Hangover and his other early work? He’s a real, serious, talented actor. It started to become apparent in American Sniper in which his piercing blue eyes looked to be genuinely haunted by the suffering his character endured.

american sniper bradley cooper

Starring alongside him in A Star Is Born was, of course, Lady Gaga. If she hasn’t earned her acting stripes from that role, I don’t know what it would take. Best Actor Oscars all round, I reckon! The heart and soul they both poured into their roles was palpable. And oh yes, the chemistry … I’d put money on them being each other’s biggest fans now, but I also think there’s a bit of a confusingly romantic twist to their connection. Not that they’ve acted on it but in all the interviews and appearances I’ve seen them do together, I can’t imagine they could switch off the profound connection their characters had. Given that he’s ensconced in a love relationship with Irina Shayk and new baby, he’s definitely off limits. But I do wonder, what does on-screen chemistry do to two people when filming ends? Irrepressible celeb crushes indeed! Do they feel it?

A Star Is Born – my favourite movie of the year

Going to the movies has become a bit ordinary. Every movie seems to have a formula, a predictable outcome and way too much CGI ‘magic’. It was so refreshing to see A Star Is Born and the only ‘magic’ was the on-screen chemistry, plus the incredible music. Ordinarily, I’d rather poke red hot poles in my ears than go along to a musical or musical movie, but THIS! This was different. Every song was brilliant. Aside from A Star Is Born, the only musical movie I’ve ever really loved was The Lion King. Hmm, one degree of separation between Lady Gaga and Elton John – she’s godmother to his sons.

lady gaga a star is born

I ‘bought’ Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga the whole way through. They seemed the real deal; angsty fading music star with way too many emotional scars and star-on-the-rise singer with growing optimism and faith in herself. The singing talent was real! We all know Lady Gaga can sing but when Bradley Cooper emerged in pre-release leaks with that gravelly, deeply personal singing voice (finely honed through an entire year of singing lessons), it was an incredible surprise.

Beauty is subjective

He’s just pretty, isn’t he? ‘Pretty’ is a word I often use to describe men’s looks and it basically means I find him visually compelling. In A Star Is Born, he’s quite rugged, very manly, a bit gritty (not unlike Kris Kristofferson in the 1976 version of A Star Is Born, really). He has greasy hair, weather-beaten skin and bloodshot eyes, but damn, he’s sexy! For sure, I don’t find drug or alcohol abuse sexy but his vulnerability and real-ness shone through.

Did you know that Lady Gaga, through most of the movie when Ally was just being herself, wore only lip balm? Quite the contrast from the usual Gaga with her outlandish costumes, platinum blonde hair and full-on makeup. As Ally, she was out of her comfort zone, but triumphed. For an artist who goes to such great lengths to create a persona to perform on stage – kind of like Beyonce’s Sasha Fierce – it must have been terribly confronting for Lady Gaga to strip everything back and be so ‘naked’. (Meanwhile, there is a scene in the movie in which she is quite naked!)

a star is born singing

Fascinating A Star Is Born facts

  • Bradley Cooper suffered for his art! Every day, he had to have a spray tan session to maintain his rugged, weather-beaten look. For every scene that involved being drunk or high, he had to have menthol applied around his eyes so they’d look bloodshot and watery.
  • To make sure his performances were credible, Bradley Cooper spent a year working with Willie Nelson’s son, Lukas Nelson, learning not just to play guitar but how to hold it and perform with it like a seasoned veteran.
  • He also took 18 months of vocal training to nail the vocal register required for his character, Jackson Maine. Maine’s voice is deeper and gravellier than Cooper’s actual voice. Afflicted by drug abuse and alcoholism, his voice reflects his dark life story. Dialect coach Tim Monich was brought in to assist Cooper with his vocal singing range and his accent which was a hybrid of Californian and Texan accents.
  • At the Venice Film Festival (before the movie screened to a global audience), Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga were honoured with an 8-minute standing ovation.
  • Charlie, the couple’s dog in the film is Bradley Cooper’s actual dog, also named Charlie after his late father, Charles.
  • Following the release of the film, Lada Gaga became part of an elite club for being one of the very few female artists to have a no. 1 song, no. 1 album and no. 1 movie all at the same time, in Australia and the UK.
  • Some of the movie’s scenes were filmed at the real Coachella Festival in 2017. Lady Gaga was actually the headline act but the audience got more than they bargained for and appeared in the movie. When she sang the song that was meant for the movie, she performed it for real on stage but it was not played through speakers because the producers didn’t want it leaked. Only front row fans could hear her singing, and they couldn’t hear the musical accompaniment.
  • At another Lady Gaga concert, this time in Boston, microphones were positioned all around the stadium and fans were asked to chant her characters name so it could be used in the movie.
  • Barbra Streisand, star of the 1976 remake has deemed the Cooper/Gaga version “very, very good”. High praise indeed from the superstar of her era.
  • Bradley Cooper calls Lady Gaga’s performance “a revelation”.
  • Lady Gaga was determined to get into her character early on. Long before filming began, she stopped wearing makeup and had her hair colour changed. As soon as filming ended, she went out and restored her hair to platinum blonde so she could “shake off Ally”.
  • When Cooper arrived at Gaga’s home for a screen test, he handed her a makeup wipe and insisted she remove all traces of makeup. He said she would have to “completely let go and trust” and ultimately, of course, she won the role.
  • Jackson Maine’s character was based on Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam fame. Cooper spent several days with him in Seattle so he could ask him “9,000 questions” and get a feel for the man.
  • Whenever Jackson takes off his hat on stage, it’s because of a deliberately planned tactic to symbolise that the character is not hiding anything, that he’s completely vulnerable and open.
  • Acting coach Susan Batson who has also trained Juliette Binoche and Nicole Kidman describes Gaga as “almost beyond professional”.

An intelligent, educated man

Bradley Cooper speaks fluent French, almost as fluently as a native French speaker. After graduating from University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts in English, he lived in Aix-en-Provence, France for six months and studied the language there. If you’d like to see him in full French-speaking flight, the following is my gift to you! You’re welcome 🙂

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