A Star Is Born: From the stars to the soundtrack - Why to watch the Oscar-winning film
Our guide to the film's best bits, all-star cast and insider information.
A Star Is Born
A Star Is Born might be a remake - but it is in no way unoriginal.
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga star in the emotional film about seasoned musician Jackson Maine (Cooper), who falls in love with young singer Ally (Lady Gaga) and helps her to launch her career.
But as Ally's career takes off, Jack continues to fight his own internal demons, sending his own career into a downward spiral.
From its record-breaking soundtrack to the performances of its two leads, we reveal the best bits about A Star Is Born, as well as fascinating facts about the film, who’s in the cast, and more...
Who’s in the cast?
Lady Gaga as Ally
Lady Gaga - real name Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta - plays aspiring singer Ally, who’s practically given up on her dream to make it in the spotlight when she meets Jack.
A Star Is Born is Gaga’s first major film role since she burst onto the showbiz scene 10 years ago.
She is known mainly for her music, and has won an impressive nine Grammy awards to date.
Before A Star Is Born, Gaga appeared in Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story TV series in 2015-2016 as The Countess.
Bradley Cooper as Jackson 'Jack' Maine
Cooper plays Jackson Maine - known to Ally as Jack - an established musician and globe-trotting rock star, who’s fighting an ongoing battle with drink, drugs and personal issues.
The US actor had already achieved success with movies before A Star Is Born, including roles in Oscar-nominated films American Sniper and Silver Linings Playbook.
However, Cooper had to train for six months to become musician Jack in the film - he even taught himself to play the guitar and piano for the role.
He also worked with a vocal coach, and sung all of his songs live for the film, alongside Gaga.
As well as being the leading man, A Star Is Born is also Cooper’s directorial debut.
The film also features Sam Elliott as Jackson’s brother, Bobby. Elliott was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for this performance - his first Academy Award nomination in his 50-year acting career.
Elliott joked to Deadline.com of his nomination: “I think the thing off the top of my head might be, ‘It’s about f*cking time'.
“Beyond that, it’s really about the work; it’s just about the creative process. It’s great to be recognised for that, that’s really all it’s about.”
TV fans might recognise him from his role as Beau Bennett in The Ranch, Phil in Grace and Frankie, or Ron Dunn in Parks and Recreation. He’s also appeared in movies including Road House, The Hero and The Big Lebowski.
The film also features Rafi Gavron as Rez, Andrew Dice Clay as Lorenzo and Anthony Ramos as Ramon.
3 reasons to watch A Star Is Born...
1. The stellar performances of its two leads
There’s no question that the performances from Cooper and Gaga are career-defining.
As we’ve said, Cooper has had success in Hollywood - you might also recognise him from The Hangover franchise - but his portrayal of Jackson Maine is a totally different beast.
He didn’t just learn the lines, he immersed himself into the character, not just by learning to play guitar and piano and honing his singing talent, but by completely changing his speaking voice too.
Gaga, meanwhile, is totally stripped back - the antithesis of her larger-than-life red carpet persona.
Together, the pair are unequivocally mesmerising on screen.
2. The record-breaking original soundtrack
A Star Is Born is a remake of a film that’s been made twice already - but the songs in this version of the story are entirely original.
There are 17 original songs from Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper on the soundtrack and the pair performed them all live on set.
On the soundtrack, Gaga performs nine songs solo, Cooper performs five, and they have four duets. There’s only one cover on the whole album (Edith Piaf standard La Vie en Rose).
After the soundtrack was released, it topped the Billboard 200 Albums chart, making Lady Gaga the only woman to have five number one albums this decade.
She’s also now one of the only artists to have the number one song, number one album and number one film at the same time in the UK and Australia.
The most popular song on the soundtrack, and in theatres, is the original song Shallow, which features in the film's trailer.
Which leads us to...
3. The awards season buzz
Shallow scooped the Golden Globe for Best Original Song - Motion Picture (pictured below), in January 2019.
On the same night on February 10 in Los Angeles, Gaga and Cooper scooped the Grammy award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, and Best Song Written For Visual Media, for Shallow.
In February 2019, Shallow won the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the Oscars.
A Star is Born was also nominated for seven more Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress for the two leads, Best Supporting Actor for Sam Elliott and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Trivia: Did you know…
1. Lady Gaga and Cooper filmed some of the stage performance scenes at the Coachella and Glastonbury festivals. At Coachella 2017, Gaga used some of her headline set to perform as her character Ally.
Cooper told EW of his co-star's scene-stealing Coachella set: “[The grounds] were still up, so we had the run of the entire place, all the stages, for five days. It was the first stuff we shot. That was amazing because that was the first time I sang on stage with her. I couldn’t believe how easy it was.”
Cooper surprised crowds at Glastonbury 2017 when he performed on the festival’s Pyramid Stage (pictured below) at the start of country legend Kris Kristofferson’s set. Kristofferson himself played the role of the troubled singer opposite Barbra Streisand in the 1976 version of A Star is Born.
2. Bradley Cooper was spray-tanned every day to give him that sunburnt cowboy look, while menthol was sprayed in his eyes to make them look bloodshot and watery.
Lady Gaga on the other hand didn’t wear any make-up at all as Ally - Cooper made her wipe off her make-up during their first meeting - but she required a lot of body make-up to cover her tattoos.
3. Talks of a third A Star Is Born remake to follow the original 1937 movie, and the 1957 and 1976 versions began in 2011. Clint Eastwood was originally attached to direct, with singer Beyoncé in the female lead.
In a 2011 interview about the role, Beyoncé told Reuters: “I didn’t think I would ever get the opportunity to be the star. I met with Clint and I was so nervous, and I know that it is the biggest opportunity of my life.”
The film was reportedly delayed due to her pregnancy before Lady Gaga was then signed on for the project.
4. According to IMDB, other singers and actresses attached to the project included Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Kesha, Rihanna and Janelle Monáe. Christian Bale, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, and Will Smith were all considered for the role of Jack.
5. The dog Ally gets for Jackson is Bradley Cooper's actual dog, Charlie. According to professional breeders, he’s a goldendoodle (the cross of a golden retriever and a poodle).
Charlie won the hearts of many with his performance in the film, with many fans calling out Charlie’s lack of awards nominations:
6. [SPOILERS AHEAD] When Jack is insulting Ally during an argument while she’s in the bath, the comment he makes about her being “ugly” is totally unscripted. Lady Gaga - who has opened up about her insecurities surrounding her appearance in the past - reacts genuinely to the improvised insult.
Cooper told news.com.au that the comment wasn't a calculated move to get a rise out of Gaga, but a follow-up to Ally’s earlier comment that she felt ugly.
He said: "That wasn't an actor trying to get something out of another actor. That was two characters.
"What Jackson does to her in that moment is go to the most vulnerable place. That's what she shared with him early on at the cop bar [that she felt ugly], so it's to story.”
Watch A Star Is Born if you liked…
The Bodyguard, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Greatest Showman, La La Land, Moulin Rouge, Dirty Dancing, Once, Begin Again.