Bradley Cooper said that Lady Gaga was the one who convinced him they should sing live. Gaga said she hated watching movies where the actors were not lip-syncing correctly to the songs, and to avoid this and get it right they needed to sing live for the film. This was what caused Cooper to get more extensive vocal training.
Some of the scenes were filmed at the Coachella Festival in 2017, where Lady Gaga was the first female headliner in ten years. Festival-goers paid ten dollars to see the scenes being filmed, although recording devices were locked away to prevent any footage from being leaked.
For his role as Jackson Maine, Bradley Cooper was taught to play guitar by Lukas Nelson, son of Willie Nelson. The pair hung out in Cooper's basement almost every night for a year so that Cooper could learn how to perform and present himself like a musician. Cooper is backed by Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real for his stage performances. Veteran dialect coach Tim Monich worked for several months with Cooper to help him better flesh out his vocal singing range.
Bradley Cooper had to undergo a full body spray tan every day and endure menthol around his eyes to look bloodshot and high. Meanwhile, Lady Gaga remained bare faced with only a lip balm and moisturiser on majority of the filming.
Majority of the drag queens' scenes were unscripted and improvised. They originally had little dialogue but seeing that their candid jokes added so much entertainment value, Bradley Cooper decided to extend them and let them play around on their own. Willam Belli, the drag queen that played Crystal, even claimed that none of her original lines made it to the final cut and that all her scenes in the movie were out of improvisation.
Sam Elliott claimed the scene of Jackson and Bobby getting in a fight was his first scene filmed. Inspired by starting off with such an intense scene on his first day, Elliott decided to play up Bobby's raw heartbreak at his brother. The tears were unscripted.
Ally's father in the film was imbued with real life aspects of Lady Gaga and her father's relationship. The scene when Ally talks to her dad about how many times he carried her piano up the stairs and sat with her while she wrote songs reflects the same genuine moments shared between Lady Gaga and her father.
Bradley Cooper claimed that his dream was to be a director before he got into acting, and this was his directorial debut. Additionally, he had written some of the film himself. Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood had expressed interest. However, Cooper's persistence landed him the project.
Sam Elliott claimed that after he accepted the role of Bobby, Bradley Cooper revealed to him that he had already spent months of work with a dialect coach studying Elliott's voice as a model for Jackson Maine.
Bradley Cooper was so bowled over by Lady Gaga's rendition of the classic French song "La Vie en Rose" when he first heard her sing it for a cancer benefit at the home of philanthropist Sean Parker, he insisted on including her performance of the song on the film's soundtrack.
Lady Gaga has said that she'd become so attached to her character during the shoot, she had to dye her hair blonde as soon as the film wrapped in order to 'release' Ally. She also said that in real life, she is nothing like her character Ally, the biggest difference being that she was extremely ambitious about her career from a young age and was classically trained in music, while Ally is starting off a late bloomer with no self-confidence in her talent.
Bradley Cooper flew to Lady Gaga to show her the final cut of "A Star is Born" before the film was to go to the film festivals. Lady Gaga admitted that from the very first frame of the film, she had burst into tears and cried throughout the entire movie. She had to watch the film several times before she could watch it as an audience member.
When filming Ally at the 2017 Coachella Festival, nothing was played on the speakers. That way, none of the audience members could hear the song and leak it before the film's release. The fans who were close to the stage could hear Lady Gaga singing, but couldn't hear any of the backing track.
Bradley Cooper began planning his vision for this film while working as a producer on American Sniper (2014), which was directed by Clint Eastwood. After Cooper and Lady Gaga performed a screen test together, Warner Brothers executives were impressed with their on-screen chemistry and greenlit the project.
The soundtrack for "A Star is Born" (2018) topped the Billboard 200 Albums chart. This is Bradley Cooper's first #1 album and first time ever charting on Billboard, as well as Lady Gaga's 5th #1 album.
During the screen test Lady Gaga wore no makeup. However, she initially tried to trick Bradley Cooper by wearing "no-makeup" makeup. But he took a makeup wipe and revealed that she was still wearing makeup and needed to remove it all.
When Ally leaves her work for a gig, she enters a passageway with a brick wall and yellow lighting, while singing "Over the Rainbow". This is a tribute to The Wizard of Oz (1939) and the yellow brick road taken by Dorothy, a character played by Judy Garland, who was the lead actress of the 1954 version of A Star Is Born (1954).
Bradley Cooper intentionally did not include a montage of Ally becoming a successful musician but rather decided to include the Saturday Night Live (1975) performance. He believed that if the audience witnessed Ally performing at SNL, they would understand how famous Ally had become to be invited as a SNL musical guest.
The opening scene with Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) performing live onstage was filmed at a 2017 country music concert in Indio, California, where the production managed to squeeze Cooper in between sets by Jamey Johnson and Willie Nelson, father of Cooper's backing band frontman Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. The sequence was completed in 10 minutes with Cooper singing exactly what is heard in the movie in front of a live audience, and they captured what was needed in just one take. A similar concession had been granted for the film Crazy Heart (2009) for a 10-minute live performance by Jeff Bridges and Colin Farrell during a break at a Toby Keith country music concert in Albuquerque's Journal Pavilion in 2008.
Bradley Cooper has said that the film was a personal labor of love that was four years in preparation, and that he was blessed to have the luxury of a prolonged post-production period to edit, mix, and score his directorial feature debut.
Producer Bill Gerber was so impressed with first-time director Bradley Cooper's skills that he became skeptical that Cooper had actually not directed before. He added while he could find no proof of that, he was certain that no first-time director could ever be so naturally adept behind the camera without having prior experience.
After seeing him perform at Desert Trip festival, Bradley Cooper approached Lukas Nelson (son of country music singer Willie Nelson) and asked him to help work on the film. Nelson agreed and wrote several songs, which he sent to the producers. Nelson subsequently met Lady Gaga and began writing songs with her and she, in turn, provided backing vocals on two tracks on his self-titled 2017 album. The soundtrack, performed by Gaga and Cooper, is set to be released on October 5, 2018, by Interscope Records who announced that the album "features 19 songs in a wide range of musical styles + 15 dialogue tracks that will take you on a journey that mirrors the experience of seeing the film."
In the promotions, such as the trailers and posters, Bradley Cooper is top billed, while Lady Gaga is second billed, however in the film credits, the billing order switches, and Lady Gaga receives top billing, while Bradley Cooper receives second billing.
When Jack backs out of the garage, you see the license plate on his car reads "2SAM564." Like GAT and FAN, SAM is a three-letter combination that is not used by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, so prop departments can use those combinations on license plates without fear that they will duplicate and cause confusion with a license plate already in use. "SAM" on other states' prop license plates is short for "sample." An internet search will show that 2SAM564 has been in television shows and other movies, including on Nicolas Cage's car in Matchstick Men (2003).
The song "La Vie En Rose" provides a deeper meta-level commentary on the lives of famous musicians. The song translates to seeing the world through a magical lens where everything appears pink, rosy and blissful. The song foreshadowed the inner turmoil Jackson Maine was experiencing despite people's perceptions of celebrities having ideal lives.
Ally tells Ramon that she punched the cop because he was being an asshole to Jack. But if you listen closely to the exchange, you can hear him say, "Get the f- off, you little whore" when Ally touches his arm, and that's when she punches him.
For the Grammy Awards sequence, the production had to get special permission from the Recording Academy to use a Grammy trophy that the props department had replicated, but only on condition that prop first be approved by the academy. According to Bradley Cooper, the production model was slightly smaller than the original, but it was the one they used in the final cut.
Songwriter Mark Ronson told the Billboard Pop Shop podcast that "Shallow" was originally written as a solo for Ally and not a duet. It was only later that he learned it was reshaped to be a pivotal part of the parking lot scene and reworked into a duet.
When Ally's father and friends are betting on horse races in Japan, the TV can be seen in the background and the Japanese scroll at the bottom shows there is a horse in the race named "State of Jackson Maine"
Jon Peters, who executive co-produced A Star Is Born (1976) with then lover Barbra Streisand, was credited as a producer, but only because he owned the rights. Warner Brothers and Bradley Cooper told Peters to completely stay away from any filming, did not include his name amongst the producers who would be potential nominees for an Oscar if the film got the nod for Best Picture, and stated before the film's release (when critics detailed Peters' history of sexual harassment) that they regretted it was necessary to work with him at all. Bradley Cooper simply described the positive atmosphere of production by saying, "Fortunately, Jon wasn't there."
Many of the film's songs were written by Lady Gaga and Mark Ronson, a renowned producer who is credited with having discovered Amy Winehouse and collaborated with her troubled career for a long time. He is also the artist behind "Uptown Funk (featuring Bruno Mars)", and can be seen dancing in the video.
At the beginning of the movie, Ally sings the opening verses of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". This song was one of the signature songs of Judy Garland, who starred in the 1954 version of A Star Is Born (1954).
In the garage, forty-five seconds elapse from the time Jack puts his hat down until he starts to close the garage door. While no one knows what he is thinking at the time, Rez Gavron's monologue about Jack derailing Ally's career is also 45 seconds long.
Only one in the four versions of "A Star is Born" where the male lead isn't named Norman (Norman Maine in A Star Is Born (1937) and A Star Is Born (1954), John Norman in A Star Is Born (1976)), as well as the only where the female lead isn't named Esther (Esther Blodgett in 1937 and 1954, Esther Hoffman in 1976).
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga had to film a screen test in Lady Gaga's house to convince Warner Bros. to cast Lady Gaga and green-light the film. The screen test script was written on the spot by Bradley Cooper, Eric Roth, and Will Fetters which featured Ally waking up from her sleep by the sound of Jackson's motorbike and meeting him again.
There was a deleted scene which was an overt homage to Judy Garland. Jackson gave Ally a pair of ruby slippers, Jackson laid underneath the bed, and Ally on the bed. Jackson clicked his heels together and Ally leaned over and laughed with him.
During the world premiere of the movie at the Venice Film Festival in 2018, the theater was struck by lightning which caused technical malfunctions, leaving the audience waiting for twenty minutes for the movie to resume.
The studio and producers desperately wanted Beyoncé for the role of Ally. She was attached to the project back in 2015, but decided to pass on it to focus on her music. Writer Camilla Blackett was in talks to re-write Bradley Cooper's script then and stated that the first thing she said in the meeting was that Beyoncé didn't have nearly enough lines. She also stated the original screenplay is very different from the final film.
There are several coincidences to the romantic comedy Pretty Woman (1990). Both movies contain a "morning after" scene (after the first time the two characters have sex) in which the woman sits at a dining table in a bathrobe, her foot on the chair so her leg is up against her body, eating breakfast foods with her hands instead of utensils. Both movies contain the Roy Orbison song "Pretty Woman" in significant scenes. In broader terms, "Pretty Woman" and all the versions of "A Star Is Born" are "Pygmalion" stories (after the eponymous George Bernard Shaw play)--plots in which a younger, more naive woman falls under the guiding influence of an older, more experienced man who helps her advance in life.
When Ally is in her bedroom you can see Carole King's album "Tapestry" on the wall. Carole King only ever wrote music like Ally. "Tapestry" was her first album to hit the charts that she sang and wrote on.
During a scene where Jackson performs, many people can be seen in the crowd holding flags of various countries. Among these flags, is a flag that has the album cover for David Bowie's final album, "Blackstar", printed on it.
Lady Gaga's name is derived from the Queen song 'Radio Ga Ga', which ironically was featured in the film Bohemian Rhapsody (2018). The two movies would compete for most of the major Academy Awards that year.
The film premiered at the 75th Venice International Film Festival on August 31, 2018. It will also screen at the Toronto International Film Festival, the San Sebastián International Film Festival, and the Zurich Film Festival in September 2018.
In the first scene with Bobby, Jack is doing a sound check for the concert where he and Ally will sing "Shallow." There is a photograph of Jack in the same clothes, with the same guitar and same backdrop, on the wall in their house next to the concert posters.
When the M.C. clears out the dressing room so Ally and Jack can be alone, as she leaves you can hear her say, "Hello... goodbye, Roger!" on her way out. She doesn't know that Ally broke up with Roger earlier in the day.
Rebecca Field and Greg Grunberg starred on The Client List (2012) as husband and wife for two years. In this movie, they each have small parts in the scene where Ally is being dropped off at Jackson's concert.
When Jack tells Rez it was ten years into his career before he toured in Europe, Rez responds, "It was summer 2004," implying that it was much fewer than ten years into his career, and that Jack can't even remember important details of his own career, presumably due to his drinking and drug usage.
The breakfast count, the morning after Ally and Jack's first night together: 3 eggs and bacon, 3 French toast with Bananas Foster, 1 oatmeal, 1 fruit plate, 1 egg whites with chicken and spinach, and a basket of bread.
Lady Gaga had to perform the last song, "I'll Never Love Again", moments after she found out her best friend, Sonja Durham, had passed away. She said in EW's recent cover story: "My very, very, very dear friend Sonja died of cancer that day. We were supposed to shoot in, like, 30 minutes, and I left the set because her husband called me and I could hear her in the background and I just got in the car and drove. I missed her by 15 minutes and she died. I literally laid with her, with her husband, and their dog, and his son.... When I came back, Bradley Cooper was so gentle with me and we got through it. I performed the song. He was like, 'You don't have to do it again. It's okay.' All I wanted to do was sing. I'll never forget that day. It was really a special scene, and I'll always remember that moment."
Lady Gaga initially watched Bradley Cooper perform Jackson's suicide scene but, later had to remove herself from the set as she had became too emotionally attached to the character. She then brought 3 dozen roses wrapped them up and left them in Jackson's pick up truck so Bradley would know that she wanted to be there but just couldn't watch.
When Jackson Maine is at the rehab facility, he takes up swimming laps as exercise. This is a nod to the fact that in both A Star Is Born (1937) and A Star Is Born (1954), his analog Norman Maine commits suicide by claiming he is going for a recreational swim in the ocean but really deliberately drowning himself.
The last scene between Lady Gaga and Sam Elliott was originally written for Ally and her father. According to Elliott, "It seemed like the right thing, the dad would come to commiserate with the daughter. I'd wrapped on the film, and I got a text from Bradley, 'I got a great idea. What if...' And I just texted him back, I said, 'Fuck. Just let me know when you want me there.'" The change made the scene even more poignant. "That's why he decided it should have been Bobby. And it's so right. They had this relationship, and it was a terrible relationship. They loved each other clearly, but it was a terrible relationship. Never resolved. Unrequited." He added, "That was one of the nicest things that anybody's ever done for me, to bring me back to do that."
Jackson's suicide was originally going to be by swimming out into the ocean to drown. That was the analogous character's death in A Star Is Born (1937) and A Star Is Born (1954), and it is foreshadowed here both by his interest in swimming while in rehab and the lyrics of the song "Shallow." Bradley Cooper claimed he even scouted the beach where the scene would be filmed. However, just before they were to go to location Cooper had a vision of Jackson's suicide in the garage and decided to film that version instead.
2 bars of the song "I'll Never Love Again"'s opening piano motif are actually played throughout the film. The first time is when Jackson is lying in bed after performing "Shallow" and passing out drunk with Ally by his side. The second time, Ally plays the same motif on the piano after finding out about Jackson's suicide.
Lady Gaga's performance ritual of praying with her dancers before going out onstage is also shown in the film. Just before Ally performs "Shallow" for the final time, she is seen praying with her dancers asking God to look out for them and Jackson.
Jackson Maine's death is foreshadowed early on in the movie. When he and his driver are stopped at a red light there is a billboard with 4 nooses displayed next to Jackson's head. It is again foreshadowed when Jackson is talking to his AA counselor, recounting a time when he tried to hang himself with a belt at 13.
After his performance on the Grammys, when the crew member is taking the guitar from Jack, Jack says, "Oh, it's over? It's over?" This would be the last time that Jack ever performed, so his career was over as well as the number.
Immediately after filming in the cop bar with Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga went to the recording studio to compose the song she had just found inspiration for. That song was "I Don't Know What Love Is" (Ally and Jackson's wedding song).
The song "Always Remember Us This Way" prefaces the turning point in Ally and Jackson's relationship and the film's narrative. The song's emotional resonance affected all of the song's songwriters, who started crying with Lady Gaga as they wrote and produced the song.
Songwriter Hillary Lindsey revealed that Lady Gaga had connected deeply to Ally throughout the filming process and was living in the raw pain Ally experienced with her devastating loss. Sometimes in the music studio, in the middle of a song, Lady Gaga would break down crying, as Ally, not as herself.
For the intimate post-Grammys rehab sequence between Ally and Jack, Cooper's DP Matthew Libatique ran two 'reverse-angled' cameras simultaneously in order to avoid the usually disruptive pauses between takes, thus capturing a greater degree of emotional fluidity and connection between the two stars.
Two scenes, including the pivotal Grammys debacle, were filmed at the Shrine Auditorium, former home to both the Grammys and Academy Awards. The same venue figures prominently in two scenes from the 1954 adaptation., including Vicki's Oscar acceptance speech.
When Jackson breaks down in shame in front of Ally during her visit with him at rehab, if one looks closely you can see he is dry crying. Bradley Cooper couldn't get the tears to flow during that take, but as director determined that it was the truth of the moment that Jackson could not have a good cry even though he wanted to.
The song "Is That Alright?" was originally performed by Ally at her wedding as her vow to Jackson. However, that scene was cut from the film and the song is now played throughout the film's credits as a reminder of Ally's promise to Jackson.
Lady Gaga actually dyed her hair vibrant orange for the film, but had to jump between the film's orange hair and her trademark blonde hair outside of filming. The real, dyed hair can be identified when Ally's bangs are parted down the middle or when her hair is in a bun style (e.g., when Ally and Jack are recording in the studio, when she is in the bathtub, or when Ally visits Jack in rehab). The wig, however, is on when she is rehearsing choreography, performing at her tour, or attending the Grammys. The repetitive dying process caused Gaga's real hair to fall out, which is why halfway through filming she switched to wigs.
What is learned about Jack's father is that he ran away from something to Arizona in his early 60s, worked on a pecan ranch past the age of retirement, slept with a 17-year-old when he was 62 or 63, was drinking buddies with his 13-year-old (or younger) son, and was too drunk to notice his son's suicide attempt, which preceded his own death by a matter of months.
The film pays homage to 1976 version of A Star Is Born (1976)'s tragic scene where Kris Kristofferson's character dies from driving a vehicle recklessly. Ally tells Jackson that she is not getting on Jackson's motorbike with him if he is intoxicated.
It is implied (and at one point outright suggested by Jackson himself) that Ally isn't really comfortable with the colorful outfits and hair dye that her manager insists on. In contrast, as a singer, Lady Gaga is well known for her extravagant clothing and colorful hairstyles during her video clips and performances.
Jack and Ally buy new clothes for the wedding, but don't buy wedding rings. Jack is wearing no ring in the post-wedding celebration and Ally is wearing the guitar string ring. This is more obvious in the additional footage in the Encore Edition.
The film was not shot in chronological order, meaning Lady Gaga had to dye her hair between brunette, orange, and blonde throughout the filming period instead of going in order of blonde to brunette, and then brunette to orange. Gaga's weight also shifts during the film, indicating it was not shot in order of transition since in some shots she appears thinner than other scenes. This is also seen with Bradley Cooper, as in some scenes his hair/beard is longer than other scenes. He as well appears to be slimmer or more muscular in different scenes throughout the film.
When Ally is doing a photo shoot and finds out that she's nominated for three Grammys, the song "New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down" by LCD Soundsystem can be heard on the background. This may be a reference about how Ally had to change in order to become famous.