After massive critical and commercial success with 2018’s A Star Is Born, director-actor Bradley Cooper seems keen on sweeping up the Oscars yet again with Maestro, a biopic on the life and times of legendary Broadway composer and humanitarian, Leonard Bernstein. 

Here’s a quick early look at Cooper, almost unrecognizable under heavy work from the film’s stellar costume and makeup departments.

Maestro Bradley Cooper

Released by Netflix, the show was originally supposed to be directed by Steven Spielberg. It was the success of A Star Is Born that prompted Cooper to develop more confidence in his directing capabilities, according to Variety.

“I always felt like I could play a conductor, but may I research the material and see if I can write it and direct it? Would you let me do that?” he asked the legendary director.

The images are a testament to Cooper’s aim with this film, which took over four years of effort to formulate. A considerable portion of the film also tracks the love story between Leonard and his wife Felicia Montealegre, played by two-time Academy Award nominee Carey Mulligan. 

Maestro Bradley Cooper Carey Mulligan

The two originally met at a party during the 1940s, striking up a deep relationship that saw the former become one of the greatest orchestral conductors of all time. He also became the first music director of the New York Philharmonic and the first American-born conductor to lead a major orchestra.

The film will explore crucial moments in Leonard’s life, from becoming the world’s first televised music conductor, to his later efforts as a humanitarian icon. It was his protests against the Vietnam War, his support of the Civil Rights movement, and his passionate campaigning to support HIV/AIDS patients that drew the interest of Spielberg, Cooper, and even Martin Scorcese.

The film naturally drew a series of reactions from fans of both actor and subject:

A few also did point out an interesting detail from Leonard’s life, that he was widely known to be a closeted gay man. Playwright Arthur Laurents, who collaborated with the conductor on West Side Story, said that Bernstein was “a gay man who got married. He wasn’t conflicted about it at all. He was just gay.”

Maestro is currently in production, and is expected to release in 2023.

(Featured Image Credits: Netflix)