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Bradley Cooper Is Unrecognizable As Leonard Bernstein In Maestro First Look

For his directorial follow-up to his 2018 film "A Star Is Born," Bradley Cooper has decided to tackle the life of prolific composer Leonard Bernstein, who is best known for providing the music for musicals such as "West Side Story" and "On the Town," among many other accomplishments. 

"Maestro" was first announced by Paramount in May 2018 before being acquired by Netflix in 2020 (per Deadline). Co-written by Cooper and Josh Singer — the Oscar-winning writer of "Spotlight" — the film spans 30 years, and focuses on Bernstein, played by Cooper, and his wife, Felicia Montealegre, played by Carey Mulligan. Filming began in May 2022, and it's expected to be released in 2023. The film is being produced by an impressive slate of industry heavyweights, including Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Todd Phillips. As for Cooper, he explained to Variety, "I [told Spielberg], '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?'" 

Now that Netflix has shared the first photos of "Maestro" showing Cooper's transformation by famed makeup designer Kazu Hiro, fans can't believe how unrecognizable Cooper is.

Oscar winning makeup artist Kazu Hiro transformed Bradley Cooper into Leonard Bernstein

Fans of Bradley Cooper were astounded when Netflix took to Twitter and published the first photos of him as Leonard Bernstein. The pics feature Cooper as a young Bernstein alongside Carey Mulligan as his wife, Felicia Montealegre, as well as photos of a prosthetics and makeup enhanced Cooper as an elderly Bernstein that were so spot-on that Twitter user @OHsportsball wrote, "This is a ridiculously accurate recreation of Leonard Bernstein. Almost creepy that it's not a real picture of him."

The man responsible for the makeup is Kazu Hiro, long admired for the impressive transformations he's accomplished in his career as a prosthetic makeup designer. After winning Academy Awards for best achievement in makeup and hairstyling for 2017's "Darkest Hour," starring an altered Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, and then in 2019 for "Bombshell," he cemented his status as one of the best in Hollywood.

Netflix Film Chief Scott Studer feels confident about "Maestro," telling Variety, "We've done a lot of work on the makeup. We've done a lot of work on the voice ... I'm excited to see someone so deeply focused on creating a story that means so much to him." Between Cooper's commitment to telling Bernstein's life as accurately as possible and Hiro's dedication to his craft, we can't wait to see the end result of "Maestro."