Leonard Bernstein's Family Defends Bradley Cooper's Appearance in 'Maestro'

bradley cooper maestro teaser

After a teaser was released on Tuesday, the film received some criticism, mainly about Cooper's prosthetic nose.

Following the release of the Maestro teaser trailer on Tuesday, the Bradley Cooper-led film about the life and loves of legendary conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein received some criticism about Cooper's appearance in the film.

Most of the Maestro backlash centered on Cooper, a non-Jewish man, donning a large prosthetic nose to play Bernstein, who was the son of Jewish immigrants.

On Wednesday, Bernstein's three children, Jamie, Alexander and Nina Bernstein, released a statement on social media in defense of the film, which Cooper also co-wrote and directed, with Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg producing.

"Bradley Cooper included the three of us along every step of his amazing journey as he made his film about our father," the statement began. "We were touched to the core to witness the depth of his commitment, his loving embrace of our father's music, and the sheer open-hearted joy he brought to his exploration. It breaks our hearts to see any misrepresentations or misunderstandings of his efforts."

"It happens to be true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose," they continued. "Bradley chose to use makeup to amplify his resemblance, and we're perfectly fine with that. We're also certain that our dad would have been fine with it as well. Any strident complaints around this issue strike us above all as disingenuous attempts to bring a successful person down a notch -- a practice we observed all too often perpetrated on our own father."

"At all times during the making of this film, we could feel the profound respect and yes, the love that Bradley brought to his portrait of Leonard Bernstein and his wife, our mother Felicia," the statement concluded. "We feel so fortunate to have had this experience with Bradley, and we can't wait for the world to see his creation."

Bernstein was the first American conductor to receive international acclaim -- becoming the first American-born conductor to lead a major American symphony orchestra as music director of the New York Philharmonic -- and the composer of operas, symphonies, and the beloved Broadway musical West Side Story.

Maestro centers on Bernstein's iconic career and his marriage to actress Felicia Montealegre, played in the film by Carey Mulligan. The pair, who married in 1951, had a "strong connection," which is evident in the teaser -- though flashes to moments throughout their relationship reveal the emotional roller coaster it truly was. Bernstein had affairs with both men and women, leaving Montealegre for a time in 1976 to live with music scholar Tom Cothran (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel's Gideon Glick). 

However, when Montealegre was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1977, Bernstein returned to her, living with and caring for her until her death in 1978.

The Bernstein children appear in the film, with Maya Hawke playing Jamie, Sarah Silverman playing Nina, and Sam Nivola playing Alexander.

Carey Mulligan as Felicia Montealegre and Bradley Cooper as Leonard Bernstein in 'Maestro.' - Apple TV+

The film also stars Matt Bomer, Michael Urie, Miriam Shor and Alexa Swinton.

Maestro is set to premiere at the 80th Venice International Film Festival, before its limited theatrical release in select theaters on Nov. 22 and Netflix premiere on Dec. 20.