Some Twitter users pointed out that Cooper was once competing with Jewish actor Jake Gyllenhaal to star in dueling Bernstein-centered biopics. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gyllenhaal and director Cary Fukunaga’s project, titled The American, lost their bid for the music rights to Bernstein’s estate to Cooper’s film. Gyllenhaal told Deadline last September that he was eager to depict “one of the most preeminent Jewish artists in America and his struggle with his identity was in my heart for 20 some odd years, but sometimes those things don’t work out.” He added, “Bottom line, and this may be my Achilles heel or it may be my superpower, but I wish them the best,” Gyllenhaal said of Cooper and his co-producers, who include Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.
On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in January, Cooper said that he convinced Spielberg to relinquish directing duties on Maestro by showing him a cut of A Star Is Born. According to the actor, Spielberg walked over to him during Jackson Maine and Ally’s (Lady Gaga) pivotal performance of “Shallow” to tell him, “You’re fucking directing Maestro.” With Spielberg’s seal of approval, it appears any transformation is possible.