Bradley Cooper's Long-Awaited A Star Is Born Follow-Up, Maestro, Starts Filming In May

Four years after "A Star Is Born" took over the Oscars and the airwaves, Bradley Cooper is finally sharing more details about his next directorial project. The film is called "Maestro," and in an interview with Variety, the actor-director spoke about how it felt to have Steven Spielberg pass him the reins.

"Maestro" will tell the story of Leonard Bernstein, a conductor and composer who worked on Broadway giants like "West Side Story," and composed film scores for classics like "On the Waterfront." He also helped bring classical music to television with the New York Philharmonic's "Young People's Concerts" starting in the 1950s, and had an extensive track record as a humanitarian. Cooper will play Bernstein in the project, with Carey Mulligan as his wife, Felicia Montealegre.

Cooper Asked Spielberg For The Chance To Direct

Initially, Spielberg had plans to direct the film, but between his busy schedule and Cooper's interest in directing more films, the actor-director says he was able to take the reins on the project that's now four years in the making. After Spielberg approached Cooper about starring in the movie, it sounds like Cooper asked him directly about taking over as filmmaker. "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?" he asked, according to Variety. "Would you let me do that?'"

It's a testament to Cooper's chops as a filmmaker that not only was he confident enough to ask one of the greatest working directors about taking over a project, but that Spielberg actually said yes. Cooper in-part chalks it up to the other passion projects Spielberg had in the works, which he knew would occupy his time for a while. "Steven has a lot of interests," he says. "He'll just choose one thing and all of the other things will be on hold. I think he knew he wasn't going to make that movie for a while." In the meantime, Spielberg has by no means rested on his laurels, releasing "West Side Story" to critical acclaim and working on the upcoming semi-autobiographical film "The Fabelmans."

Cooper says filming on "Maestro" will start in May, and he seems eager to dig into the project. He says he's wanted to be a conductor since he was a kid, even going so far as to ask Santa Clause for a baton at age eight. He's apparently working hard to nail the physical presence of Bernstein as well. Netflix head of global films Scott Stuber spoke to Variety last month about the project, saying, "I'm excited to see someone so deeply focused on creating a story that means so much to him" and praising Cooper's work on the character's voice and look.

If Cooper puts half as much work into this performance as he did for his rip-roaring, maniacal take on Jon Peters for "Licorice Pizza," then "Maestro" is sure to be a standout.

"Maestro" does not have a set release date, but will begin shooting in May.