Makeup artist behind Bradley Cooper’s controversial prosthetic nose addresses backlash: ‘Wasn’t expecting it’
The makeup artist behind actor Bradley Cooper’s controversial look for the upcoming Leonard Bernstein biopic apologized and insisted he didn’t intend to offend.
Kazu Hiro, who put decided to fit Cooper with a prosthetic nose for the film “Maestro,” a move that prompted critics to accuse the film’s crew of giving Cooper “Jewface,” told reporters at the Venice Film Festival that he merely wanted an authentic look for the actor’s portray of the famous Jewish composer.
Reporters asked Hiro about the backlash, to which he said, “I wasn’t expecting it to happen. I feel sorry if I hurt some people’s feeling. I wanted to portray Lenny as real as possible.”
According to Deadline, the makeup artist added, “He’s photogenic and a great person, we wanted to respect and love that look. We did several different tests. That was our [only] intention.”
As soon as trailers dropped for the upcoming Netflix film last month, a flurry of complaints surrounding Cooper’s prosthetic nose appeared online. Social media users accused Cooper, who is not of Jewish descent, of appropriating Bernstein’s heritage with the prosthetic and make-up.
NBC News published an article summarizing the controversy. “Bradley Cooper is facing mounting backlash over his apparent use of a prosthetic nose in his depiction of composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein,” NBC News wrote. The story also cited a social media user who called the film an example of “Jewface.”
The outlet also shared data from the Anti-Defamation League showing the rise in anti-Semitic incidents in America. Additionally, it provided a 2021 quote from actress and comedian Sarah Silverman, who is Jewish, against Hollywood allowing non-Jewish people to play Jewish characters.
At the time, she claimed the film industry has a “long tradition of non-Jews playing Jews,” adding “and not just playing people who happen to be Jewish but people whose Jewishness is their whole being.”
Though once the backlash against Cooper’s portrayal gained traction, the ADL defended the actor and the film in a statement to TMZ, stating, “Throughout history, Jews were often portrayed in antisemitic films and propaganda as evil caricatures with large, hooked noses. This film, which is a biopic on the legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein, is not that.”
Additionally, Bernstein’s own children defended Cooper from the criticism in a statement published to X (formerly Twitter) on August 16.
Jamie, Alexander and Nina Bernstein said, “It breaks our hearts to see any misrepresentations or misunderstandings of [Cooper’s] efforts. It happens to be true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose. 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.”
“Maestro” is expected to make its North American premiere at the New York Film Festival on October 2, according to the group’s website. It will arrive in theaters on November 22, and stream on Netflix the following month.
Fox News Digital’s Jeffrey Clark contributed to this report.
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