Bradley Cooper said that Lady Gaga was the one who convinced him they should sing live. Gaga said she hated watching movies where the actors were not lip-syncing correctly to the songs, and to avoid this and get it right they needed to sing live for the film. This was what caused Cooper to get more extensive vocal training.
Gaga had to perform the last song "I'll Never Love Again" moments after she found out her best friend, Sonja Durham, had passed away. She said in EW's recent cover story: "My very, very, very dear friend Sonja died of cancer that day. We were supposed to shoot in, like, 30 minutes, and I left the set because her husband called me and I could hear her in the background and I just got in the car and drove. I missed her by 15 minutes and she died. I literally laid with her, with her husband, and their dog, and his son.... When I came back, Bradley was so gentle with me and we got through it. I performed the song. He was like, 'You don't have to do it again. It's okay.' All I wanted to do was sing. I'll never forget that day. It was really a special scene, and I'll always remember that moment."
Some of the scenes were filmed at the Coachella Festival in 2017, where Lady Gaga was the first female headliner in ten years. Festival-goers paid ten dollars to see the scenes being filmed, although recording devices were locked away to prevent any footage being leaked.
Majority of the drag queens' scenes were unscripted and improvised. They originally had little dialogue but seeing that their candid jokes added so much entertainment value, Bradley Cooper decided to extend them and let them play around on their own. Willam Beli, the drag queen that played Crystal, even claimed that none of her original lines made it to the final cut and that all her scenes in the movie were out of improvisation.
For his role as Jackson Maine, Bradley Cooper was taught to play guitar by Lukas Nelson, son of Willie Nelson. The pair hung out in Cooper's basement almost every night for a year so that Cooper could learn how to perform and present himself like a musician. Cooper is backed by Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real for his stage performances. Veteran dialect coach Tim Monich worked for several months with Cooper to help him better flesh out his vocal singing range.
Lady Gaga has said that she'd become so attached to her character during the shoot, she had to dye her hair blonde as soon as the film wrapped in order to 'release' Ally. She also said that, in real life, she is nothing like her character Ally.
Bradley Cooper had to undergo a full body spray tan everyday and endure menthol around his eyes to look bloodshot and high. Meanwhile, Lady Gaga remained bare faced with only a lip balm and moisturiser on majority of the filming.
Bradley Cooper began planning his vision for this film while working as a producer on American Sniper (2014), which was directed by Clint Eastwood. After Cooper and Lady Gaga performed a screentest together, Warner Brothers executives were impressed with their on-screen chemistry and greenlit the project.
Bradley Cooper was so bowled over by Lady Gaga's rendition of the classic French song "La Vie en Rose" when he first heard her sing it for a cancer benefit at the home of philanthropist Sean Parker, he insisted on including her performance of the song on the film's soundtrack.
Bradley Cooper claimed that his dream was to be a director before he got into acting, and this was his directorial debut. Additionally, he had written some of the film himself. Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood had expressed interest. However, Cooper's persistence landed him the project.
When Ally leaves her work for a gig, she enters a passageway with a brick wall and yellow lighting, while singing Over the Rainbow. This is a clear tribute to the yellow brick road that Dorothy takes to see the wizard, a character played by Judy Garland, who was the lead actress of the 1954 version of A Star is Born.
Bradley Cooper flew to Lady Gaga to show her the final cut of A Star is Born before the film was to go to the film festivals. Lady Gaga admitted that from the very first frame of the film, she had burst into tears and cried throughout the entire movie. She had to watch the film several times before she could watch it as an audience member.
The opening scene with Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) performing live onstage was filmed at a 2017 country music concert in Indio, California, where the production managed to squeeze Cooper in between sets by Jamey Johnson and Willie Nelson, father of Cooper's backing band frontman Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. The sequence was completed in 10 minutes with Cooper singing exactly what is heard in the movie in front of a live audience, and they captured what was needed in just one take. A similar concession had been granted for the film Crazy Heart (2009) for a 10-minute live performance by Jeff Bridges and Colin Farrell during a break at a Toby Keith country music concert in Albuquerque's Journal Pavilion in 2008.
During the screen test Lady Gaga wore no makeup. However, she initially tried to trick Bradley Cooper by wearing "no-makeup" makeup. But, he took a makeup wipe and revealed that she was still wearing makeup and needed to remove it all.
After seeing him perform at Desert Trip festival, Cooper approached Lukas Nelson (son of country music singer Willie Nelson) and asked him to help work on the film. Nelson agreed and wrote several songs, which he sent to the producers. Nelson subsequently met Lady Gaga and began writing songs with her and she, in turn, provided backing vocals on two tracks on his self-titled 2017 album. The soundtrack, performed by Gaga and Cooper, is set to be released on October 5, 2018, by Interscope Records who announced that the album "features 19 songs in a wide range of musical styles + 15 dialogue tracks that will take you on a journey that mirrors the experience of seeing the film."
Bradley Cooper intentionally did not include a montage of Ally becoming a successful musician but rather decided to include the SNL performance. He believed that if the audience witnessed Ally performing at SNL, they would understand how famous Ally had become to be invited as a SNL musical guest.
Ally's father in the film was imbued with real life aspects of Lady Gaga and her father's relationship. The scene when Ally talks to her dad about how many times he carried her piano up the stairs and sat with her while she wrote songs reflects the same genuine moments shared between Lady Gaga and her father.
Talks of a fourth A Star Is Born remake began in 2011 with Clint Eastwood attached to direct and Beyoncé set to star, however, the project was delayed due to Beyoncé's pregnancy. Talks with Christian Bale, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, and Will Smith to play the male lead failed to come to fruition.
Sam Elliott's character mentions that he's working for "Willie" to Bradley Cooper. This is in reference to Willie Nelson. Willie's son Lukas Nelson co-wrote several songs in the film and worked extensively with Cooper in preparation of his role.
Sam Elliott claimed that after he accepted the role of Bobby, Bradley Cooper revealed to him that he had already spent months of work with a dialect coach studying Elliott's voice as a model for Jackson Maine.
When filming Ally (Lady Gaga) at the 2017 Coachella Festival, nothing was played on the speakers. That way, none of the audience members could hear the song and leak it before the film's release. The fans who were close to the stage could hear Gaga singing, but couldn't hear any of the backing track.
In the publications, such as the trailers and posters, Bradley Cooper is top billed, while Lady Gaga is second billed, however in the film credits, the billing order switches, and Lady Gaga received top billing, while Bradley Cooper received second billing.
In the scene where Ally's father and friends are betting on horse races in Japan, the TV can be seen in the background and the Japanese scroll at the bottom shows there is a horse in the race named "State of Jackson Maine"
The song La Vie En Rose provides a deeper meta level commentary on the lives of famous musicians. The song translates to seeing the world through a magical lens where everything appears pink, rosy and blissful. The song foreshadowed the inner turmoil Jackson Maine was experiencing despite people's perceptions of "celebrities" having perfect lives.
Many of the film's songs were written by Gaga and Mark Ronson, a renowned producer who is credited with having discovered Amy Winehouse and collaborated with her troubled career for a long time. He can be seen dancing in Bruno Mars' Uptown Funk videoclip, which he also wrote.
At the beginning of movie Ally, played by Lady Gaga, sings the opening verses of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." This song was one of Judy Garland's signature songs. Judy Garland played the female lead role in the 1954 version of the film.
During the world premiere of the movie at the Venice Film Festival in 2018, the theater was struck by lightning which caused technical malfunctions, leaving the audience waiting for twenty minutes for the movie to resume.
The studio and producers desperately wanted Beyoncé for the role of Ally. She was attached to the project back in 2015, but decided to pass on it to focus on her music. Writer Camilla Blackett was in talks to re-write Bradley Cooper's script then and stated that the first thing she said in the meeting was that Beyoncé didn't have nearly enough lines. She also stated the original screenplay is very different from the final film.
There are several references to the 1990 romantic comedy "Pretty Woman." Both movies contain a "morning after" scene (after the first time the two characters have sex) in which the woman sits at a dining table in a bathrobe, her foot on the chair so her leg is up against her body, eating breakfast foods with her hands instead of utensils. Both movies contain the Roy Orbison song "Pretty Woman" in significant scenes. In broader terms, "Pretty Woman" and all the versions of "A Star Is Born" are "Pygmalion" stories (after the eponymous George Bernard Shaw play)--plots in which a younger, more naive woman falls under the guiding influence of an older, more experienced man who helps her advance in life.
Songwriter Mark Ronson told the Billboard Pop Shop podcast that "Shallow" was originally written as a solo for Ally and not a duet. It was only later that he learned it was reshaped to be a pivotal part of the parking lot scene and reworked into a duet.
The song: Is That Alright? was originally performed by Ally at her wedding as her vow to Jackson. However, that scene was cut from the film and the song is now played throughout the film's credits as reminder of Ally's promise to Jackson.
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga had to film a screen-test in Lady Gaga's house to convince Warner Bros to cast Lady Gaga and green light the film. The screen test script was written on the spot by Bradley Cooper, Eric Roth and Will Fetters which featured Ally waking up from her sleep by the sound of Jackson's motorbike and meeting him again.
The film premiered at the 75th Venice International Film Festival on August 31, 2018. It will also screen at the Toronto International Film Festival, the San Sebastián International Film Festival, and the Zurich Film Festival in September 2018.
There was a deleted scene which was an overt homage to Judy Garland. Jackson gave Ally a pair of ruby slippers, Jackson laid underneath the bed, and Ally on the bed. Jackson clicked his heels together and Ally leaned over and laughed with him.
Rebecca Field and Greg Grunberg starred on The Client List as husband and wife for two years. In this movie, they each have small parts in the scene where Ally is being dropped off at Jackson's concert.
During a scene where Jackson performs, many people can be seen in the crowd holding flags of various countries. Among these flags, is a flag that has the album cover for David Bowie's final album, Blackstar, printed on it.
The two principle drag queens, Willam Belli and Shangela Laquifa Wadley, both competed in separate seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race, a show which Lady Gaga once judged. Gaga appeared on the judging panel during the first episode of season 9, Willam competed on season 4 and Shangela on seasons 2, 3 and All Stars 3 respectively.
Lady Gaga initially watched Bradley Cooper perform Jackson's suicide scene but, later had to remove herself from the set as she had became too emotionally attached to the character. She then brought 3 dozen roses wrapped them up and left them in Jackson's pick up truck so Bradley would know that she wanted to be there but just couldn't watch.
When Jackson Maine is at the rehab facility, he takes up swimming laps as exercise. This is a nod to the fact that in both the 1937 and 1954 versions of A Star Is Born, his character (in those movies named Norman Maine) commits suicide by claiming he is going for a recreational swim in the ocean but really deliberately drowning himself.
2 bars of the song: I'll Never Love Again's opening piano motif is actually played throughout the film. The first time is when Jackson is lying in bed after performing Shallow and passing out drunk with Ally by his side. The second time, Ally plays the same motif on the piano after finding out about Jackson's suicide.
Jackson Maine's death is foreshadowed early on in the movie. When he and his driver are stopped at a red light there is a billboard with 4 nooses displayed next to Jackson's head. It is again foreshadowed when Jackson is talking to his AA counselor, recounting a time when he tried to hang himself with a belt at 13.
Immediately after filming in the cop bar with Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga went to the recording studio to compose the song she had just found inspiration for. That song was: I Don't Know What Love Is. (Ally and Jackson's wedding song.)
Songwriter Hillary Lindsey revealed that Lady Gaga had connected deeply to Ally throughout the filming process and was living in the raw pain Ally experienced with her devastating loss. Sometimes in the music studio, in the middle of a song Lady Gaga would breakdown crying, as Ally, not as herself.
The song Always Remember Us this Way prefaces the turning point in Ally and Jackson's relationship and the film's narrative. The song's emotional resonance affected all of the song's songwriters who started crying with Lady Gaga as they wrote and produced the song.
Lady Gaga's performance ritual of praying with her dancers before going out onstage is also shown in the film. Just before Ally performs Shallow for the final time, she is seen praying with her dancers asking God to look out for them and Jackson.
The last scene between Lady Gaga and Sam Elliott was originally written for Ally and her father. According to Elliott, "It seemed like the right thing, the dad would come to commiserate with the daughter. I'd wrapped on the film, and I got a text from Bradley, 'I got a great idea. What if...' And I just texted him back, I said, 'Fuck. Just let me know when you want me there.'" The change made the scene even more poignant. "That's why he decided it should have been Bobby. And it's so right. They had this relationship, and it was a terrible relationship. They loved each other clearly, but it was a terrible relationship. Never resolved. Unrequited." He added, "That was one of the nicest things that anybody's ever done for me, to bring me back to do that."
In previous drafts of the script, Bradley Cooper considered having Jackson swim out into the ocean and commit suicide similar to the ending of the 1954 iteration. Cooper also considered an homage ending to Kris Kristofferson where Jackson dies after crashing his Harley motorbike.
Two scenes, including the pivotal Grammys debacle, were filmed at the Shrine Auditorium, former home to both the Grammys and Academy Awards. The same venue figures prominently in two scenes from the 1954 adaptation., including Vicki's Oscar acceptance speech.
The film was not shot in chronological order. Meaning, Gaga had to dye her hair between brunette, orange, and blonde throughout the filming period instead of going in order of blonde to brunette, and then brunette to orange. Gaga's weight also shifts during the film, indicating it was not shot in order of transition since in some shots she appears thinner than other scenes. This is also seen with Bradley Cooper, as in some scenes his hair/beard is longer than other scenes. He as well appears to be slimmer or more muscular in different scenes throughout the film.
It is implied (and at one point outright suggested by Jackson (Bradley Cooper) himself) that Ally (Lady Gaga) isn't really comfortable with the colorful outfits and hair dye that her manager insists on. In contrast, as a singer, Lady Gaga is well known for her extravagant clothing and colorful hairstyles during her video clips and performances.
The film pays homage to 1976 version of Star is Born's tragic scene where Kris Kristofferson's character dies from driving a vehicle recklessly. Ally tells Jackson that she is not getting on Jackson's motorbike with him if he is intoxicated.
Lady Gaga actually dyed her hair vibrant orange for the film, but had to jump between the film's orange hair and her trademark blonde hair outside of filming. The real, dyed hair can be identified when Ally's bangs are parted down the middle or when her hair is in a bun style (e.g., when Ally and Jack are recording in the studio, when she is in the bathtub, or when Ally visits Jack in rehab). The wig, however, is on when she is rehearsing choreography, performing at her tour, or attending the Grammy's. The repetitive dying process caused Gaga's real hair to fall out, which is why halfway through filming she switched to wigs.
In the scene where Ally (Lady Gaga) is doing a photoshoot and finds out that she's nominated for three Grammys the song "New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down" by LCD Soundsystem can be heard on the background, this may be a reference about how Gaga's character had to change in order to become famous.
During the last conversation between Jackson Maine and Rez Gavron, Jackson comments surprised that Ally is incoming to make her first European tour, while he needed ten years to travel Europe. Since then it's confirmed by Rez when he replies that this tour was in 2004, it would implies that Jackson's music carrier started in 1994.