How Lady Gaga's A Star Is Born evolved with Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, more
In Tinseltown, the road to success is often paved with disappointment, tears, and empty liquor bottles… at least if you’re using Hollywood’s multiple iterations of A Star Is Born as a guide. The time-tested narrative — typically about a seasoned (yet troubled) industry figure whose personal demons consume him after he takes a rising starlet under his wing — has been adapted for several generations of moviegoers over the years, beginning with George Cukor’s 1932 drama What Price Hollywood?, continuing with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March in 1937’s A Star Is Born, and sustaining through further editions released in 1954 and 1976, when the faces of Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, James Mason, and Kris Kristofferson dotted Star‘s skies in the lead roles.
While a fresh take hasn’t been seen in over 40 years, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga are finally rocketing the evergreen romance back into theaters in 2018. In the interim, scores of A-list stars have sought a contemporary revival, from Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé to Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, Tom Cruise, Joel Schumacher, and even Clint Eastwood. Chart A Star Is Born‘s trajectory back into the spotlight in the timeline below.
July 2002: Nearly three decades after the release of Frank Pierson’s 1976 interpretation of A Star Is Born, it looked as if his muse, Streisand, would finally pass the torch to Lopez, as Smith reportedly courted the superstar to front a modern remake. Coming off a pair of successful singles (Ja Rule-assisted remixes of “I’m Real” and “Ain’t It Funny” topped the Billboard Hot 100 near the turn of the millennium), Lopez was at the height of her pop career in 2002, though Smith actually wanted to flip the genders of A Star Is Born‘s leads, meaning he’d actually play the up-and-coming protégé to an industry has-been played by Lopez. Later that year, director Joel Schumacher was attached to direct the project. “Who knows if the movie will go,” he told MTV News while promoting the Colin Farrell thriller Phonebooth. “[But] it seems [to be] a desire of the studio to do it. And now let’s see if all of the ducks are in order.”
June 2011: Almost 10 years passed before A Star Is Born regained serious traction with A-list talent following a period of limbo at Warner Bros. During production of their 2011 film J. Edgar, filmmaker Eastwood and DiCaprio allegedly discussed interest in taking a crack at shooting A Star Is Born together, this time with Beyoncé playing the role of the ingénue. Rolling Stone would later report Johnny Depp had also been considered for a major part in the musical around the same time.
Aug. 24, 2011: DiCaprio apparently declined to take a role, however, as Christian Bale was said by Variety to have been mulling A Star Is Born as one of his first post-Dark Knight trilogy releases.
Aug. 28, 2011: Four days later, Deadline noted Beyoncé’s headline-making pregnancy — which she memorably announced on stage at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 28 — would make it difficult for the performer to work on Eastwood’s version, which was supposedly set to start filming in Feb. 2012 (also without DiCaprio).
March 2012: The search for Queen Bey’s leading man continued in the months ahead, even honing in on Cruise, who’d recently wrapped shooting the rock-and-roll musical Rock of Ages. The same Deadline article that broke news of Cruise being eyed by the studio indicated Russell Crowe and Eminem had also been approached.
Oct. 2012: At the top of 2012, Beyoncé gave birth to the pop cultural phenomenon otherwise known as Blue Ivy Carter. As she continued to raise her new daughter into the new year, the singer prioritized family over potential big screen projects, announcing in October that she was officially detaching herself from the film.
April 26, 2013: While Hollywood’s reimagining was still in development, Bollywood hit the ground running, translating A Star Is Born into Aashiqui 2, which hit Indian cinemas on April 26, 2013. A mega box office success, the film starred Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor and made back its production costs 12 times over, earning approximately 1.09 billion rupees on a budget of 90 million.
March 2015: In early 2015, Warner Bros. had moved on from Eastwood’s take and began wooing Cooper to make his directorial debut with the planned film. The studio was said to have been seeking Beyoncé for the female lead yet again, though a deal never materialized.
June-August 2016: Last summer was a good one for Gaga; she reportedly recorded a decent portion of her latest No. 1 album, Joanne throughout the season and — hot off her Golden Globe-winning performance in FX’s American Horror Story: Hotel — entered talks to topline Cooper’s freshman feature in June. Two months later, EW confirmed she’d officially signed on.
Nov. 9, 2016: Warner Bros. unveiled the release date for A Star Is Born, setting the picture for a theatrical bow on Sept. 28, 2018 — a few short weeks after major fall festivals in Venice, Telluride, and Toronto are scheduled to launch high-profile films into the 2019 Oscar race.
Feb. 18, 2017: Academy Award-nominated sound mixer Steve Morrow revealed the film’s original compositions — some written by Gaga herself — would be performed and recorded live on set, following in the Oscar-verified footsteps of films like La La Land and Les Misérables. Speaking to Next Best Picture‘s Will Mavity, Morrow also said filming would commence in April and last through June in Los Angeles.
March 9, 2017: Deep into the making of Cooper’s project, Warner Bros.’ Theatre Ventures division tapped Beauty and the Beast helmer Bill Condon to turn A Star Is Born into a live performance. The production will be based on the Garland-starring version of the film — the first time the 1954 romance has made the jump from screen to stage.
April 2016: The day after the Lady’s April 15 headlining performance at Coachella, the event’s official app began touting a paid event that would involve a staged country music concert featuring both Gaga and Cooper. Fans were asked to donate $10 to Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation in exchange for a chance to be extras in a scene from A Star Is Born, scheduled to shoot at the Indio, Calif. festival grounds between April 18-19. On Monday, Warner Bros. released the first still (above) from the movie alongside a full plot synopsis (Cooper’s Jackson Maine is a country music star “on the brink of decline when he discovers a talented unknown,” Ally, played by Gaga). Gaga will be credited under her real name, Stefani Germanotta, in the movie’s credits. The studio also released details on the film’s Oscar-nominated crew, including screenwriter Eric Roth, director of photography Matty Libatique, and editor Jay Cassidy.