Warning: Spoilers for A Star Is Born ahead.
If the raving critics and fans get their way, A Star Is Born could win an Oscar in 2019. Yet, mere months before it could potentially compete in the Academy Awards, the film will add one more element.
According to The Guardian, the New Zealand film classification board has demanded that Warner Bros., the studio behind the film, add a new warning to the film. Per the report, two young people were “triggered” by a scene in the film, in which Cooper’s musician Jackson Maine completes suicide by hanging.
Due to the reaction, a note which previously revealed that “sex scenes, offensive language and drug use” were in the film will now also include “suicide.” The note will appear prior to the start of the film in New Zealand screenings.
In a statement, David Shanks, head of the New Zealand film classification board, said:
“Many people in New Zealand have been impacted by suicide. For those who have lost someone close to them, a warning gives them a chance to make an informed choice about watching.”
Cooper’s A Star Is Born, with Lady Gaga as the titular character, is the fourth remake of the original 1937 film. (A 2013 Bollywood version is the most recent.) The suicide in A Star Is Born is a plot point carried over from the previous versions of the film: In the original, a fading actor Norman Maine (the “Jackson” of the story) ends his own life by swimming out to sea and drowning. All subsequent versions of the movie feature this character dying by suicide, save for the 1976 version, in which the character dies ambiguously in a car accident caused by reckless driving.
This Star Is Born controversy follows criticism received from Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. That show about a teenage girl (Katherine Langford) who leaves behind 13 tapes explaining why she ended her life was criticised for romanticising suicide. After the second season premiered, the show received a trigger warning video for suicide, as well as other issues prevalent in the series, like sexual assault, prior to each episode.
If you are thinking about suicide, please contact Samaritans on 116 123. All calls are free and will be answered in confidence.