Bradley Cooper's buzzy remake of the classic 1937 Hollywood tale A Star Is Born stars pop culture icon Lady Gaga as a rising musician, and features her real, in-character performances, some of which were filmed at actual music festivals like Coachella. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Bradley Cooper revealed that Gaga also performed as her character Ally on Saturday Night Live.
Cooper, who makes his directorial debut with the film as well as stars opposite Gaga, explained that he wanted the upcoming movie (which is already receiving rave early reviews) to feel as authentic as possible. That meant that the steps that Ally took on her path to stardom had to look real.
Said Cooper, "I just never wanted to do a montage of her rise. I thought, 'How can we show the rise [to fame]?' Saturday Night Live is the only place you can go when someone has arrived to a new spot [in their career]." Gaga herself has performed on and hosted Saturday Night Live multiple times, most recently in October of 2016.
Cooper knew he had to go straight to the source if he wanted to get into Studio 8H in 30 Rock, where Saturday Night Live famously shoots.
"I asked Lorne Michaels [for permission]. We had lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel and I said, ‘Don’t make me recreate it in L.A.' So we used all the crew, and that is the room — that’s the [SNL] control room [in the movie]."
A Star Is Born, in all its many iterations (the original film is from 1937 but was remade in 1954, with Judy Garland, and again in 1976, with Barbra Streisand), tells the story of a former superstar (here, played by Cooper) who falls in love with and nurtures the career of a younger artist (Gaga). Each version of A Star Is Born has — spoiler alert — ended tragically, with the death of the older star just as the younger one is reaching the height of fame and success.
Whether Cooper's version will twist this sad narrative or not is unclear, but what is obvious is that this team is committed to telling as authentic a tale as possible. If that means using the actual Saturday Night Live set, it likely also means showing the ugly side of fame.
A Star Is Born hits theaters October 5.