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Maestro Makeup Designer Details Bradley Cooper’s Extensive Leonard Bernstein Prosthetics-TGN


  • Kazu Hiro, the makeup designer for Maestro, details the extensive process of transforming Bradley Cooper into Leonard Bernstein, wanting the look to be as authentic as possible.
  • Hiro created lip and chin add-ons, a prosthetic nose, changed Cooper’s ear shape, and made nose plugs to change the way his voice sounded to match Bernstein’s tones.
  • Cooper’s makeup in Maestro has led to backlash, but Bernstein’s children have voiced their support, stating that their father did have a distinct nose and praising Cooper’s respect and love for Bernstein.



Maestro makeup designer Kazu Hiro details the extensive prosthetics process that went into transforming Bradley Cooper into Leonard Bernstein. Cooper takes on the role of the iconic composer in Maestro, as well as directing the film. Maestro is set for a theatrical release on November 22 before becoming available on Netflix on December 20.

Speaking with Variety, Hiro details the grueling process by which Cooper’s makeup was applied. Hiro and the Maestro team “wanted the look to be as authentic as possible.” To create this look, Hiro created lip and chin add-ons as well as a prosthetic nose. The team even changed Cooper’s “ear shape” and made “nose plugs to change the way his voice sounded” to better match Bernstein’s tones. One of Bernstein’s iconic looks reportedly took 2.5 hours to create. Check out the full description from Hiro below:

We wanted the look to be as authentic as possible. He’s iconic and people know what he looks like. As with any movie, we put an actor in a costume, and we build sets to make audiences believe the story, and makeup is a part of that. We respect Lenny and his look. He’s so handsome and talented and an amazing composer and conductor. And when we listen to his music, we think of how he conducted, so it was important to make Bradley as close as possible to Lenny.

We changed Bradley’s ear shape. Bradley had mentioned that Lenny has a distinct voice, and he wanted me to make nose plugs to change the way his voice sounded. I made ones that pushed out his nose wing. We gave him a face-lift around the temples that would pull the eyes out and jawline to make them younger.

Bradley Cooper’s Maestro Nose Has Been The Source of Controversy

In Maestro, Hiro was given the complex task of providing unique makeup looks not only to transform Cooper into Bernstein, but to transform him across multiple decades of his life. Capturing Bernstein, Cooper has to start off “so handsome,” before the character starts to age. As Maestro progresses, Hiro needed to apply a bald cap and a full bodysuit to fully transform Cooper.

While the extent of Cooper’s makeup routine is impressive, it is this very element of Maestro that has led to rampant backlash against the film. After the release of Maestro’s trailers and first looks, many online were offended by Cooper’s supposedly-stereotyped representation of Bernstein, who was Jewish. Specifically, viewers took issues with the prosthetic nose used by Cooper, who is not Jewish himself.

Related: Bradley Cooper’s New Movie Controversy Explained: Why His Maestro Appearance Sparked Backlash

Since the backlash started, however, Bernstein’s real-life children have voiced their support of Cooper and his film. Speaking about their father, the Bernstein children wrote that “It happens to be true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose.” The Bernsteins went on to praise Maestro, saying that Cooper showed a “respect” and “love” for Bernstein. Hiro’s description shows a similar reverence for the late composer, hopefully further dampening some of the Maestro criticism.

Source: Variety

  • Maestro

    Release Date:

    Bradley Cooper

    Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Maya Hawke, Sarah Silverman, Matt Bomer

    156 Minutes

    Biography, Drama, Music

    Bradley Cooper, Josh Singer

    Amblin Entertainment


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