‘Maestro’ | Anatomy of a Scene

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Hi I’m Bradley Cooper. I co-wrote and directed ‘Maestro.’ It was very important to me, at the onset of this scene, that she be in a position of power. So, her on the windowsill, the light haloing her behind, waiting for whoever was gonna come in to be scolded. And then he’s sort of like a dog who knows that he’s done something bad, comes in, stays right on that side of the frame, almost out of the scene, and then slowly comes over, and then parks himself back in that position, almost trying to get out of the frame. And then I wanted sort of for you to be hearing this celebratory Thanksgiving Day parade going on, and seeing these floats go by, to sort of play into the juxtaposition between this sort of horrific scene happening and this joyous occasion outside, and for it also to be kind of comedic, in a way, and ridiculous. This was a scene that I wrote many years ago, when I first started to work on this project, and it maintained its integrity all the way ‘till we started shooting five and a half years later. “You’re letting your sadness get the better —” “Oh, stop it!” “Let me at least finish!” “This has nothing to do with me!” “Let me finish what I’m going to say!” “No! No!” “I think you’re letting your sadness get the better of you.” “This has nothing to do with me! It’s about you, so you should love it!” So this is the point of the film that everything has come to a boiling point, specifically for Felicia. She’s entered into a marriage eyes wide open in terms of how she perceived it would be, and how her husband, Leonard Bernstein, would behave, and now it’s gotten to a point where it’s encroached so much into her emotional state that she can’t take it anymore. “Hate in your heart! Hate in your heart, and anger for so many things, it’s hard to count. That’s what drives you. Deep, deep anger drives you. You aren’t up on that podium allowing us all to experience the music the way it was intended. You are throwing it in our faces.” “How dare you?” My fear was that we wouldn’t be able to maintain this frame for the entire scene. But because Carey Mulligan is such an assassin actor, it was effortless. We did this three times. This was the third take. And once we got it, that was it. Her main thrust is that he’s got hate in his heart, and he’s not up there on the podium doing anything other than teaching the audience that they’re not as good as him. It was very important to me that the audience, as they watched the film progress after this scene, know that that’s not really what she felt, because there’s no way that Felicia would have fallen in love with a man who has hate in his heart. But when we are trying to hurt somebody that we love, we’ll try to hit them where we think we can hurt them, and on the podium is where he feels, I think, the most free, and the most able to fulfill his potential. To me, when you’re not cutting, it, as a viewer, it should feel unsafe. You don’t know where it’s going. And if you start cutting, it just changes everything. “— zero opportunity to live, or even breathe as our true selves. Your truth makes you brave and strong, and saps the rest of us of any kind of bravery or strength!” But what I loved about it was just, and Matty Libatique is so incredible, the cinematographer, able to execute what I wanted, which was to have her feel almost regal. But she was, Felicia, in that moment. “If you’re not careful, you’re going to die a lonely, old queen.” Mommy, daddy! [CHEERING] Daddy! Snoopy’s here! Hurry up! [KNOCKING ON DOOR] You’re missing Snoopy! What are you guys doing in there? I love when they’re shadowed here by his ego. Outside the window, this Snoopy sort of represents where he is in his life. And then for her to leave him in the middle at the end of the scene, and he’s just there, you know, in the center of the ring, as Snoopy goes by. That was always what I had envisioned. [CHEERING]



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