Even before “Maestro” premiered on Netflix last month, it found itself at the center of controversies that captured public attention. The film, starring Bradley Cooper as Leonard Bernstein, sparked discussions around two significant issues: Cooper’s use of a prosthetic nose and the decision to cast Carey Mulligan as Felicia Montealegre, Bernstein’s wife.
The first controversy involved people criticizing Bradley Cooper’s choice to wear a prosthetic nose to portray Bernstein, who was Jewish. Some expressed discomfort with this decision. However, Cooper responded, explaining that he initially didn’t want to use a prosthetic nose, but the portrayal of Bernstein didn’t feel right without it, making it necessary for the character.
The second controversy focused on the casting of Carey Mulligan as Felicia Montealegre, a Chilean-American actor born in Costa Rica, for a character who was British. Producer Kristie Macosko Krieger addressed this, stating that they had the approval of the Bernstein family regarding the casting choices.
Krieger revealed that it was Bradley Cooper’s idea to cast Mulligan, considering her a “National Treasure.” The producer praised Mulligan’s exceptional ability to deliver a remarkable performance, portraying Felicia as the central figure in the movie.
Despite the controversies, Bernstein’s daughters appreciated Mulligan’s performance, admiring her capacity to capture their mother’s fragility, strength, and vulnerability with limited information.
“Maestro” is described as an immense and fearless love story depicting the lifelong relationship between Leonard Bernstein and Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein. Despite the controversies, the film aims to present an emotionally epic portrayal of family and love.