Jeremy Strong (Succession) has joined Bradley Cooper‘s Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro, which is in the works at Netflix. Strong will play John Gruen, “a renaissance man and critic for The New York Herald Tribune and New York magazine”, who wrote the authorised biography The Private World Of Leonard Bernstein.
This will be Cooper’s directorial follow-up to A Star Is Born. He will also star as Bernstein, and produce from a script he co-wrote with Oscar-winning Spotlight scribe Josh Singer.
The film will span over 30 years, and follow Bernstein’s career, which includes his conducting debut at the New York Philharmonic at 25 when he was taken ill, yet without even rehearsing, performed so exceptionally that his star was launched the next day when his feat made the front page of the New York Times.
He was also blacklisted before being cleared of being a communist just before he composed the Oscar-nominated score for On The Waterfront, and was an activist in the civil rights movement and outspoken on issues including ending the Vietnam War. But, reportedly, the central crux of the film is the complex story of Bernstein’s marriage with wife Felicia Montealegre, who will be played by Carey Mulligan.
Cooper has reportedly been working closely with Bernstein’s children to get the details right on the story. If you recall, there was another Bernstein biopic in the works with Jake Gyllenhaal and Cary Fukunaga attached. However, Cooper’s film scored the exclusive rights to Bernstein’s music, and since then there hasn’t been much word about the other project, which was to be called The American.
Strong just came off a fun performance in Aaron Sorkin‘s The Trial Of The Chicago 7, which was released last Friday, also on Netflix. Hopefully he can bring a similar sort of energy to this role.
It will likely be a while until we see Maestro, but expect Netflix to put all of their weight behind it once it’s ready. To see Cooper before that, check him out in Guillermo Del Toro‘s Nightmare Alley alongside Cate Blanchett, although the movie is currently undated.