The makeup artist who styled Bradley Cooper as Leonard Bernstein has apologized for creating the prosthetic nose that some say perpetuates stereotypes about Jews.
Kazu Hiro said at a Venice International Film Festival press conference on Saturday that he was not expecting the swift backlash to early images of Cooper in character that surfaced last year and intensified earlier this month when the trailer for “Maestro,” a Bernstein biopic, was released.
“I feel sorry that I hurt some people’s feelings,” said Hiro, who has won two Oscars, including for his work transforming Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill for 2017’s “The Darkest Hour.”
He said he and Cooper would show up at 2 a.m. most days to start early on pre-filming makeup sessions that took anywhere from three to five hours.
“My goal was and Bradley’s goal was to portray Lenny as authentic as possible,” Hiro said. “Lenny had a really iconic look that everybody knows — there’s so many pictures out there because he’s photogenic, too — such a great person and also inspired so many people. So we wanted to respect the look too, on the inside. So that’s why we did several different tests and went through lots of decisions and that was the outcome in the movie.”
Both Bernstein’s family and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) defended Cooper, who also directed the film, and said they did not consider the elongated nose antisemitic. Also at the festival, where the film debuted, Bernstein’s daughter Jamie called the uproar over the prosthetic nose “an annoying distraction.”
“The people who were waiting to get mad about something were just waiting to pounce,” she told Vanity Fair.
The film, which will receive a limited theatrical release on Nov. 22 before debuting on Netflix on Dec. 20, drew seven standing ovations during its premiere at the festival.