Carey Mulligan to Play Bradley Cooper’s Wife in His Leonard Bernstein Movie ‘Maestro’

     September 22, 2020


For the past year, if not longer, Carey Mulligan has been rumored to be playing the female lead in Bradley Cooper‘s Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro, and now Deadline reports that her casting has been made official — which is both exciting and a tiny bit discouraging.

See, Mulligan will be playing the legendary composer’s wife, Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein, who was born in Costa Rica and grew up in Chile. Her mother was Costa Rican, and her father was American, as well as Jewish. Mulligan certainly looks like Felicia, but she’s English, so I’m not sure I’m buying her as half-Costa Rican, or even half-Jewish, to be honest. But hey, the Bernstein children seem happy, so who am I to rain on their parade?

“We’re absolutely thrilled that Carey Mulligan will play our mother in Maestro. Carey will surely capture Felicia’s unique combination of wit, warmth, elegant beauty, and depth of emotion. We also love the way Carey conveys a kind of storybook European grace, which was something our mother embodied as well,” Jamie Bernstein told Deadline on behalf of her siblings, Alexander Bernstein and Nina Bernstein Simmons.


Image via Warner Bros.

Maestro will chronicle the complex love story between the Bernsteins, who met at a party in 1946 and were married for 25 years. Netflix is backing the film which Cooper will direct from a script he co-wrote with Oscar winner Josh Singer (Spotlight), and the two of them worked in close consultation with the Bernstein family for the past several years. Production is slated to start in the spring.

“I was struck by Carey ever since I saw her on stage many years ago and I haven’t missed a performance of hers since. I am humbled to be working with such a mammoth talent, as well as such a kind person in Carey,” Cooper told Deadline.

Leaving aside the tricky racial politics of this casting news, Mulligan is a fantastic, Oscar-nominated actress, and Cooper has nabbed her at the perfect time, as she’ll be coming off a dynamite turn in Emerald Fennell‘s revenge thriller Promising Young Woman, which earned raves at Sundance. Mulligan recently starred in Paul Dano‘s Wildlife, and she’ll soon be seen opposite Ralph Fiennes in another Netflix movie, The Dig. Mulligan broke out in An Education before going on to co-star opposite Ryan Gosling and Leonardo DiCaprio in Drive and The Great Gatsby, respectively.

Cooper is currently filming Paul Thomas Anderson‘s untitled new movie, and you can click here to find out who’s playing the young lead in that period film.

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