22 The Bradley Cooper Version?…from “Female Creatives & A Star Is Born” [Video]
Now I tend to call this the Bradley Cooper version and as Jacob asked me”Do I like it?” I like it to the extent that I like the bones of this story but because a male wrote it, and had two other male screenwriters rewrite him, it becomes his story. It becomes the Jackson Maine story. We have much more focus on his character, his backstory, and while giving a female superstar one name seems modern, in many ways it erases part of her own history. What is her actual last name right? A female character without a last name is not one who’s been thought through all the way, I would say in reading a script. So in this case, we focus so much on his backstory. So much about his own family. It’s his brother that’s part of the story. So much is more about the star who’s dying than the star who is being born in this movie. She doesn’t really have the same agency. Certainly not that Barbra Streisand gave her character. Really not that we had out of Julie or Janet either.
Watch this entire presentation
Connections at conferences matter! Through the most recent SCMS, I met Vicki Callahan, whose film history focus right now is on Mabel Normand. When she learned I could put together a lecture on the importance of the female voice in the A Star is Born franchise she asked me to give that lecture to her master students.
It made for a great opportunity for me to hone the ideas I’m working on for a chapter on that franchise that I’m writing for a new book from Bloomsbury: The Bloomsbury Handbook Of International Screenplay Theory. It’s always nice when one piece of research can be purposed in other ways – and it’s always fun revisiting such a female-centric film franchise – one that drew the talents of such powerful performers as Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand, and Lady Gaga.