Bradley Cooper And Jake Gyllenhaal Playing Gay Composer Leonard Bernstein In Dueling Biopics

The late New York Philharmonic conductor wrote the music for "West Side Story."

Bradley Cooper, who makes his directorial debut with the upcoming A Star Is Born remake starring Lady Gaga, has already found another project with queer appeal.

The three-time Oscar nominee will direct and star in Bernstein, a biopic about late gay composer Leonard Bernstein, Deadline reports.


HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 23: Actor Bradley Cooper attends the premiere of Disney and Marvel's 'Avengers: Infinity War' on April 23, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Cooper's co-producers on Bernstein, which has a screenplay by Oscar-winning writer Josh Singer (Spotlight, The Post), include Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese.

Paramount Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, the film's co-financers, have reportedly closed a deal with the Bernstein estate for exclusive music and life rights.

It was announced earlier this month that Jake Gyllenhaal is also working on a biopic about the legendary composer called The American.

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Actor Jake Gyllenhaal attends the 'Wildlife' Premiere during the 2018 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Theater on January 20, 2018 in Park City, Utah. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

Gyllenhaal, who has also been working with the Bernstein estate, will produce and star in the film, directed by Emmy winner Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective, Beasts of No Nation). Michael Mitnick (The Giver, Vinyl) adapted the script, structured in five movements like a symphony, from the Humphrey Burton biography Leonard Bernstein.

Bernstein, who rose to fame after he began conducting the New York Philharmonic at the age of 25, most notably composed the music for the iconic musical West Side Story. He also composed the Broadway musicals On the Town, Wonderful Town, and Candide.

“Like many people, Leonard Bernstein found his way into my life and heart through West Side Story when I was a kid,” Gyllenhaal said in a statement. “But as I got older and started to learn about the scope of his work, I began to understand the extent of his unparalleled contribution and the debt of gratitude modern American culture owes him."

Al Ravenna/PhotoQuest/Getty Images

View of American composer Leonard Bernstein (1918 - 1990) as he sits at a piano and makes notations to a musical score, New York, New York, 1955. (Photo by Al Ravenna/PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

"As a man," the Oscar-nominated Brokeback Mountain star continued, "Bernstein was a fascinating figure—full of genius and contradiction—and it will be an incredible honor to tell his story with a talent and friend like Cary.”

Arthur Laurents, Bernstein’s West Side Story collaborator, once said of the composer, “He was a gay man who got married. He wasn’t conflicted about it at all. He was just gay.”

Bernstein, who was born in 1918 and died in 1990, will soon be honored with Leonard Bernstein at 100, a celebration featuring more than 1,000 events on six continents.

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