I’ve acted before but never had the lead in a feature film and I’m very grateful to Bradley for believing in me.
“This entire experience has been life changing,” says the singing superstar, who is now also earning the respect of the film world by winning universally rave reviews.
She’s giving all the credit to her director and co-star Bradley Cooper, himself a four-time Oscar nominee, who persuaded movie-makers Warner Bros to let him cast her in the role of a waitress who becomes a pop star – and helped craft her acclaimed performance.
“One person believing in you can change everything,” says Gaga.
“I’ve acted before but never had the lead in a feature film and I’m very grateful to Bradley for believing in me. I wanted to give everything I had to him – every last drop of blood, all of my fear, all of my shame, all of my pain and my kindness, everything.
“I’ve never had as close an artistic partnership with anyone as I did with Bradley and I trusted him completely. He had this way of just whispering the right word to me before filming a scene to help me get in the right frame of mind, whether that word was ‘Ninja’ or ‘Tony’, as in Tony Bennett.”
He also wanted her free of make-up and all the other Gaga frills so audiences would only see the vulnerable character and not the star familiar from so many music videos and awards shows.
One time when she came in wearing very light make-up Bradley spotted it, took a tissue and wiped it from her face.
If the film’s title sounds familiar, it should.
Lady Gaga (L) and Bradley Cooper attend the “A Star Is Born” premiere
There have been three previous versions of A Star Is Born and all have tasted Oscar glory – seven nominations for the 1937 original with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March, six for the 1954 remake with Judy Garland and James Mason then four more for the 1976 version starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson which won five Golden Globes.
But this latest telling, released in the UK and US on October 5, is widely expected to be the most successful yet. It already has a 95 per cent rating on reviews site Rotten Tomatoes.
Bradley plays a hard-drinking country music star whose career is on the slide when he discovers Gaga’s talented unknown, singing in a bar. He coaxes her into the spotlight and the pair fall in love but as her career rises, his sinks and that brings its own challenges.
They both sing in the movie and with music her comfort zone, Gaga was able to help Bradley with his vocals just as he was able to aid her with the acting scenes.
“She really gave me the confidence to do it,” admits Bradley.
Bradley Copper as Jackson Maine and Lady Gaga as Ally
Best known for acting in films such as The Hangover, Silver Linings Playbook, Wedding Crashers and American Sniper he had no professional singing experience but took vocal lessons for 18 months to prepare for A Star Is Born. It looks like money well spent.
“I can’t believe how incredible his voice is. I’ve been freaking out about it,” says Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta.
Bradley is a huge music fan and has been in the crowd at the last six Glastonbury festivals. “Glastonbury is a magical place,” he says.
“That festival makes careers and rejuvenates careers.
“I didn’t want to make a music film without Glastonbury being an element and that’s why it features in this film. It’s been a great experience and I’ve never felt more fulfilled by a project.”
Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson in the story’s 1976 version
He hired Willie Nelson’s son Lukas to help write several songs for the movie and the resulting soundtrack album, featuring tracks by both Gaga and Bradley, is expected to top the music charts while A Star Is Born heads the box office top 10.
This latest telling of the story had been in development for years, originally with Beyoncé and Will Smith attached.
Tom Cruise was circling the project for a while but in the end it was Bradley and Gaga, with Bradley, 43, making his directing debut.
He has never won an Oscar – despite three acting nominations and one for producing – but this could be his time, according to countless critics and awards insiders.
Gaga scored an Oscar nomination two years ago for best motion picture song with ‘Til It Happens To You from The Hunting Ground.
While this would be her first acting nomination at the Oscars she does already have a Golden Globe for acting on television, winning in 2016 for her work in American Horror Story: Hotel. She has won six Grammys and three Brit Awards.
A Star Is Born is out on October 5
Ten years on from her debut album The Fame she is stepping up the showbusiness ladder as the latest pop star to cross into movies.
It’s been quite a journey for the 32-year-old New Yorker, who started playing piano aged four, began acting at her all-girls Catholic school and singing at open mic nights in Manhattan clubs.
Despite a small role in a 2001 episode of The Sopranos and method acting classes at the Lee Strasberg Institute, her acting career didn’t catch fire and she put her main focus on music, taking her stage name from the Queen song Radio Ga Ga.
After writing songs for the likes of Britney Spears, Fergie and the Pussycat Dolls, she stepped into the spotlight where her glam rock look and pop songs soon proved hugely popular. Having sold more than 27 million albums she’s already one of the best-selling artists in history.
But with this film role, a new chapter is beginning and she says: “I feel so honoured to be chosen for this part and every day on the set was a thrill.”
Now the biggest thrill of her career could well be just months away – winning an Oscar.
A Star Is Born is out on October 5