Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born is wowing audiences at TIFF, particularly Lady Gaga’s explosive turn as the uber-talented Ally, an unknown singer-songwriter Cooper’s Jackson Maine discovers during his career as a country/rock singer-songwriter. But before Gaga, two black superstars were in the running to play the coveted ingenue role.
Back when Clint Eastwood was still spearheading the project, Beyoncé was the first pick for the role. According to The Guardian in 2012, Beyonce quit the film twice because of “delays in announcing a start date for the film.” After Beyoncé dropped out, Eastwood was circling choosing jazz star Esperanza Spalding. However, as AceShowbiz reported in 2012, “the sources note that until the male lead is signed, no discussions or offers will be made with the female lead.”
Fast-forward to 2016, in which the film has developed from an Eastwood project into a vehicle for Cooper to flex both his directorial and writing muscles. Cooper talked about casting Gaga to Variety, saying he and Gaga bonded over their Italian family roots. Cooper also said he instantly “fell in love with her face and eyes.”
From what the trailer shows, it seems like this role was destined for Gaga, who commands attention just from the few scenes the trailer showcases. But it’s also fun to think about what the film could have been like if Beyoncé and Spalding, divas in the same league as Gaga, could have done with the role.
A Star Is Born will come to theaters October 5.