Warner Bros. has given a green light to A Star is Born, starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, Deadline reports. The film, Cooper’s directorial debut, will begin shooting early in 2017. It will be produced by Cooper, Todd Phillips, and Bill Gerber; the screenplay is by Cooper and Remember Me’s Will Fetters.
This will be the fourth time A Star Is Born is made into a movie. The original film was released in 1937 by David O. Selznick and directed by William A. Wellman. It starred Janet Gaynor as a would-be starlet who gets involved with Frederic March, a movie star whose alcoholism is speeding his way downward:
In 1954, Warner Bros. released a remake starring Judy Garland and James Mason. This time around, it was a musical, directed by George Cukor. Mason was the fifth choice for the male lead: Cary Grant turned the part down because of Garland’s bad reputation, Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra were both rejected by Jack L. Warner, and Stewart Granger dropped out of his own accord. Cukor had to start over from scratch partway through the production to shoot the film in CinemaScope:
Then in 1976, Warner Bros. remade the film one more time, with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. This was probably the most troubled of all three productions. Things were tense enough that shortly before its release, director Frank Pierson published an article under the headline “My Battles With Barbra and Jon,” about his unpleasant working experience with Streisand and co-producer Jon Peters and unhappiness with the final cut.
So A Star Is Born has been filmed in the 1930s, the 1950s, the 1970s, and now the 2010s: every two decades except for the 1990s. But not for lack of trying: In the spring of 1993, Warner Bros. tried to get it off the ground with Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington. (Houston was hot off The Bodyguard.) In 1998, there was talk of a gender-flipped version starring Will Smith as the rising star and an undetermined female singer to play the star on the way down. Neither happened.
Having missed the 1990s window, producers apparently waited until the teens, leading to the version that just got the green light. Back in 2011, Clint Eastwood was supposed to direct Beyoncé as the female lead, from a script by Will Fetters. By 2015, Eastwood was no longer interested, but Bradley Cooper was able to leverage the success of American Sniper to get Warner Bros. to give him a shot at directing. Aiming to become an Orson Welles–style quadruple threat, he attached himself to produce, rewrote Fetter’s script, and planned to star opposite Beyoncé. When the pop singer backed out, he tested Lady Gaga for the role, and now, at long last, Warner Bros. has given the film the go-ahead. Which means only one thing: The casting process for the 2030s version of A Star Is Born begins now. Call your agents!