Come October 18, you will see a very tanned Bradley Cooper direct, produce and star in his new film A Star Is Born. The actor plays a dishevelled and semi-washed-up, drug and alcohol afflicted musician named Jackson Maine. According to a new interview with the head of the makeup department on the film, industry veteran Ve Neill, Cooper had a strict vision for Jackson: He needed to look like he was “gritty, distressed and like he’s been riding a motorcycle during a heat wave.” Cue an over-used spray tan gun.
Yes, every day, Cooper was subject to fake tan. “I tanned him every day,” Neill reveals to the publication. “I had him do full-body [spray] tans every other week, then every morning I would re-tan him in the chair.” We hope there was some exfoliation in the mix here.
There is one particular scene where Cooper looks a lot older – and a lot tanner – than he is; the morning Jackson says goodbye to rising artist Ally (Lady Gaga). His skin appears aged, red and dehydrated and he’s hungover. “I just wanted to take another look at you,” Jackson says to Ally, his eyes still as blue as ever.
“On the days he was supposed to look really messed up, I’d stipple in a glazing red gel at the top of his eyelids and bottom of his lash line so it looked like he’d really been up all night drinking,” Neill says. “On top of that, I’d go back and have him scrunch up his face so I could give him more wrinkles around his eyes with the tanner.”
In order for Cooper’s eyes to look even more bloodshot, Neill would blow into them “so he’d look high and drunk”. It was either this or Cooper’s waterlines endured a smudge of paste with menthol in it to incite blood shot, tired eyes. It must have been painful.
A Star Is Born is in Australian cinemas on October 18.