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Maestro make-up artist apologies over Leonard Bernstein nose controversy

On Location Filming
Bradley Cooper

The make-up artist working on Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro has apologised after the use of a prosthetic nose in the movie prompted antisemitism allegations.

After a trailer for Maestro appeared online last month, several Jewish entertainment industry figures were critical as they believed the prosthetic Cooper wears to play Bernstein depicted the Jewish composer with an exaggeratedly large nose – a common antisemitic stereotype.

The film’s make-up artist Kazu Hiro apologised on Saturday at the Venice Film Festival, saying it was his intention to capture the real Bernstein’s striking looks on camera.

“I wasn’t expecting it to happen,” the 54-year-old Oscar-winner told press at the Italian movie event. “I feel sorry if I hurt some people’s feelings. I wanted to portray Lenny as real as possible. He’s photogenic and a great person, we wanted to respect and love that look. We did several different tests. That was our (only) intention.”

Despite criticism from Jewish figures including British actress Tracy-Ann Oberman and The Hollywood Reporter’s Chief TV Critic Daniel Fienberg, Bernstein’s family have defended the actor and director’s use of the prosthetic.

Maestro received a seven-minute standing ovation after receiving its world premiere in Venice. The film tells the “fearless love story” of the West Side Story composer and his wife, Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein, who is played by Carey Mulligan.

– Cover Media