Audiences everywhere are (finally) getting to see A Star Is Born in theaters, and fans are absolutely loving Lady Gaga’s first big-screen role and Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut. Cooper worked for years to perfect his vision of the movie, hoping to make it feel as authentic as possible. And the pair just revealed how they nailed the reality of all the film’s big music festival scenes.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cooper noted that he wanted to film Ally and Jackson’s performances from a backstage point of view instead of from the audience’s vantage point, and he was inspired by his own real-life concert experience. He said, “I was at a concert with one of my friends—he’s a drummer—and I was backstage and I saw the crowd from that point of view. And I thought, ‘That’s a great perspective that I really hadn’t seen in movies.’ You’re usually in the audience.”
But filming a festival scene with thousands of audience members is easier said than done, and it was Gaga who managed to make it happen.
If you’ll recall, Lady Gaga headlined Coachella in 2017, and she enlisted the help of her beloved Little Monsters to recreate the annual Indio, California festival for specific shots. Since Coachella happens during two adjacent weekends every April, Cooper and Gaga used the Coachella stage on the weekdays between Gaga’s performances.
Cooper adds, “The truth is, we made this movie for a very small budget considering what it was, and her doing that allowed us to have the week in between Coachella. [The grounds] were still up, so we had the run of the entire place, all the stages, for five days. It was the first stuff we shot. That was amazing because that was the first time I sang on stage with her. I couldn’t believe how easy it was.”
According to Billboard, the production team recruited Gaga’s biggest fans to appear in the audience, charging only $10 per ticket, with all proceeds benefiting Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. Those lucky fans got to see the first glimpses of Ally and Jackson’s love story—long before the rest of us did.
Other performances were equally as authentic, with Cooper revealing that the Stagecoach scenes were “shot in eight minutes between Jamey Johnson and Willie Nelson,” and the Glastonbury scenes were “in front of 80,000 people.” He added, “Kris Kristofferson [who starred in the 1976 film alongside Barbara Streisand] was kind enough to give us four minutes of his set. I sang, played the guitar solo, and then I said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, Kris Kristofferson.'”
The duo also filmed Ally’s big Saturday Night Live debut on the actual SNL set instead of recreating it on location in Los Angeles.
A Star Is Born is playing in theaters now (just remember to bring the tissues).