The actor stars as legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein in the Netflix film he also directed and co-wrote. He had been skipping press opportunities, including the movie’s world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, due to the ongoing actors strike, but he was in the audience at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall Monday night.
Speaking from the stage as she introduced Maestro, Leonard Bernstein’s daughter Jamie triumphantly told the packed auditorium that Cooper was able to watch the film in keeping with SAG-AFTRA strike rules.
“The Screen Actors Guild guidelines permit our director, Mr. Cooper, to watch his film with us here tonight,” Bernstein said. “So let’s all welcome Bradley Cooper to the debut of his beautiful film.”
A rep for SAG confirmed to The Music news that Cooper was allowed to attend the screening because he was not promoting the film, pointing to the film festival section of the strike rules, which states in part, “performers are free to attend film festivals or other events.” But they cannot “promote struck work or struck companies at such events,” by, for instance, “serving on a Q&A panel” or walking the red carpet.
Reps for Cooper and Netflix have not yet responded to THR‘s request for comment.
The Directors Guild of America quickly reached a new deal with the AMPTP group that represents studios and streamers over the summer while the Writers Guild of America has reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP. The Writers Guild last week voted to end the strike while the deal was being ratified.
Meanwhile, SAG-AFTRA is still on strike but resumed negotiations with the AMPTP on Monday, with the two sides expected to talk again on Wednesday.
Due to the writers’ strike ending, Cooper’s co-writer Josh Singer, who skipped the Venice world premiere for Maestro, was able to attend the NY Film Festival event and spoke with media outlets on the red carpet and participated in a post-screening Q&A.
Speaking to THR about the end of the writers strike prior to Monday’s screening, Singer said he was grateful to the WGA negotiators “who I think worked very hard and bravely fought to put in protections for writers for many years to come.”
He added, “And I’m also grateful that it’s over and I get to stand here today and talk about a movie I’ve been working on for 9 years.”
Singer added that he was hopeful for a speedy resolution to the actors strike.
“I know there are different issues [with the actors than with the WGA], but I’m hopeful just so the town can get working again,” he said. “But I think actors need to get the protections they want.”
When asked he and his fellow producers felt about debuting Maestro amid the ongoing actors strike, producer Fred Berner indicated he was hopeful a resolution would be coming soon.
“I’m just sad I can’t hug all of these folks and celebrate,” he said. “We will hopefully have an opportunity. I’m starting to think it’s beginning to thaw a little bit.”
He added, “I think it’s worse for [the actors] than it is for us. How can you put all of that time and energy and love into something and not be able to stand there and get a smidgen of it back?”