A truly novel way to remake “A Star is Born” would be to flip genders in the casting, pair up an alcoholic/addict fading lady star with a hot new male talent who must deal with fame and falling in love with the one person who can help his career, a famous, abusive drunk.
Why am I seeing J. Lo in that part? Too on the nose? Not that’s she’s abusing. Abusive, maybe. Harry Styles or some such as the rising star. Better yet, cast it younger, all the way round. ADELE as the burnout, Styles as a more calculating sleep-your-way-to-stardom toy boy.
But can any version work in our cynical “good-for-the-brand dating” age? Can “A Star is Born” and Coachella and the Kardashians and Orlando Bloom exist in the same epoch?
Whatever. “Star” is a remake without guilt. Whatever status the previous versions enjoy, the passage of time renders them moot, and fading memories (even of the Judy Garland/James Mason version from ’54) make this fair game. Old fashioned, with a lot of past-expiration-date gender role issues to work out, clunky, a “story” that has always depended on killer performances –and since Garland, singing performances — to get by, expectations can be happily lowered for anything great coming out of pairing Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga for this new version.
This first image, from Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta’s Instagram account, resonates with the 1976 Streisand/Kristofferson rendition of the oft-told tale. Yeah, the big-voiced, attention-sucking shock value seeking Gaga looks winsome and eager enough. Cooper? A taller Scott Stapp, as more than one wag has noted.
Cooper gets to direct, for his trouble. Sam Elliott is in it. And the movie is coming out on the cusp of awards season — Sept. 2018. For what that’s worth.