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54 C I N E M O N T A G E F E A T U R E By Peter Tonguette I n the dictionary, the noun "maestro" is a term used for a conductor of classical music. The word confers a certain au- thority: the maestro, or conductor, is the center of gravity and the center of atten- tion. After all, the conductor stands at the podium, and until he or she taps the baton and motions to the assembled orchestra players, no music is made. There is a bit of magic to being a maestro: he or she is the person who summons forth sounds from an otherwise silent page. T h e n e w N e t f l i x d ra m a " M a e s t ro" takes as its subject one of the most notable maestros in the annals of American music, and certainly one of the most visible: the conductor Leonard Bernstein. As played by director, producer, and co-writer Bradley Cooper, Bernstein is a volcanic, volatile, and unforgettable force — not just a gifted co n d u c to r, b u t a co m p o s e r o f re n ow n PAS DE DEUX ON 'MAESTRO,' THE POST-PRODUCTION TEAM WAS TASKED WITH RECREATING THE MUSIC – AND MARRIAGE – OF LEONARD BERNSTEIN ("Candide," "West Side Story," the score to "On the Waterfront"), a TV host ("Young People's Concerts"), an attentive father, an adoring husband to Felicia Montealegre (played in the film by Carey Mulligan), as well as an enthusiastic participant in affairs: as the film opens, Bernstein, who was bisexual, is shown in the throes of an intense relationship with an old friend, the clarinetist David Oppenheim (Matt Bomer). Yet the movie "Maestro" did not arrive on screens as the product of a single person. Perhaps Bradley Cooper was the conductor of the project, which was co-written with Josh Singer and which had at one point been planned as a directorial vehicle for Martin Scorsese (who remains a producer on the picture). But the film itself came to life thanks to the creativity and industri- ousness of a highly committed creative team, including picture editor Michelle Tesoro, ACE, executive music producer and supervising music editor Jason Ruder, and sound designer and supervising sound editor Richard King. Tesoro first entered Cooper's orbit fol- lowing her work on Sean Penn's film "Flag Day" (2021), which she had helped recut. Cooper had given Penn notes on various passes on the film. "When Bradley saw my pass, which was the final pass of the film, he asked Sean, 'Who edited this?'" Tesoro said. "At the time, he was still developing 'Maestro,' and he wanted to know if I'd be interested in helping him work on a sizzle reel, which we ended up calling a proof of concept." Tesoro put together test footage that displayed the convincing makeup designed by Kazu Hiro to transform Cooper into Bernstein at dif- ferent points in his 72 years. (The conductor was born in 1918 and died in 1990.) Although the "maestro" in the title is Bernstein, Cooper never intended to make MUSIC MAN: Bradley Cooper in "Maestro." P H OT O : N E T F L I X .

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