With a life as colourful as his was, it’s amazing that Leonard Bernstein’s story hasn’t been made into a film before. At last it's set to be released...


What is the name of the Bernstein biopic on Netflix?

The film was originally going to be called Bernstein, but the title then changed to Maestro.

Who is directing the Bernstein biopic film?

Actor-director Bradley Cooper so impressed producer Steven Spielberg with his directorial debit, A Star is Born, that Spielberg suggested he take on the Bernstein project – which had been in development at Paramount Pictures for a while. So Cooper directs, and stars, with the likes of Martin Scorsese and Todd Phillips joining Steven Spielberg as producers. Paramount Pictures is no longer involved, but Netflix has stepped in to take on the film and release it. Cooper has co-written the film with Oscar-winning screenwriter Josh Singer (Spotlight).

Has a trailer for the Bernstein biopic been released?

A teaser trailer was released on 16 August, which you can watch below:

Which parts of Bernstein's life are being explored in the Netflix biopic?

While specific plot details remain under wraps, at the heart of Maestro is said to be Bernstein’s complex relationship with his wife, Felicia. They met in 1946 and married in 1951, following not one but two engagements. He left her after 25 years of marriage, though it was an open secret that Bernstein was gay. Felicia was diagnosed with cancer soon after, and Bernstein returned to care for her until her death in 1978.

With such a tumultuous and compelling personal life, we can expect an emotional drama, and that’s before we get to the music-making. During his life with Felicia, Bernstein became one of the most famous conductors and composers in the world… from the premiere of West Side Story to countless tours, not to mention his celebrated tenure with the New York Philharmonic, the Young People’s Concerts and his legendary Harvard lecture, there’s much to potentially plunder.

Who’s starring in the Bernstein biopic?

Bradley Cooper stars as Leonard Bernstein and Carey Mulligan plays Felicia Montealegre. Coincidentally, the pair narrated a performance of Bernstein’s Candide in Philadelphia in 2019.

Supporting roles include Maya Hawke as Jamie Bernstein, Sarah Silverman as Shirley Bernstein, Michael Urie as Jerome Robbins, Gideon Glick as Tommy Cothran, Sam Nivola as Alexander Bernstein, Miriam Shor as Cynthia O'Neal and Alexa Swinton as Nina Bernstein.

The Bernstein Estate has granted exclusive rights to the production, so we can expect plenty of Bernstein’s own music to be featured in the story; and if it focuses on the period 1946-78, then there’s a huge amount to choose from. The film's music consultant is none other than Metropolitan Opera and Philadelphia Orchestra music director Yannick Nezet-Seguin – and Bradley Cooper has attended performances given by both the opera company and orchestra in preparation for his role.

When did Netflix start filming on the Bernstein biopic?

Filming was initially expect to begin in April 2021 in Los Angeles, however it instead began in May 2022, with production taking place in Tanglewood and New York City in the US, and at Ely Cathedral in the UK.

Wasn’t there meant to be another Bernstein biopic?

Yes, The American was also in development for a time. It was to be directed by Cary Fukunaga (No Time To Die), based on Humphrey Burton’s biography, and was to star Jake Gyllenhaal as Bernstein. With the Bernstein Estate granting exclusive rights to Cooper’s film, things began to fall apart for the other production and it doesn’t look likely to materialise.

When will the Bernstein biopic be released?

Maestro is set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September 2023 and will be shown in selected cinemas from November, before being released on Netflix on 20 December. There will also be special showings at the BFI London Film Festival 2023 at Southbank Centre on 9, 10 and 14 October.

Where can you watch the new Bernstein biopic?

The Bernstein biopic will be available to stream on Netflix. Sign up to Netflix now from £4.99 per month

Read our reviews of the latest Bernstein recordings here


Find out more about Bernstein and his works here