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6 reasons why A Star Is Born is going to reinvent Hollywood's favourite fable

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2018 is the year of the directorial debut from established A-listers, whether it's John Krasinski with hit horror A Quiet Place, Jonah Hill with soon-to-be-released skateboarding drama Mid90s or Paul Dano with upcoming, critically acclaimed Carey Mulligan showcase Wildlife.

Before either of those, however, there's Bradley Cooper's directorial debut, A Star Is Born, which has got us more than a little excited after praise from its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

A Star Is Born is the fourth remake of the famous story, which dates back to the 1937 original starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. It was then adapted into a musical in 1954 starring Judy Garland and James Mason, and then remade again in 1976 with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.

So what about this version? Well, it's the first time Bradley Cooper has directed a film, and it's also Stefani Germanotta aka Lady Gaga's first leading role in a movie. Gaga has won awards for her role in TV show American Horror Story and featured in Robert Rodriguez's sequel Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, but A Star Is Born will prove that Gaga is as much of a screen icon as she is a music one.

Here's why this emotional drama is reworking a timeless tale for a new audience...

1. It reworks the characters

Previous versions of this story tend to focus on the mentor figure who has already declined in stature, one who then schools a young ingénue in the pressures of fame.

Bradley Cooper's take revolves around country musician Jackson Maine (played by the actor), who is on the decline but not quite at rock bottom yet. This promises to lend further dramatic tension and character depth to the movie, as Jackson's steady fall from grace clashes with protégé Ally's (Gaga) rise to super-stardom.

This will no doubt make for a much more impactful and heart-wrenching love story than previous iterations, as the chemistry between two likeable characters is torn asunder.


2. There's terrific chemistry between the two stars

Pretty much every reviewer has highlighted the palpable chemistry between the two leads, which was even visible off-screen during the recent red carpet events at the Venice and Toronto film festivals.

Brian Tallerico writes on RogerEbert.com that "there's an unforced chemistry between Cooper and Lady Gaga that makes these characters easy to root for", while Vanity Fair's Richard Lawson is "surprised they didn't fall madly in love" because the chemistry between the pair was already there. Ally (Lady Gaga) and Jackson fall head over heels in love and thankfully for us, the film makes us believe that these characters really do love each other.

Get ready to sob when their relationship takes its inevitable downturn…


3. It's a powerful showcase for Lady Gaga's voice

We're all aware of Lady Gaga's status as a towering figure of contemporary pop music, meat dress and all. Even so, we were all curious as to how her characteristic vocals would fit within a narrative drama such as this.

Judging from the trailer, she's been given ample room to demonstrate the heart-stopping vocal range that's won over fans around the world – just listen to how incredible her voice is 1:46 into the trailer below. It's almost as if the film had to be remade just so Lady Gaga and her beautiful voice could feature prominently.

Of course, the raw power stems from the fact that both she and Cooper sang live (at her request), prompting the latter to spend 18 months honing his vocal and guitar-playing performances. Going by the reviews, the effort has more than paid off.


4. It was filmed at some of the world's biggest music festivals

If you were lucky and attended America's biggest musical festival Coachella back in 2017, you may have been confused as to why The Hangover and Silver Linings Playbook star Bradley Cooper took to the stage to perform. He hadn't changed career paths to become a country singer – it was actually him in character filming for A Star Is Born.

Scenes were also filmed at Glastonbury and other music festivals, to capture a more authentic atmosphere. A lot of films just cast extras to bulk up crowds and create their own stages, but A Star Is Born features real locations for the music performances. This movie, therefore, aims to authentically immerse us in the world of contemporary music, in the process adding grittier realism to its fairy tale structure.


5. It's a musical for those who don't love musicals

Even if you claim you 'don't like musicals', there's more than one approach to the genre. The multi-Oscar-winning La La Land got everyone wanting to sing and dance in traffic a few years ago, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again got many of us jiving to ABBA in the aisles again, and let's not forget the box office sensation that Hugh Jackman's The Greatest Showman caused at the end of 2017, also topping the album charts in the process.

A Star Is Born pitches itself as a somewhat more subtle and soulful musical, in which the live performances arise organically out of the storyline, and which is primarily invested in the love and heartache that greets its central duo. Even if you're averse to the genre, we imagine you'll find it hard to resist being swept up by Cooper and Gaga's slow-burning on-screen romance.


6. It's already attracting Oscar talk

It's never too early for some awards season buzz and A Star Is Born is currently being positioned as a possible Oscar frontrunner, with discussions over Lady Gaga's potential for Best Actress and praise for Bradley Cooper's direction. The previous films have drawn their fair share of acclaim (Streisand's version even bagged an Oscar for the song 'Evergreen'), but the plaudits that have greeted Cooper's film are far beyond anything that's come before.

Critics are loving it and fans who have caught early screenings are echoing the acclaim, meaning that it is likely going to be a hit with audiences once it's released.

Don't miss A Star Is Born, released in Cineworld on 3rd October. And don't forget, if you're an Unlimited card holder, click here to book for the Unlimited screening of A Star Is Born on 27th September.

Nadine Shambrook is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.