The Ending Of 'A Star Is Born' Went Through Several Rewrites, But It Was Always Tragic
Even if moviegoing isn't your thing, A Star Is Born is one of the most talked about movies of this fall, so you've most likely heard about it one way or another. And if you've seen the movie, you're probably familiar with the tragic finale. Spoilers for A Star Is Born ahead. A Star is Born ends with Jackson (Bradley Cooper) committing suicide after years of suffering from a crippling addiction. And, while it would have always ended that way, there were slightly alternative endings to A Star Is Born that director and star, Cooper, was toying with.
As reported by Rolling Stone, in Lady Gaga's new November cover story with Variety, Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich shed some light on the process that lead to the decision on how to depict the sad end for Jackson. “The first ending that I read, [Jackson] actually swims out into the ocean, where he commits suicide," he told Variety. "The script that we had when he started shooting, he rides his motorcycle. It was more like the Kris Kristofferson ending [in the 1976 version] with the Ferrari, but with Jackson with the Harley." In the end, however, Cooper landed on a different idea, as anybody who has seen the film already knows. And, according to Emmerich, it was definitely the right choice for the film. "But Bradley changed his mind and came to see me and pitched the idea of what he ended up shooting. I think he was right. When I watch the movie now, I can’t imagine it ending any other way," he said.
As Emmerich mentioned, the death of Maine was always going to happen. A Star Is Born is a classic story, told on the big screen three times prior. The names of the characters are always different, but the general story remains the same. An unknown woman with some sort of aspiration for fame or at least with musical or acting talent, catches the eye of a more famous or important man. He then goes on to make her a star (hence the title) and unfortunately he always succumbs to some sort of demise.
This current remake went through a lot to get to where it is today. Originally, Clint Eastwood was the director on the project and Beyoncé was meant to star. According to various reports, actors from Christian Bale to Leonardo DiCaprio and Will Smith were sought out to play the roles of Jackson Maine, and it eventually went to Bradley Cooper. However, once Eastwood backed out and Cooper took over as director, co-writer, and co-producer, he wanted to cast an actual musician in the role of Jackson. “I saw this other person that I wanted to do this, who is an actual musician,” he added. “But [the studio] wouldn’t make the movie with him.” Variety reported that a source said Jack White was one of those musicians, but the publication did not receive confirmation.
The all-consuming love story between Ally and Jackson was so flawlessly delivered by Lady Gaga and Cooper that it's hard to think of anyone else in those roles for this rendition of A Star Is Born. As Gaga said in the Variety cover story, “I still feel Ally inside of me... I wonder how long she’ll stay. Or if she’ll be in there forever.” With such a strong performance, which has some Oscar buzz as talked about in the interview, Lady Gaga will likely connect with that character for years and years to come.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. You can also reach out to the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, or to your local suicide crisis center.