Gaga gives an honest performance Musician discusses acting dreams and A Star is Born

TORONTO — This was the second consecutive year Lady Gaga exposed herself at the Toronto International Film Festival.

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This article was published 27/09/2018 (1414 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

TORONTO — This was the second consecutive year Lady Gaga exposed herself at the Toronto International Film Festival.

In 2017, Gaga — real name Stefani Germanotta — came to Hogtown to première the Netflix documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two, a revealing look at the joys and sorrows of the pop star’s life behind the curtain.

Nathan Denette/ The Canadian Press
Lady Gaga poses for photographs on the red carpet for the film “A Star is Born” during the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.

In 2018, Gaga enjoys the arm’s-length comfort of playing a Gaga-esque character in A Star Is Born, a new iteration of a musical melodrama that has been filmed three times before with stars Janet Gaynor (1937), Judy Garland (1954) and Barbra Streisand (1976).

Gaga’s character is Ally, a talented young woman who chooses to passively channel her musical gifts in late-night performances at drag clubs before a blossoming relationship with rock star Jackson Maine (played by Bradley Cooper, who also directs) compels her to finally take the spotlight, even as Jackson’s career spirals downwards.

At a press conference held in Toronto’s Masonic Temple on Yonge Street, Gaga allows that, unlike her character, she was never a shrinking violet when it came to flaunting her musical gifts.

“Ally has completely given up,” Gaga says during a round-table interview with Canadian reporters. “She doesn’t believe in herself. She doesn’t believe she’s beautiful. She doesn’t think she has what it takes.

“When I was 19 years old, I told my parents I was dropping out of school and I was dragging my piano around New York City banging on every door I could trying to get a gig,” she says. “I was even lying, pretending to be my own manager, trying to get the 10 p.m. slot where there would be the most people at the club as possible.

“This was not Ally. Ally is focused on taking care of her father, and being a catering girl and doing her job.”

Jordan Strauss / /Invision / The Associated Press
Lady Gaga arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of “A Star Is Born.”

Still, Gaga did relate to her character in ways that some of the past actors who played the role — Streisand and Garland in particular — could empathize with. Ally is, like Gaga, an unconventional beauty selling herself in an industry that thrives on convention.

“I had a record executive suggest I get a nose job when my first single came out, before we shot the video. I said no,” she says. “They wanted to give my songs to other girls or girl groups.

Lady Gaga (left) and Bradley Cooper pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film ‘A Star Is Born’ at the 75th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

“They didn’t want it to be me. And I just held on to my music for dear life,” she says. “I got lucky, I guess, after many years of hard work.”

Her luck continues with a starring role in a film that impressed the early audiences in Toronto with a combination of applause and gallons of tears shed at screenings. It’s particularly gratifying for Gaga.

“When I was a young girl in New York, I had a dream of being an actress one day, and (when) I didn’t make it as an actress, I decided to go for it as a musician.”

The movie-star fantasy hit hard on the first day she shot scenes opposite Cooper.

“(That) was the most surreal day for me,” she says, recounting how Clint Eastwood, who was originally attached to direct the remake, visited the set.

“That was an extreme honour for me to be introduced to him.

“And also, during my first scene together with Bradley, this was a moment when he really taught me something,” she recalls.

Neal Preston/Warner Bros. via AP
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in a scene from the latest reboot of the film, “A Star is Born.”

“I had memorized my lines and we sat down at the table in the Mexican restaurant to talk to each other and he said something off-script to me and I just said the line I had memorized.

“And he said something else to me and I kept repeating the same line over and over again because I didn’t know what to do. He said to me: ‘Are you OK? Do you need to cry?’ And then I cried for a second… and then I just threw the lines out the window.

“I still had them with me but I was able to be in a more present conversation with him,” she says. “And it really taught me something about being an actor, that you have to know the story that you’re going to tell. And you have to know the lines.

“But at the end of the day, you have to be as honest as possible in the moment.”

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @FreepKing

Randall King

Randall King
Reporter

In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.

Movie preview

A Star is Born

Starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper

Opens Oct. 5

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