After starting the 2000s as a supporting player in comedy movies, Bradley Cooper has spent the last decade transforming himself into a prestige movie director. His latest Oscar-chaser is Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro, and it turns out Cooper borrowed Christopher Nolan’s notorious dislike for chairs on the movie’s set.
Bradley Cooper told another of the best directors around, Spike Lee, about his no-chairs policy in an interview as part of Variety’s series of ‘Directors on Directors’ chats to celebrate the best movies of awards season. Cooper said he actively discourages people from sitting down while making his new movies. Sounds like a nightmare to us.
“I’ve always hated chairs, and I feel like your energy dips the minute you sit down in the chair,” he said. “So [an] apple box is a very nice way to sit and everybody’s together. There’s no video village, I hate that.”
Nolan’s dislike of chairs became infamous when Anne Hathaway commented in 2020 that the director doesn’t want actors sitting down on set if possible. The director quickly clarified through a spokesperson to IndieWire that Hathaway wasn’t strictly accurate and he doesn’t ban chairs from Christopher Nolan movies.
The legend of Nolan’s anti-chair position has continued, though, with Oppenheimer cast member Robert Downey Jr. using an interview with Variety to address the question. “We were doing screen tests on IMAX, which is crazy. You would go back and sit in your set chair — no, you wouldn’t, because there were no set chairs,” he said.
Whatever the truth of Nolan’s approach to chairs, Cooper has made his opinion clear. Maestro is his second movie as director and, if A Star is Born is anything to go by, it’s set to be another very impressive, music-infused drama.
Cooper is also taking on the lead role of Bernstein and, despite some controversy over his prosthetic nose, he’s hotly tipped to be listed among the best actors of the year when the Oscars come around. Presumably they’ll give him a chair to sit in at the awards show, whether he wants it or not.
Maestro is new on Netflix later in December and, if early reviews are anything to go by, it’s one of the best Netflix movies of the year. For more on its director and star, find out how Clint Eastwood inspired Bradley Cooper’s best movie with one decision.