Four-time Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper (American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook and American Sniper) had a lot to lose when he not only decided to star in a new adaptation of the iconic love story A Star Is Born, but to co-write and direct the film too.
"If you'd said to me three years ago, 'You're at this stage in your career, now go make A Star Is Born for the fourth time, I'd think maybe that's not such a smart move," Bradley, 43, tells TV WEEK with a grin.
"But I had no reservations at all, because I felt like I had a point of view about this story and just knew it, deep down. That's what drove me all the way through it."
It didn't hurt that Bradley quickly found his leading lady after seeing her perform at a fundraiser in 2017.
Although Grammy-winning pop star Lady Gaga had only limited acting experience from her Golden Globe- winning turn in the TV series American Horror Story: Hotel, he was sure she could play the role and went to the 32-year-old's home to convince her.
"It was like a barter between us," Bradley recalls. "I entrusted myself to her so I'd be able to find my voice as a musician – and she trusted me enough to give herself to me in the process so she could flower as an actress."
In the film, Bradley plays Jackson Maine, a seasoned musician who is struggling with drugs and alcohol.
He comes across Ally (Lady Gaga), a waitress who has given up on her dream to become a successful singer.
After Jackson discovers her, she saves him – until his own demons threaten to bring them both down if he can't save himself.
"I guess it's just a great structure for a great love story that people can relate to, with one of them going up while the other is coming down," he reflects on the classic elements of the tale that has inspired three previous film versions.
"The beauty of this story is it has the structure to adapt to whatever period the movie is being made during. It lends itself to being rebooted in a fresh way every time."
Bradley not only co-wrote some of the film's songs with Lady Gaga, he agreed to her request to record all their performances live without lip-syncing.
"I went to see a Metallica concert seven years ago and got to be on the stage behind the drum kit," he says.
"I thought, 'People need to see what this looks like, because this is scope!'"
A Star Is Born is in cinemas October 18th.