Paramount Confirms Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein Movie Lands Music & Life Rights

Leonard Bernstein

Paramount Pictures and Amblin Partners made it official today what Deadline exclusively reported five days ago: That the Leonard Bernstein estate has granted music and life rights for the biopic about the legendary composer, a project which Bradley Cooper is prepping to direct, produce and star in.

Producers Fred Berner and Amy Durning have been working over the last decade to secure the West Side Story composer’s rights. Spotlight Oscar winner Josh Singer wrote the script, and Berner, Durning, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Emma Tillinger Koskoff and Kristie Macosko Krieger are producing alongside Cooper who will produce through his Joint Effort banner. Cooper is also working with the producers and Singer on the script.

Jamie, Alexander and Nina Bernstein said in a statement: “In our father’s centennial year celebration, we are delighted to form an exclusive and unprecedented partnership with Paramount Pictures, Amblin and this extraordinary group of filmmakers to create a Leonard Bernstein biographical film. They understand our father and are passionate about telling his story. We are proud to announce we are collaborating closely to help them achieve their vision and granting them unique access to his fascinating life story and his diverse body of music.

With a creative team that includes Bradley Cooper, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Josh Singer, Kristie Macosko Krieger and Emma Tillinger Koskoff — alongside producers Fred Berner and Amy Durning whose consistent passion has driven this project for nearly a decade — we think that even Leonard Bernstein himself would be impressed.”

Scorsese and his producing partner Tillinger Koskoff first became involved with the Bernstein family several years ago. Due to Scorsese’s busy production schedule and the need for some rewriting, Spielberg and Cooper became engaged with the project and reengaged the Bernstein Estate.

“We are thrilled and honored to have the official blessing of Leonard Bernstein’s estate to serve as exclusive stewards of his remarkable story,” said Wyck Godfrey, President of Paramount Motion Picture Group. “We are truly assembling a dream team of artists and filmmakers to bring Bernstein’s story to the screen and honor his incredible legacy. On top of Bernstein and his family’s exclusive rights in his life story, the addition of Bernstein’s original music ensures that we will be able to give audiences the full spectrum and experience of his unparalleled talent.”

“We are proud to join this great team to tell such an extraordinary story about such an extraordinary man,” said Jeff Small, president and Co-CEO, Amblin Partners. “We deeply appreciate the support of the Bernstein family and look forward to sharing their father’s many talents with audiences around the world.”

There is also a competing Bernstein project,  The American, which is set to start shooting in the fall with Jake Gyllenhaal starring, and Cary Joji Fukunaga directing off a script by Michael Mitnick based on Humphrey Burton’s  Leonard Bernstein biography. That movie is fully financed by BRON with Sierra/Affinity and Endeavor Content selling rights at Cannes.

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