Before the two starred opposite each other in the Oscar-nominated biopic about the late composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, they met backstage at one of Mulligan’s stage plays.
“Carey was in a one-woman show, and I went backstage to meet her and realised something was not right and I insisted on taking her to the emergency room,” Cooper recalled during a Friday (26 January) appearance on The Graham Norton Show, according to People.
Mulligan, 38, explained that “during the show, a bit of set hit me on the head”.
“I carried on but when it was over, I started crying and thought I was a goner,” she said. “I was sobbing on the floor when Bradley turned up and, realising I wasn’t okay, he took me to hospital.”
She quipped: “You can imagine how delighted the nurse was!”
Directed by and starring Cooper, 49, as Leonard Bernstein, Maestro follows the conductor’s tumultuous relationship with his wife and actor Felicia Montealegre (Mulligan).
Ahead of the film’s September release, it faced early criticism over its trailer, which showed Cooper wearing a prosthetic nose “to amplify his resemblance” to the late Jewish conductor.
Bernstein’s children, however, quickly came out in defense of the actor, saying that Cooper had “included the three of us along every step of his amazing journey as he made his film about our father”.
“It happens to be true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose. Bradley chose to use make-up to amplify his resemblance, and we’re perfectly fine with that. We’re also certain that our dad would have been fine with it as well,” they said at the time.
“It breaks our hearts to see any misrepresentations or misunderstandings of his efforts.”
The critically acclaimed film has since landed seven nods at the 2024 Oscars, including Best Actor and Best Actress nominations for Cooper and Mulligan respectively.
“Cooper is effortlessly charming in a film that’s been making headlines for all the wrong reasons, and his co-star Carey Mulligan is magnificent,” Geoffrey Macnab wrote in his four-star review of the movie for The Independent.
Maestro is out now on Netflix.