Lady Gaga Says 'A Star Is Born' Character Ally is Informed by Her Real Life in 'Elle' Cover Story

Ruth Hogben and Andrea Gelardin
Lady Gaga

In an interview for Elle magazine’s November cover story, Lady Gaga describes how inhabiting her A Star Is Born character Ally was both an extremely humbling and personal experience. “The character of Ally is informed by my life experience,” Gaga said. “But I also wanted to make sure that she was not me. It was a cadence of both.”

Gaga connected with her A Star Is Born co-star and director Bradley Cooper after performing at a benefit in 2016 and from the first time they sang together -- teaming up for a piano rendition of “Midnight Special” at Gaga’s house -- their chemistry was electric. 

“I hear Bradley’s voice and I just stopped playing and I said, ‘Oh my gosh Bradley, you can sing,’Gaga told Elle, “It’s incredible.”

Although singing on the movie’s soundtrack may have been a cinch for the music superstar, acting in the film provided Gaga with a new set of difficulties as she sailed into uncharted territory as a movie lead. In the first scene they filmed together, Gaga told Elle, Cooper surprised her by going off script. Gaga stuck to her scripted lines in a panic, and when Cooper asked if she was “okay,” she began to cry. 

But if you know anything about Lady Gaga, you know she's not one to back away from a challenge. This is the same woman who once stripped down to her underwear to get the attention of a group of boys at a jazz bar who would’t be quiet during her performance, back when she was still known as Stefani Germanotta.

Gaga told Elle that once she began to focus on A Star Is Born as a story, rather than a script, she was able to connect with it in an entirely different way.

Gaga highlights one scene in particular that really struck her. At the beginning of the movie, Jackson Maine (Cooper) sits in complete silence in his limousine after his alcohol- and drug-induced performance in front of a cheering crowd. “This is how I feel as a performer,” Gaga said. “That’s what it feels like when you go onstage and there are 20,000 people screaming… and then the show is over and there’s no sound. It’s emotional.”

At its core, A Star Is Born exposes how we deal with our inner demons and traumas; how we let them conquer us, or how we choose to overcome them. For Gaga, this is no different than her own experiences as an artist.

“For me, in music and acting, I’m always pulling from my past experiences, family dynamics, relationships, pain, happiness, joy,” Gaga said. “The roller coaster ride of my life — how that has kind of created this beautiful disco ball that’s somehow refracted and fractured.”

Read Gaga’s full interview here.