Lady Gaga has been widely tipped for Oscars success for her performance in A Star Is Born. However, the critically acclaimed movie ends with a heartbreaking final scene that, according to the musician herself, was an emotional experience to film. And Gaga has since revealed the tragic truth behind that moment.
Stefani Germanotta – better known as Lady Gaga – was born in Manhattan, New York, on March 28, 1986. And after time as an aspiring performer in her teens, Gaga chose to leave her place at the Tisch School of the Arts in order to focus on a career in music. The move paid off, too, as in 2007 the singer launched her debut album The Fame and became a star thanks to her singles “Just Dance” and “Poker Face.”
Gaga has since gone on to considerable success: she has won six Grammy Awards, for instance, as well as selling more than 27 million albums around the globe. But that’s not all; the singer-songwriter has also forged herself an acting career.
After small appearances in Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, Muppets Most Wanted and The Simpsons, Gaga joined the cast of American Horror Story for its fifth mini-series. She played the role of The Countess on the show before going on to portray Scathach, a witch, in its sixth season.
Gaga’s performance as The Countess even saw her win the Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film award at the 2016 Golden Globes. Then the singer was cast in A Star Is Born. Actor Bradley Cooper directed and also starred in the film, which is a remake of the 1937 original and follows other versions released in 1954 and 1976. Warning: spoilers about the plot lie ahead.
In the drama, Gaga portrays an aspiring singer named Ally. And, ultimately, Ally meets country music star Jackson Maine, who is impressed by her talent and wants to help launch her career. The pair then begin a relationship that grows turbulent as Ally becomes more successful and Jackson struggles with addiction.
And Gaga revealed that she hopes the movie will help to educate people about depression and addiction. In particular, she told Entertainment Weekly in August 2018 that she wants viewers to understand “that [addiction and depression] are real and that [they’re] invisible [illnesses] to many people.” She added, “I’m so grateful to have been a part of this film, you know, for that reason. And Bradley’s choice to do it in the way that he did it in the film – I feel that it paints a very, very compassionate lens.”
In fact, A Star Is Born sees Jackson’s alcohol addiction worsen and eventually reach a devastating conclusion. And in the last scene, Gaga’s character delivers an emotional singing tribute to the character. “That song is very special. And it’s a song that he writes for her, and it has a very tragic twist at the end,” she told Beats 1’s Zane Lowe in an interview released in October 2018.
That scene was also filmed at a meaningful Los Angeles location, Gaga added. “We shot it at The Shrine, which Bradley wanted to do as an homage to the Judy Garland version,” the star explained. Then, she revealed, there is a heartrending true story behind her powerful performance.
Sonja, one of Gaga’s friends, had been fighting cancer for many years. And it was while on set filming the final part of A Star Is Born that Gaga received a worrying phone call from someone she knew. “I could hear [Sonja] moaning in the background. And they said, ‘She’s not doing well,’” the actress recalled on Beats 1.
Gaga didn’t waste any time, either, before making a decision about what to do; she knew that she had to be with Sonja before it was too late. “I thought she was dying, so I left the set,” she explained on Beats 1. “I can’t believe I didn’t even stop to see [Cooper]. I just got in my car and started driving.”
However, Gaga became emotional as she revealed that she didn’t make it in time: Sonja had already passed away before she had arrived. “I missed her by ten minutes,” she continued on the radio show. The singer had then stayed with Sonja’s body and her family for some time. And, at first, she hadn’t known where to turn.
“I looked [Sonja’s] husband, her widower, in the eyes, and I said, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ And he said, ‘You’ve got to do what Sonja would want you to do,’” Gaga explained. Sonja had also been in the music industry, and so Gaga knew that her friend would have wanted her to keep going.
Gaga added, “[Sonja] gave me a tragic gift that day. And I took it with me, and I went back to set, and I sang that song for Jackson and for her. On that very same day, within an hour.” Gaga also remembered the moment that Cooper showed her what became the final frame of the movie and knew then that it was the take they’d use.
Gaga revealed, too, that Cooper had helped her get through the difficult day that her friend died. “[Cooper] was so beautiful with me that day,” she told Lowe on Beats 1. He was so loving. “He was like, ‘You don’t have to do [the scene] too many times. It’s okay, you don’t have to.’”
But Gaga had told Cooper in response, “All I want to do is sing, man. I just want to sing.” The musician added during her interview, “Life is hard, but we’ve got to stick together. What’s more important than any of this – the fame, the accolades – what’s important is the process of love and kindness.”
And after Gaga’s Beats 1 interview was released, several fans went online to praise her movie performance and revealed that the scene she had discussed had left them in tears. “I bawled my eyes out during the final song,” one person wrote on Facebook. Another individual had a similar response. “Just finished watching this wonderful movie, and I’m still crying,” they said.
Meanwhile, critics have praised the singer’s portrayal of Ally, which has been lauded as a “knockout” by Time magazine. Three of Gaga’s songs in the movie have since been submitted for Academy Award consideration, reports revealed in October 2018, while A Star Is Born itself has already earned more than $323 million at the worldwide box office.
Now, Gaga has begun work on her sixth LP; she is also preparing to start a two-year residency in Las Vegas in December 2018. But it’s clear that her time filming A Star Is Born has left an impact on her – especially when it comes to that poignant final scene.
“[Ally] becomes famous in the film, but a star is not born until the end,” Gaga said during her Beats 1 interview. “Because I think the star of this film is human courage. It’s bravery, and it’s inside both her and Jackson. I’m really honored and grateful and humble that I got to be a part of telling this story.”