At this point, everybody who wanted to Bradley Cooper’s latest take on A Star Is Born has already seen it, meaning we all already know how the tragic end of this tragic story differs from the tragic end of all the previous versions of the tragic story, but it turns out that Cooper and the rest of the people behind this A Star Is Born considered a handful of other endings that they didn’t end up using. This comes from Variety, which quotes Warner Bros. chairman Toby Emmerich as saying that the initial draft of the remake script ended with Cooper’s Jackson Maine swimming out into the ocean to drown himself, which happens to be the same ending as the original A Star Is Born from 1937 and the 1954 remake. Once production began, though, the script being used ended with Jackson dying on an accident on a motorcycle (a slight twist on the end of the 1976 version).
During film, Cooper came up with the new ending used in the final film and pitched it to the studio, with Emmerich saying he “can’t imagine it ending any other way”—which is a funny quote, since we just referenced a few other specific ways this story has ended. Speaking of Cooper, he’s been attached to work on this project for a long time, going back to the days when Clint Eastwood was going to direct it with him and Beyoncé in the lead roles. The Variety story also reveals that, when Eastwood stepped down and Cooper replaced him as the director, he wanted to get a real musician to star in his place. He even had someone in mind who was approached to be the male lead, but the studio didn’t want him.
According to Variety’s sources, that real musician was Jack White, best known for playing karate expert Elvis Presley in Walk Hard. He was great in that ridiculous role, but maybe the studio had some understandable reservations about casting a guy in its big movie who was just great in a ridiculous role. Considering how successful the new A Star Has Born has been, maybe convincing Bradley Cooper to star instead of hiring karate Elvis was the right choice.