5 Things You Didn’t Know About Those Drag Queen Cameos in ‘A Star Is Born’
This past weekend was a record-breaking one at the box office, as two films — Sony’s Venom and Warner Bros.’ A Star Is Born — ushered in the biggest October weekend of all time. While it’s no surprise to us, Little Monsters came out to the theaters in droves to support their “Mother Monster,” and the film has received glowing reviews for both Lady Gaga‘s performance and Bradley Cooper’s agile direction.
Those who have seen the film — the third time this particular story has been remade for the big screen — know that in addition to Gaga and Cooper, A Star Is Born also stars two individuals well-known within the LGBTQ community, thanks to their high-profile drag careers and their turns on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Famous queens Willam (Drag Race Season 4) and Shangela (Season 2, 3 and All Stars 3) were an absolute delight to see on the big screen. In fact, GQ magazine actually proclaimed, “The best part of A Star Is Born isn’t Lady Gaga … it’s the drag queens!”
But here are 5 things you may not know about those drag cameos in A Star Is Born:
1. The idea to have Bradley Cooper’s and Lady Gaga’s characters meet in a gay bar was the result of long conversations between the two stars.
During interviews at the Toronto Film Festival, Cooper said that the decision to begin the film in a gay drag bar was the result of long conversations between him, Lady Gaga and Eric Roth, one of Cooper’s script co-writers. “I would just ask [Gaga] tons of questions and listen back to it and try to take things and think, How can we mold this? And we really loved the drag bar idea,” Cooper says. “Once I met [Willam and Shangela] on set, the possibilities became endless of what we could do in this space. It was so exciting.”
2. Several famous drag queens initially auditioned for the roles of the film’s queens, but interestingly, Shangela wasn’t one of them.
Tons of drag queens reportedly came out of the woodwork to audition for the drag queen roles in A Star Is Born, and clearly Willam and Shangela were the two who made the cut. But things would have turned out much differently had Lady Gaga not personally stepped in and tinkered with the casting call.
The initial audition request for the drag queens of A Star Is Born was a look for a “dead icons night” at a drag bar, specifically Marilyn Monroe. (Willam has even shared an image of her audition look from that day on Instagram, which you’ll find below.)