Speaking about her new film A Star Is Born at the Toronto Film Festival, pop icon and LGBTQ activist Lady Gaga said, “Behind every female icon is a gay man,” and “I really wouldn’t be here without the gay community.” The Lady Gaga gay community connection has always been at the forefront of her work: from her LGBTQ anthem “Born This Way” to her anti-bullying efforts through her Born This Way Foundation.
Gaga’s comments came during a Saturday evening press interview alongside her co-star and director Bradley Cooper. In the film Gaga plays Ally, an aspiring young singer whose career rises as she enters a romantic mentorship with an alcoholic has-been named Jackson Maine (Cooper).
A Star Is Born, a remake of the 1937 film of the same name (with additional remakes in 1954 and 1976), stars Gaga in her first leading film role.
When asked about how she began her career, Lady Gaga thanked her father for encouraging her to play the piano and thanked her gay fans for their support.
“I make a joke sometimes that behind every female icon is a gay man,” she says. “I really wouldn’t be here without the gay community and what they have taught me about love and acceptance and bravery.”
Video of the Lady Gaga gay community comment from the Toronto Film Festival:
— Variety (@Variety) September 9, 2018
In addition to the Lady Gaga gay community comment, she revealed that Cooper changed the script of A Star Is Born to have Ally and Jackson first meet in a drag bar after Gaga told him about the venues she performed in as a young performer in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
“I think one of the most beautiful moments in this film is when she walks through the tinsel and she hears him playing a song where he says the lyrics, ‘Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die’ to the drag queens as they’re sitting there,” she says. “And I’m thinking to myself, she’s falling in love with this man because she sees he has empathy, he has compassion, he has love, he’s a kind person.”
She continues, “It’s such a special moment in the film, and I also thought that he as a filmmaker executed it with perfect authenticity. I don’t feel for a second when I’m watching those scenes that I’m not in a real drag bar.”
Also, expect a few familiar faces in those scenes, as RuPaul’s Drag Race vets Willam and Shangela appear alongside Gaga and Cooper in the film.
The film is already receiving Oscar buzz as critics rave over Lady Gaga’s movie star turn. Variety’s Owen Gleiberman says it’s “a transcendent Hollywood movie,” The Wrap‘s Alonso Duralde says “Cooper and Lady Gaga are dynamite together” and The Hollywood Reporter‘s David Rooney calls the film “heartfelt and gutsy.”