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A Star is Born
Genre Romance

Drama

Created by Ifan Barber

Based on "A Star is Born" by William A. Wellman, Robert Carson, Dorothy Parker and Alan Campbell

Starring Margot Robbie

James McAvoy

Opening Theme "Hooray for Hollywood" performed by Doris Day
Location Los Angeles, CA
Country Of Origin USA
Number Of Episodes 3
Running Time 90 minutes
Original Channel: HBO
Original Air Date July 21st 2019 - August 4th 2019
Produced by HBO Studios
Directed by Ifan Barber
A Star is Born is a three-part miniseries that first aired on HBO on July 21st 2019. The It marks the fifth remake of the original 1937 film, after the 1954 musical, the 1976 rock musical, the 2013 Bollywood film Aashiqui 2, and the 2018 musical. It was directed by Ifan Barber and starred Margot Robbie and James McAvoy.

Synopsis

In 2014, the Hollywood landscape is tougher than ever to break into, but a chance meeting with acclaimed director Norman Maine (James McAvoy) spirals into a whirlwind career for aspiring star Esther Blanchett (Margot Robbie), as well as an equally fleeting and turbulent romance. In this new telling of the classic tale, A Star is Born is a story of love, loss and the price of fame in modern America.

Cast

  • Margot Robbie as Esther Blanchett
  • James McAvoy as Norman Maine
  • Sigourney Weaver as Victoria Blanchett
  • Diane Wiest as Helena Maine
  • Ted Danson as Maxwell Maine
  • Sarah Paulson as Dr Angela West
  • Kate Winslet as Mara
  • Emerald Fennell as Susan Addison
  • Patrick Wilson as Mack
  • Idris Elba as Christopher

Episodes

Episode Title Synopsis Airdate
1 A Star is Born After years of regional theatre and failed auditions, Esther Blanchett's luck changes for the better when she is noticed in a chance encounter with famed director Norman Maine. After casting her in his latest hit movie, he and the people around him soon learn he's found a star. He and Esther then begin to fall for each other as Esther's career begins to grow and they pursue a romantic relationship that coincides with their professional one, unbeknownst to Esther, however, is that Norman has a lifelong struggle with drugs and alcohol and his career is in a downwards spiral. July 21st 2019
2 A Star is Loved As Esther's career continues to grow, less and less producers are interested in working with Norman. While visiting Esther's family in Washington state, they decide to wed in secret. When they return to LA, they learn that Esther has been nominated for an Academy award for her performance in a commercially successful film, while Norman is snubbed for his latest production. He relapses in anger, and takes it out on both Esther and his manager, Christopher, who abruptly quits, but promises to continue to work with Esther if she wishes. Norman's parents soon arrive, angering him further to learn that Esther has betrayed his trust. Refusing to check into rehab, Norman locks himself away in their Beverly Hills home. Esther leaves LA for Prague to begin filming her next shoot, but promises to be back in LA for the awards ceremony. When she returns, a calmer Norman accompanies her to the ceremony, but after taking cocaine in the bathroom, he stumbles onto the stage and disrupts Esther's acceptance speech after she wins Best Actress. She forces him to check into rehab the next morning. When Esther decides to visit her mother in Washington, she is hounded by Paparazzi and faints on the sidewalk. July 28th 2019
3 A Star is Lost Esther discovers she has miscarried a child she didn't even know she was pregnant with, but decides to withhold this information from a disgraced Norman, who is in Palm Springs at rehab. As time passes, Esther continues to work, now on both television and film. She earns multiple awards for her work, but is seemingly distancing herself from her husband. She returns home one day to find Norman back in Los Angeles. They embrace and Norman apologises. They spend their first night together in months. Norman, who has been cut off from the world for weeks, logs onto his computer during a sleepless night and discovers the negative press he has received over his behaviour towards Esther at the Academy awards. As weeks and months go by, Norman develops a script and hopes Esther can help him get it made. She takes it to her friend and producer, Mack, who rejects it, branding Norman as box office poison. She refrains from telling Norman this, but instead tells Christopher, who is still her manager. Esther is offered a role in a movie directed by British director Susan Addison, but the production is happening in London, the first time she'd leave LA without Norman since their reconciliation. Before she leaves, she confides in Norman about how much she cares about him, and how she is ready to take a break from acting so she can spend time with him when she returns from London. A few days after she departs, Christopher pays Norman a visit, and tells him how he's holding Esther back, Norman then learns of the fate of his script and how Mack and other producers have branded him box office poison for his antics in the past and his prior treatment of Esther, who Christopher describes as "The Star born to him (Norman)". When Christopher leaves, Norman breaks down and trashes the house, before grabbing a knife and heading to the bathroom, running a bath for himself. Meanwhile, in London, Esther discovers from her doctor that she is pregnant again, and that the child is developed enough and healthy enough that she can make the news public if she so wishes. She decides to take a break from filming and head back to Los Angeles to tell Norman the good news. When she arrives at the house, she finds water running down the staircase, she frantically bangs down the bathroom door and finds and unconscious Norman in the blood-filled bath, his wrists slit vertically. Some time passes, and Esther discovers a letter from Norman apologising for everything he's done, and how it's best for her if he leaves her forever, as it's what Christopher thinks is best. When Christopher arrives, Esther fires him on the spot. In a sequence that takes place on the first anniversary of Christopher's death, Esther is shown arriving at a memorial in Hollywood, she does a speech and concludes by stating that she will always and forever be "Mrs Esther Maine", and her mother then comes out with a child, who Esther introduces as a boy, Norman. August 4th 2019

Production

HBO announced they would be adapting A Star is Born in 2014, but the project was delayed indefinitely. The project then entered official pre-production in early 2017, despite a motion picture adaptation also being in production at the time. HBO confirmed that the series would not be a musical, and would borrow aspects instead from the original 1937 film. In May 2017, it was confirmed that Margot Robbie and James McAvoy had been cast in the leading roles, with Sarah Paulson, Diane Wiest, Sigourney Weaver, Ted Danson and Idris Elba appearing in supporting roles. Later, Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson and Emerald Fennell were cast in minor roles. Production on the series wrapped in November 2017, with HBO originally aiming for a Fall 2018 release date, however this was pushed back when the movie of the same name's release was finalised for the same time.

Reception

A Star is Born was met with generally favourable reviews from critics and viewers alike. It was HBO's highest rated debut of 2019. It has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 84% based on 26 reviews. At the 2019 Television Academy's Emmy Awards, the series conquered the Limited Series categories, with Margot Robbie, James McAvoy, Diane Wiest and Idris Elba all taking home trophies in the acting categories, and Ifan Barber winning for writing and directing, the series itself also won Best Limited Series at the ceremony. The 2020 Golden Globes followed suit, with many accolades being awarded to the series.

Despite rumour in early 2020, HBO confirmed that a follow-up series would not be produced, and that A Star is Born was always intended to be a stand-alone feature on the network.

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