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Jack White, the former frontman of rock duo the White Stripes, was set to play the lead role in A Star Is Born, according to reports. In a new profile of Lady Gaga in Variety, White is identified as the mystery musician director Bradley Cooper fancied for the part, before stepping in himself, apparently following pressure from the studio.

After Clint Eastwood passed on the project at the start of this decade (having eyed Cooper and Beyonce for the leads), Cooper took it on as his directorial debut in 2014 and began looking for likely contenders to play grizzled country star Jackson Maine.

“I saw this other person that I wanted to do this, who is an actual musician,” he said. “But [the studio] wouldn’t make the movie with him.”

Variety then goes on to cite a “source with knowledge of the talks” who said that “Cooper had met with Jack White”.

White, now 43, has acted in films before, including Cold Mountain and Coffee and Cigarettes, though his last part was in 2007’s Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (as Elvis Presley).

Cooper has picked up considerable acclaim for his acting as well as his work behind the camera on the film, which is the current frontrunner for best picture at next year’s Oscars.

Cooper confirmed to Variety that he and Gaga were planning to perform the film’s breakout single, Shallow, at the ceremony in February.

“We talked about that actually,” he said, “because I’m such a maniac. I started texting her the whole pitch of how we should do it. So we’ll see. There might be a cool, unorthodox way we could perform it.”