To film the "Shallow" sequence, Cooper packed the Greek, an outdoor venue in Los Angeles' Griffith Park, with about 2,000 of Lady Gaga's fans. So, basically, it was like being at a Gaga concert, Anthony Ramos, who plays Ally's best friend, told me at TIFF. Ramos' character Ramon works with Ally at a catering company and ditches the job with her to get on Jack's private plane and head to the show. When she goes on, he watches in awe. That's not a difficult emotion to conjure when you're watching Stefani Germanotta -- Gaga's real name, and the one Ramos sometimes drops.
"In short, was amazing," he says. "It was electric in there. People just wanted to see Stefani sing. It was wild to see. You see this group of people who want to see this woman win. They are like, 'Oh Gaga, Gaga,' but it's also as Ally, her character. She's getting up there and she's being this person. And they get to see her do this. It was dope to be in the wings and watch that and be a part of that."
In downtime from shooting, Lady Gaga came out and entertained the audience with her own songs. "Stefani performed like three songs on the piano acoustic for everybody. She went in and sang and killed it," Ramos remembers. Nelson and Promise of the Real also did some of their originals. "It's a nice bridge between all styles of music, and really making it more about the soul of music rather than the genre of music is a great theme for this movie," he says of the experience.
These interludes from Gaga were energizing, Ramos recalls. "That stuff is what keeps you going," he says. "That stuff is when it's like 2 in the morning on set and you're trying to go home and everyone is so tired, and then she gets on stage and she just crushes. You're like, yo, hold up. I got a second wind." In other words, you're ready to dive in.