TORONTO — Lady Gaga says artists on the rise need compassion and kindness, and that fame changes the people around them more than the performers themselves.
The pop superstar made the comments at the Toronto International Film Festival while discussing her starring turn in "A Star is Born," in which she plays a struggling singer whose career takes off.
Bradley Cooper directs and co-stars as a seasoned musician who falls in love with Lady Gaga's insecure character, Ally, while battling demons of his own.
"I think that fame is very unnatural and we see that Jack is struggling in this film, there's substance abuse, there's trauma," Lady Gaga said Sunday.
"Ally also, I believe, for me, she suffered from depression at the beginning of the film, not believing in herself and I think that it's important that we guide artists and take care of them on a psychological level as they begin to rise because everything changes.
"And the truth is, people think that we change, but it's not us that changes — it's everyone around us that changes."
The pressures of fame are just one element of the classic tale, a remake of a love story that was also put on film in 1937, 1954, and 1976, when Barbra Streisand starred as the aspiring singer brimming with raw natural talent.
Rapturous reviews for the music-laden feature have vaulted Cooper's directorial debut as one of the hottest awards season contenders, with accolades pouring in for both romantic leads.
Co-stars Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle and Anthony Ramos, also at the press conference, heaped praise on Cooper for earning their trust on the ambitious production, which includes live performances and original music.
Lady Gaga, often referred to by co-stars by her real name Stefani Germanotta, also extolled Cooper's care in handling the story, and noted that he's proven himself to be a legitimate musical artist.
The "Born This Way" superstar has been candid about her own mental health issues, and has encouraged people to speak up if they're struggling.
When asked Sunday what responsibility managers, assistants and publicists have for the well-being of an artist, she implored that everyone take more care "with the human spirit," and not just for artists.
"Intervening early, teaching people about kindness, teaching people about compassion, teaching people about how to reach out and be there for someone — even when they don't even know that they're sad, it might be so deep that they can't even pinpoint it — I think that that's very important."
"A Star is Born" lands in theatres Oct. 5.