EXCLUSIVE: Lady Gaga 'almost fell over' the first time she heard Bradley Cooper sing

Lady Gaga is already getting major Oscar buzz for her performance in A Star Is Born, which premieres at TIFF this Sunday. But her character, Ally, an aspiring singer with show-stopping potential, is far from the glamourous persona her fans have come to expect from their mother monster.

“We started from the ground up,” Gaga tells etalk in an exclusive interview, “taking off my makeup, dyeing my hair back to its natural colour and living like that for a while, and doing some acting workshops as well.”

Interestingly, Gaga drew more on her lack of experience than her popstar prowess to bring Ally to life. “I was able to detach myself and put myself there and really truly feel like I was walking on stage - and I had never done that before,” Gaga says, “I was able to do that because there were cameras and it was a movie, something different, a new experience.”

Putting herself in the moment and drawing upon the reality of what's happening is what Gaga needed to really put herself in the role and live out her dream. “I feel very blessed to be here. I'm just extremely grateful. I’m just a girl from New York that wanted to be an actress. It’s amazing.”

"I’m just a girl from New York that wanted to be an actress. It’s amazing."

A Star Is Born’s director, Bradley Cooper, who also stars in the film, never doubted his decision to cast Gaga in the role. “Life's a strange thing: I always knew I wanted to direct but I knew that until I got a point of view about a story I wanted to tell, I had no business getting behind the camera... I knew the epicentre of it had to be her.”

The connection and mutual admiration between these two remarkable talents was apparent from the moment they first met: “I was at a fundraiser that we were both at, and, then, she sang a song and I was completely blown away,” recounts Cooper. “And she was kind enough to come to her house and meet her the next day. And low and behold, I met this incredible human being as well as being an incredible artist.”

"I met this incredible human being as well as being an incredible artist.”

While at Gaga’s house, the two shared a moment that changed everything. “​When I heard him sing for the first time at my house I almost fell over,” says Gaga. “Because I thought to myself, 'This is the only actor in the world who can really play a rockstar'.”

But for Gaga, his acting (and singing) chops were just a part of what made the experience of making this movie so special: "What I think makes this movie so incredible and why Bradley is such an incredible director is that he created a family. We all love each other and trusted each other everyday.... We always had each other throughout this whole process.”

Stream etalk’s red carpet coverage of the A Star Is Born North American premiere on Twitter and Facebook on Sunday night.