I Am Not Impressed With Actors Who Remain In Character
It would be more impressive if they had to switch back and forth.
This week, to ring in the 15th month of the House of Gucci promotional cycle, director Ridley Scott revealed that while shooting the film he completely forgot that his star Lady Gaga does not normally speak in an Italian accent. “Well, at first I forgot,” he told Vulture. “Because she was so in character every minute of the day I saw her. Even socially, she was right in character. So I thought, I think this has always been her. But it wasn’t. Similar to Jared Leto. He works in a very similar fashion. Once he goes in, it’s like he’s immersed, and he doesn’t come out and breathe for air until he’s finished.”
As we know, Lady Gaga lived as her character Patrizia Reggiani for a year and a half to prepare for the role (a process that also entailed studying “a house cat, a fox, and a panther” and “the way they seduced, the way that they hunted, the way they reproduced”) and of course remained in character throughout shooting. Jared Leto also has a long history of going full method. (I think I read somewhere that he allegedly murdered multiple innocent people to prepare for his role as the Joker).
Before I continue, let me just say that I think Lady Gaga is one of the only interesting people on the planet, and I consider it a privilege to listen to her speak in any accent, character, or state of consciousness. Everything I do in my life is a tribute to her. But unfortunately, I have an opinion that I am obligated to express as a gay guy with an inflated sense of self and an internet connection: I am not impressed with actors who remain in character throughout the filming of a movie.
To me, it would be a much more impressive feat of acting if Lady Gaga had to keep switching back and forth between her role as Patrizia and her role as herself, Lady Gaga. Imagine this: she has to do an emotionally demanding scene where she says, “I slaved over this pappardelle with porcini and parmigiano for you, and this is how you thank me?” while holding a bloody cheese grater.
Then, Ridley Scott yells “cut,” and she quickly has to film a front-facing Instagram video as herself to promote her Haus Laboratories cruelty-free liquid eyeliner. Or perhaps she has to record some new vocals for ARTPOP (Gaga’s version), a 10th anniversary re-release of her best album. After she’s done, it’s time for the next scene. She puts her giant fur back on and is immediately back in character. Scott yells “action,” and without missing a beat she nails her next line: “A Gucci woman is like mozzarella di bufala: hard on the outside, soft on the inside.” Now that would be impressive.