In the December issue of British Vogue, Lady Gaga finally let regular Italian-Americans like me (and her) in on her method of embodying Patrizia Gucci, née Reggiani, in Ridley Scott’s forthcoming House of Gucci. For those unfamiliar with fashion and contract killing history, Patrizia was the actually Italian ex-wife of Gucci heir Maurizio Gucci, who served prison time for putting out a hit that led to the death of her ex-husband in 1995. Glamorous!
After answering a Zoom call with writer Giles Hattersley in the middle of singing Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” (which sounds to me like a parody of something a pop star diva might do), Gaga said she went full method in order to achieve a cartoonish impression of an Italian woman from the ’70s (I also get a slight hint of an Eastern European lilt from the trailer). The real Patrizia is still alive and well in Milan, but Gaga couldn’t allow the existence of a real woman to fuck with her technique. She wants that Oscar Olivia Colman stole from her in 2019.
“It is three years since I started working on it,” she told Vogue, apparently with a Lohan-esque patois. “And I will be fully honest and transparent: I lived as her [Reggiani] for a year and a half. And I spoke with an accent for nine months of that… Off camera, too … I never broke.”
So committed was she to her method of embodying a 21st-century American lady doing a bit about Italians that she swapped out her light hair for dark brown locks. “It was nearly impossible for me to speak in the accent as a blonde. I instantly had to dye my hair, and I started to live in a way whereby anything that I looked at, anything that I touched, I started to take notice of where and when I could see money.”
This lifestyle drove her to total dissociation, apparently. “I had some psychological difficulty at one point towards the end of filming.I was either in my hotel room, living and speaking as Reggiani, or I was on set, living and speaking as her. I remember I went out into Italy one day with a hat on to take a walk. I hadn’t taken a walk in about two months and I panicked.”
Gaga does not offer any evidence that she made it back to her hotel room, with or without the hat. She says she “never broke,” but something seems irreparable.
Gaga explains the inconsistencies in her method acting to intentional craft work, saying that “in the movie, you’ll hear that my accent is a little different depending on who I’m speaking to.”
She also notes that after filming had wrapped, when she was in D.C. for Biden’s inauguration, she was scoping out potential terrorists. “I don’t know if people know this about me, but if I weren’t who I am today, I would have been a combat journalist,” she said. “That was one of my dreams. When I was at the Capitol, the day before the inauguration, I remember walking around and looking for evidence of the insurrection.”
I love camp as much as the next girl doing “Father, Son, and House of Gucci” gags to myself when I pass a church walking the dog, but I’m worried that seeing House of Gucci at this point might contradict my morality. It’s exploitative. Even though she thinks she’s out of it, Gaga still seems trapped in Patrizia’s body. Set her free (and someone set Tony Bennett free, too).