From Adam Driver to Al Pacino, House of Gucci comes in with an overload of celebs. But no star shines brighter than Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga, whose mere presence in the film has started whispers of a Best Actress Oscar campaign. Although she may be primarily known as a singer, Gaga took her role in the movie very seriously. Case in point: In a new interview, Lady Gaga said she used her House of Gucci accent for nine months straight as part of the method acting routine.
“Method acting” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot without explanation, but the easiest way to think about it is that the actor attempts to inhabit the skin of the character they play. Some actors will keep that character mindset between takes, refusing to engage with real-world people at all. Some will put the character “on” as they do their costumes, maintaining their performance as long as they are dressed. But some actors will go all the way in, wholly committing and taking it full throttle, living as their character 24/7 for the duration of filming.
In Gaga’s case, she did the full deep dive in taking on the role of Patrizia Reggiani. Speaking to British Vogue, she said, “I lived as her for a year and a half. And I spoke with an accent for nine months of that. Off-camera, [too]. I never broke. I stayed with her.”
Gaga’s commitment went so far, she found she had to lose her usual look: “It was nearly impossible for me to speak in the accent as a blonde. I instantly had to dye my hair.”
Gaga was also very dedicated to getting the Italian accent correct. “I started with a specific dialect from Vignola,” she told British Vogue. “Then I started to work in the higher class way of speaking that would have been more appropriate in places like Milan and Florence.” Fans will hopefully notice the specificity of her choices when they see the film.
But even though Gaga called the production and the role the “experience of a lifetime,” she’s seems profoundly aware that she’s glamorizing a woman who was convicted of hiring a hitman to kill her ex-husband. To that end, she didn’t let herself get too close, including refusing to meet with the real Reggiani, who is still alive and lives in Milan. Gaga said she felt she could only do the role justice if she came at it “with the eye of a curious woman” and with the spirit of journalism. “I wish not to glorify somebody that would commit murder,” she insisted. “But I do wish to pay respect to women throughout history who became experts at survival.”
House of Gucci debuts in theaters on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021.