Lady Gaga didn’t meet with Patrizia Reggiani before playing the notorious ex-wife of Maurizio Gucci in her new film House of Gucci, despite method acting as the Italian socialite for over nine months while filming.
Responding to criticism of her performance, and comments of concern from Patrizia Reggiani, Gaga told British Vogue in the latest December issue why she avoided meeting the woman she was portraying in the film.
“I only felt that I could truly do this story justice if I approached it with the eye of a curious woman who was interested in possessing a journalistic spirit so that I could read between the lines of what was happening in the film’s scenes,” Gaga explained. “Meaning that nobody was going to tell me who Patrizia Gucci was. Not even Patrizia Gucci.”
She also did not read the book that the film was based on, The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed by Sara Gay Forden.
“I did not want anything that had an opinion that would color my thinking in any way,” Gaga said about her decision to not read the story the film was based on.
Patrizia Reggiani said that she was offended and hurt that Gaga didn’t meet with her after being casted in the role, simply just out of respect.
“I am rather annoyed at the fact that Lady Gaga is playing me in the new Ridley Scott film without having had the consideration and sensibility to come and meet me,” she said back in March. “It is not an economic question. I won’t get a cent [from] the film. It is a question of good sense and respect.”
Instead, the actress and singer read the script and lived for nearly a year as her version of Patrizia Reggiani, the woman who served 18 years in prison for hiring a hit man to kill her husband, the grandson of the head of the Gucci family.
Lady Gaga did bizarre things while method acting as Reggiani, such as pretending to be a photographer and never breaking character.
“I have no evidence that Patrizia was a photographer, but I thought as an exercise, and finding her interests in life, that I would become a photographer,” Gaga told British Vogue. “So I took my point-and-shoot camera everywhere that I went. I noticed that Patrizia loved beautiful things. If something wasn’t beautiful, I deleted it.”
Gaga did not bring her fabricated interest in photography into the film however, but spent hours trying to match an Italian accent of someone in high society.
Many viewers worried that the film would be full of American actors talking “a-like-a-this,” British Vogue explained, but Gaga told reporters that she “started to work in the higher class way of speaking that would have been more appropriate in places like Milan and Florence,” instead of viewing tapes of how Reggiani spoke.
“It was the experience of a lifetime making this film because every minute of every day I thought of my ancestors in Italy, and what they had to do so that I could have a better life,” she said. “I just wanted to make them proud, which is why I made the decision to make the performance about a real woman and not about the idea of a bad woman.”
Gaga also reportedly suffered from “psychological difficulty” while dissociating as Patrizia Reggiani in House of Gucci, which also stars Adam Driver and Jared Leto.
“I was either in my hotel room, living and speaking as Reggiani, or I was on set, living and speaking as her,” she explained. “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. I thought I was on a movie set.”
Speaking out to Allegra and Alessandra, Patrizia Reggiani’s daughters, she told them that “wish[ed] nothing but peace for their hearts,” and that she did her “very best to play the truth.”