It’s no secret that Lady Gaga’s experience filming House of Gucci was challenging, to say the least.
Gaga stars alongside Adam Driver in the acclaimed Ridley Scott film, which is based on the real-life story of Patrizia Reggiani, a famous fashion devotee who was convicted of arranging the murder of her husband, late Gucci head Maurizio Gucci, in 1995.
In the months ahead of the film’s release, Patrizia caused a stir after revealing she was “annoyed” that Gaga didn’t reach out to her before filming.
“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,” Patrizia told ANSA, an Italian wire service.
In response, Gaga insisted that she didn't feel she could do the role “justice” if under the influence of anyone’s opinions — including those of Patrizia herself.
“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 told British Vogue in December.
She continued, “Meaning that nobody was going to tell me who Patrizia Gucci was. Not even Patrizia Gucci.”
Now reflecting on the end of filming House of Gucci, Gaga recounted a very bizarre experience that she believes Patrizia might have had something to do with.
“On the last day of filming, I was on the balcony of my apartment in Rome, and I was blasting Dean Martin singing 'Mambo Italiano,'” Gaga told W Magazine.
“I had a cigarette hanging out of my mouth. I was Patrizia,” she explained, before going on to detail what she interpreted as a signal to break character.
“But I knew I had to say goodbye to her. Large swarms of flies kept following me around, and I truly began to believe that she had sent them. I was ready to let her go,” she said.
Well, regardless of the unusual experience — which, of course, clearly had nothing to do with Patrizia — Gaga's decision to break character certainly wouldn't have been taken lightly considering that she spent an extensive amount of time “living” as Patrizia.
Explaining how she adopted the approach of method acting to “become” the character, Gaga revealed back in December that she spent a year and a half “living and speaking” as Patrizia — both on and off camera.
“I will be fully honest and transparent: I lived as [Patrizia] for a year and a half. And I spoke with an accent for nine months of that. Off camera. I never broke. I stayed with her,” she told British Vogue.
Gaga revealed she made several changes to herself in order to fully embody Patrizia, including dyeing her hair dark “instantly,” which she credited as the “most important element.”
She told W Magazine, “The most important element in becoming Patrizia was dyeing my own hair brown. I couldn't be blonde with that Italian accent — I was still myself.”
The Oscar winner also told British Vogue last year that she felt having darker hair would help her better embody Patrizia's “interests” as well as articulate the Italian accent.
“It was nearly impossible for me to speak in the accent as a blonde,” she said. “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.
“I started to take photographs as well,” she went on. “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, 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’s dedicated method acting left her experiencing lasting mental hardships, which resulted in her seeking on-set help from a professional during production.
“I had some psychological difficulty at one point towards the end of filming,” she explained. “I was either in my hotel room, living and speaking as [Patrizia] 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... I thought I was on a movie set.”
Speaking with Variety, Gaga explained, “I had a psychiatric nurse with me towards the end of filming… I sort of felt like I had to. I felt that it was safer for me.”
What’s more, Gaga also previously recalled feeling disjointed from her family following her yearlong method acting approach, revealing there was “some silence and some disconnect for a while.”
“You end up sounding and looking like [the character], yes, but it’s not an imitation, it’s a becoming. I remember when we started filming, I knew I had become — and I knew that the greater challenge was going to be unbecoming,” she explained.