Lady Gaga already had a leg up to play Patrizia Reggiani in House of Gucci because, if you haven’t heard, she’s Italian. Still, the star, born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, decided to go further — much further, in fact — for her portrayal of the Gucci-family interloper in the upcoming Ridley Scott crime drama. “I will be fully honest and transparent: I lived as her for a year and a half,” she told British Vogue in a new cover story. “And I spoke with an accent for nine months of that.” (A lot more on that accent in a second.) Gaga had a pretty philosophical take on her transformation, too. “It’s not an imitation, it’s a becoming,” she said. “I remember when we started filming, I knew I had become — and I knew that the greater challenge was going to be unbecoming.” Her methods caused “some silence and some disconnect” from the rest of her family while she was in character. “That’s my own journey as an artist that I still reckon with,” Gaga reflected.
About that much-dissected, instantly iconic accent: Gaga told the magazine it’s based on Vignola, the small Northern Italian city where Reggiani grew up, with dashes of Milan and Florence. “In the movie, you’ll hear that my accent is a little different depending on who I’m speaking to,” she added, waving away criticisms of shifts in her accent. (No word on the Russian comparisons, though.) Developing the accent prompted Gaga to plunge into character. “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.” She also said she picked up photography — not because Reggiani was also a photographer, but because, Gaga said, “I thought as an exercise, and finding her interests in life, that I would become a photographer.”
Gaga’s performance has already curried controversy with Reggiani, who alleged in an interview that the actor never reached out. For her part, Gaga said meeting the real person behind the character would have impacted her ability to do “justice” to the role. “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,” the actor explained. “Meaning that nobody was going to tell me who Patrizia Gucci was. Not even Patrizia Gucci.” Indeed, over the course of filming, Gaga said she “became fascinated” with the character — and specifically the murder of her husband (played by Adam Driver) that she ultimately hires hit men to carry out. “I think it requires a certain emotional quotient to be an actor,” she said. “The way I felt playing this character by the end, I realized that when you kill someone else, you really kill yourself.” Deep. See if all that comes across for yourself when House of Gucci hits theaters on November 24.