method acting

No One Does a Press Tour Quite Like Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga Photo: Getty Images

When Lady Gaga stars in a movie, everyone knows about it. And what happens onscreen is only half the fun. A Lady Gaga press tour has become one of Hollywood’s most enthralling, chaotic, and (occasionally) excruciating spectacles.

If there were an Oscar for Best Actress in a Promoting Role, Gaga would have surely won for A Star Is Born in 2019. On the awards-season campaign trail, she and Bradley Cooper reignited the “showmance” as a promotion tool. (They walked so Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain could run.) No one in recent history has shown more finesse than after Gaga single-handedly turned “There can be 100 people in a room and 99 of them don’t believe in you, but all it takes is one!” into a meme and pop-cultural proverb.

Now we’re witnessing the return of the Gaga press tour in all its glory. Ms. Germanotta is on the Oscar hunt once again for her portrayal of Patrizia Reggiani in Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci. Reggiani, a glamorous Italian socialite, was convicted of arranging the murder of her former husband, Maurizio Gucci, played by Adam Driver, in 1995. Gaga’s awards-season press has centered on her increasingly elaborate Method acting stories. The promo tour has been more entertaining than the film—and seeing as HoG was described as “a glossy, glorious mess” and a “titillating, ridiculous, and utterly engrossing soap opera,” that’s really saying something.

Lady Gaga has always been an outlandish performer, and clearly an unforgettable interview is part of her act. She honed this art while promoting her music, dropping a different detail in every interview, from the provocative to the outright bizarre. (Who can forget Fame Monster–era Gaga explaining to a bewildered Barbara Walters what “bluffin’ with my muffin” meant?) In an era where movie promos in particular can feel staged, stale, and oddly manipulative, standing out without being annoying isn’t easy—just ask Will and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Are her farcical stories even true? Maybe not. But do we even care? Not really. Because when Gaga embarks on a press tour, the only certainty is that we’re about to be entertained.

When she “investigated” the insurrection

When Gaga spent the day working as a barista at Starbucks, it launched a million memes because it’s very hard to imagine her doing a “normal” job. “Stef” (as she’d likely be known) would probably stand by the office photocopier in her favorite sky-high stripper heels and wear the meat dress to “dress-down Fridays.” But what was Gaga’s plan B if she hadn’t become the triple threat she is today?

When she kicked off the HoG press tour, she revealed that very thing. “I would have been a combat journalist. That was one of my dreams,” she told British Vogue. “When I was at the Capitol, the day before the inauguration, I remember walking around and looking for evidence of the insurrection.” New January 6th Select Committee chair just dropped!

If she can save pop music, she can save democracy. Someone needs to tell Nancy Pelosi it’s not too late to let L. Gaga (D-NY)—a fellow Italian girl and RuPaul’s Drag Race guest judge alumna—take over the investigation. Pulitzer Prize era, incoming!

When she got lost in the art (literally)

Gaga takes the craft of acting very seriously, perhaps even more so than her musical performances — and if you’ve watched the seven-minute video for “Born This Way,’’ in which Mother Monster gives birth in space, or saw her arrive at the Grammys in an egg she’d been living in for three days — you’ll know that’s a high bar.

In HoG, Gaga has made no secret of the fact that Method acting was the key to portraying scorned Italian socialite Reggiani. She told British Vogue she spoke with an “Italian” accent for nine months and stayed in character for a year and a half. That’s, like, half a pandemic? (The new measurement of time.)

“It’s a becoming,” Gaga said. “I remember when we started filming, I knew I had become — and I knew that the greater challenge was going to be unbecoming.” Okay then.

By the end of the film, Gaga said she had “psychological difficulty” and even had a nurse on set, which sounds … a little concerning? After living and speaking as Reggiani on and off set, she ended up forgetting where she was: “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.” Thank goodness for Google Maps!

When she wrote a book

True Gaga fans know that she is Italian first, everything else second. In an interview with The Project, she revealed how her heritage influenced how she prepared to portray Reggiani. “I wrote an 80-page biography about her myself. And it was something that I worked on and I read all the time to just get the story, her backstory, inside of me,” she said. “Which is what I wanted to do for this movie. I think a lot of it is because I’m Italian.”

So not only is Gaga an actor, singer, dancer, jockstrap salesperson, Italian ambassador ,and inauguration investigator, but now she writes books too. (Move over, Carrie Bradshaw.) My main question is: What size font was this 80-page book really written in? And when can we buy it in hardback for the coffee table?

When she was “drinking” on the job

Lady Gaga is a phenomenon who dares to ask the question: What if a theater kid actually became a global superstar? And the Los Angeles TimesEnvelope Roundtable of Hollywood actresses reminded us of her inner nerd.

Joined by Kirsten Dunst, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Hudson, Kristen Stewart, and Penélope Cruz on the group video call—a.k.a. the “final boss” of awkward situations—Gaga posed a question: “Does anyone ever drink the prop drinks and actually feel drunk, even though they’re not real? I do!”

For a few seconds, none of the actresses knew what to say, each displaying a different pained face. Dunst eventually broke the heavy silence with laughter. The moment was ultimately endearing because Gaga was so clearly trying to impress lauded Zoom peers. Could it be that even Gaga has imposter syndrome?!

When she lived out every gay man’s teen fantasy

It wouldn’t be a Gaga press tour if she didn’t give the gays everything they want. But when she teamed up with everyone’s former teenage fantasy — the notoriously shower-shy Jake Gyllenhaal — for Variety’s Actors on Actors series, Gaga really became the human embodiment of that “Ally” meme. Resurrect the billboard!

Here, Gaga revealed herself to be a true stan. “I don’t want to lie and tell you I haven’t seen it so many times,” she told Gyllenhaal. “In the world of music, but in fashion as well, Donnie Darko, it’s religion. It really is. And if you know your shit, you know Donnie Darko.”

In the accompanying photos, the pair do have the distinct aura of “Hey, we saw you from across the bar and we’re really digging your vibe” around them. And at the photo shoot, Gaga was overheard saying, “Mommy and Daddy love each other,” and telling him, “Good job, honey.”

I think I need to lie down.

When she thought she killed someone

By now, we know Gaga takes her Method acting to the extreme. Still, it was a little shocking to hear her say that she actually thought she had killed someone.

This happened when Gaga drove to the actual location of Maurizio Gucci’s murder. Driving past the site of the shooting, Gaga said: “And I felt a pin drop in my stomach because I was so in my character, and I thought: ‘What have I done?’”

The Academy really needs to give this woman another Oscar quickly, before someone gets hurt!

When she became Lady of the Flies

Last year, Patrizia Reggiani said she was “annoyed” about Lady Gaga playing her in the movie, partly because Gaga hadn’t made an effort to get in touch with her beforehand. After famously sending an assassin after her former husband, could it be possible that Reggiani sought a far less extreme form of revenge on a fellow Italian girl?

Gaga seems to think so. In perhaps her most bizarre press-tour moment (so far), she told W magazine that, on the last day of filming, while she was still in character, a large swarm of flies began to follow her around. “I knew I had to say goodbye to Patrizia. 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.”

Reggiani hasn’t confirmed or denied that she sent the swarm, but maybe Gaga just needed to take a shower? Is this somehow Jake Gyllenhaal’s fault?

No One Does a Press Tour Quite Like Lady Gaga