Buckle up for six months of Lady Gaga being extra
She has already revealed that she is a combat journalist who spoke in a Russian accent for nine months.
Lady Gaga is talented. That is a fact, whether you enjoy her or not. Lady Gaga is also undeniably extra. She is a special kind of star who seems as though she was born for the purpose of stardom, explicitly; to be the person who wins an Oscar and says dramatically from stage, “If you are at home, and you’re sitting on your couch, and you’re watching right now, all I have to say is this is hard work.” That is one of the most out of touch things I’ve heard uttered from a fancy awards podium that already hosts plenty of hyperbolic, self-aggrandizing statements, but for Gaga it works. That’s the magic of it all. She can make us all feel like abject commoners, and also like she was sent here on an explicit directive from God to entertain us. But one place where the thread starts to pull on the Faberge egg of Gaga’s fame is when she’s in the midst of a major publicity cycle for a big project. And with House of Gucci premiering this Thanksgiving, the madness has begun.
I first noticed this trend many moons ago. It was 2011, and Lady Gaga had in just a few years meteorically risen from New York City gay club phenomenon (my roommate came home squealing one night in 2009 after having ripped one of the geodes off of her costume during a performance of “Paparazzi” at a popular Manhattan dance hall, to which I responded, “Who tf is Lady Gaga?”) to “the most talked about entertainer in the world,” as Anderson Cooper put it at the beginning of his 60 Minutes segment with her at the time. In the interview, Gaga seemed to relish the opportunity to be this persona of fame manifested — the dawn of the real life version of her A Star Is Born moment.
At that point in her musical come up, she had a record six number one singles and was encouraging a thriving community of “little monsters” to embrace their weirdness, while being mobbed by inconsolable fans wherever she went. Cooper and Gaga take a tour of her pre-fame experience of New York. There are clips of her wild performances covered in fake blood, leather and rhinestones. At the end of the interview, Gaga presents an embellished tea cup and plops a fake diamond into it. As Cooper continues his buttoned-up style of questioning, Gaga gulps down the cup’s contents including the diamond. Cooper can’t help but break character, giving a fatherly laugh as he asks, “Do you have the diamond in your mouth now?” “Mhm,” she mumbles. As she spits the diamond out she utters what might have been a prophecy: “People take me both way too seriously, and not seriously enough.”
But long gone are the days of Gaga’s more irreverent, never know what she’s going to do, gay grunge muppet on acid-thing. She eventually graduated her sound and aesthetic to be more straightforward and trendy, like with 2016’s Joanne, and from there we also got show tunes and jazz standards Gaga as she single-handedly re-enlivened the career of elder icon, Tony Bennett. Gaga’s careful, upward-spiraling character was then primed for what many musicians aspire to, but rarely execute well — the crossover into acting.
For her first major movie role, Gaga’s portrayal of Ally from A Star is Born truly was a moving performance. But the press rollout that it summoned forth gave us a glimpse of another Gaga, the Gaga who really wanted this. The Gaga who was probably rehearsing Oscar speeches in private airplane bathrooms after telling the rest of the plane, “This could take a while.” The Gaga who might have communed with the spirit of Judy Garland in a forceful seance. The whole thing had a “You like me, you really like me,” kind of energy behind it—and the collective reaction to it can be summed up in this infamous brush with Leonardo DiCaprio as she accepted her first Golden Globe:
Hints of the flavor of Gaga we will be getting through what will be a relentless press push for House of Gucci, and into an Oscar-courting season, has arrived in her new interview with British Vogue. In the interview, Gaga details a grueling 18 months of method acting as Patrizia Reggiani, nine months of which she never broke her “Italian” accent on or off screen, straining family relationships in the process. Of her apparently carefully curtailed accent, which was much debated after the first trailer was released in July, she said, “I started with a specific dialect from Vignola, then I started to work in the higher class way of speaking that would have been more appropriate in places like Milan and Florence. ... In the movie, you’ll hear that my accent is a little different depending on who I’m speaking to.” That right there is a very, “I’ll have my second Oscar, and this time for acting please,” kind of statement.
Even better though is the cute suggestion by Gaga that refusing to meet with Reggiani, the woman whom she plays in the film who is still alive, made it an approach she describes as “the eye of a curious woman who was interested in possessing a journalistic spirit.” I can’t speak for all journalists, but it usually helps to interview your subject if they’re available. That’s the spirit of Lady Gaga though: she’s a star for the sake of being a star, and she makes her own rules. And if she wasn’t a star? Well, now we know the answer. “I would have been a combat journalist. That was one of my dreams. When I was at the Capitol, the day before the inauguration, I remember walking around and looking for evidence of the insurrection.” It is unclear if she turned over any clues to the Congressional committee investigating the insurrection, but maybe she could play Martha Gellhorn next? (But maybe no one mention that Nicole Kidman did it first.)