Hollywood is abuzz with the newly released trailer for House of Gucci, an action-packed Ridley Scott biopic about the real-life saga of the Florentine fashion dynasty.
In her first major role since her Oscar-nominated lead in the 2018 remake of A Star is Born, Lady Gaga shines in every sequence in the two-minute sneak peek as she completely transforms into Patrizia Reggiani, the wife of the late Gucci heir Maurizio Gucci.
Fans labelled Gaga (born in NYC with Italian ancestry) an Oscar frontrunner for best actress – “give her the award now” they screamed – with many obsessing about her “exquisite” style in the movie: “Gucci looks incredible on Gaga.”
From the black curly wig and Italian accent, to the designer gowns and costume jewellery, Gaga nails the espresso-drinking, cigarette-smoking Reggiani, right down to the now-famous blessing herself scene: “Father, son, and the house of Gucci.”
Based on the 2001 book The House Of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed, by Sara Gay Forden, Gaga took to social media over the weekend – “Stasera”, she wrote – to signal the trailer’s release.
Filmed entirely on location in Italy, from the Alps to Rome’s Piazza di Spagna and Via Condotti over the past year, Gaga writes: “Love you Rid [Ridley Scott] and the whole cast and everyone in Italy who supported us filming during COVID.”
“Italy, you are the heart of me and my whole family.”
‘Kitschy, funny, tragic tragedy’
Set in 1995, the film is based on the Italian socialite Reggiani who, after marrying into the fashion empire, plotted to murder her husband Maurizio, played by Adam Driver (Star Wars, Marriage Story).
Reggiani, who was convicted and sentenced to the next 29 years in prison for hiring a hitman, was released in 2016 after serving 18 years. A year later she was awarded an annuity of more than $1.7 million.
Other big-name stars also play key roles, including Oscar-winning British actor Jeremy Irons as Rodolfo Gucci (Maurizio’s father), Al Pacino as Aldo Gucci (Maurizio’s brother) and a completely transformed Jared Leto playing the part of Paolo Gucci (Aldo’s son).
Speaking on location during a break in shooting, cinematographer Dariusz Wolski told The Film Stage: “This film, because it’s high fashion ’80s and ’90s, it’s going to be a little different.”
“The ’80s weren’t a particularly good-looking period. The fashion world or these fashion shows, they were not that great looking,” Wolski said.
“You look at the big coats and stuff and [go] hmm … so it’s a bit of a kitschy, funny, tragic tragedy – like a high-end soap opera.
“With a crazy cast as well.”
According to GQ Magazine, Gucci agreed for the production to access their archives for wardrobe and props, and allowed “the filming of a scene at its Rome, Via Condotti flagship store”.
In the first look scenes cut to a haunting version of Blondie’s iconic 1980s Heart of Glass, Gaga is “exquisitely” decked out in Christian Dior goggles and a belted red ski suit in the Alps, walking down a Rome street in a pale brown mink coat – dripping in gold – and in a white fur hat complete with designer necklaces and chunky bracelets.
The early scenes reveal “a mixture of vintage and contemporary ready-to-wear fashion from designers such as Sandro, Max Mara and Burberry,” according to CNN.
Forden, whose reporting for Women’s Wear Daily in the 1980s formed the genesis of the book, explains the Gucci story was one “where life is stranger than fiction” in a May interview with GQ’s Rachel Tashjian,.
“And I often thought if I had tried to write a novel and put all these elements in, nobody would have found it believable,” Forden said.
Reggiani and Gucci became one of Italy’s first and most beloved celebrity couples in the 1970s and ’80s, and his assassination became the scandal of the 1990s, CNN said.
“The story was just so sad,” Forden said.
“The company was going down, and Maurizio was forced out, and then he was murdered. And it was this story of angst and tragedy.”
It took until 1995 – as Tom Ford’s wild collection took off – that Gucci made its comeback. That’s when Forden knew she had a book to write.
“It was like this rise and fall, and the rise again,” she said.
The great-grandchildren of founder Guccio Gucci have expressed concern as to how the family and its legacy would be depicted in the marriage-and-murder flick back in April to The Associated Press.
One of Maurizio’s second cousins, Patrizia Gucci, is worried the film goes beyond the headline-grabbing true crime story and pries into the private lives of the Guccio Gucci heirs, AP reported.
“They are stealing the identity of a family to make a profit, to increase the income of the Hollywood system … Our family has an identity, privacy. We can talk about everything. But there is a borderline that cannot be crossed,” Patrizia said.
Their concerns stem from the casting of top actors to play family members whose stories intersect little with Maurizio Gucci’s murder, the lack of current contact with Scott’s production company and inaccuracies they see in the book on which the film is based, AP reported.
The film is set for release on November 24.