When Lady Gaga took on the role of Patrizia Reggiani in "House of Gucci," she looked to the animal kingdom for acting inspiration.
"In some techniques of acting, they call it 'using the animal,'" the Oscar-nominated actor and musician told the New York Times. "I used three different animals for Patrizia."
When the real-life Regianni married Maurizio Gucci, who was the grandson of Italian fashion designer Guccio Gucci, they became one of Italy's most high-profile couples. In 1998, the Italian socialite was convicted of hiring a hit man to kill her ex-husband — played by Adam Driver in the movie — and spent 16 years in prison.
"I began as a house cat, which has this kind of alluring quality but also can be a bit aloof, and I used that with her physicality," Lady Gaga said.
"Then she transforms when she sees Aldo (the former chairman of Gucci) embrace Maurizio. She thinks to herself, 'Maybe I can convince Maurizio to become closer with the family, be part of the family business," she said. "In that scene, I made the choice to transform from a cat into a fox."
That demeanor changed again in a scene where a Gucci lawyer comes to their daughter's school to serve Patrizia divorce papers. At that point, Lady Gaga said her character went from being a fox to a panther.
"It’s something that I worked on, studying the panther. What are the ways in which the panther seduces its prey? What are the ways in which the panther is slow before it pounces? What happens when the panther is so enraged with starvation and hunger that it goes into survival mode? I always felt like Patrizia was surviving her whole life," she said.
While Reggiani is still alive, Lady Gaga decided not to meet her during her research for the role. She opened up about the "psychological difficulty" of portraying Reggiani in the December issue of British Vogue.
"It is three years since I started working on it," she said, “and I will be fully honest and transparent: I lived as (Reggiani) for a year and a half. And I spoke with an accent for nine months of that."
"House of Gucci" hits theaters this Thanksgiving.