Based on Sara Gay Forden‘s 2001 nonfiction book The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed, the movie depicts the events leading up to the murder of Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver). Maurizio was the grandson of Guccio Gucci, who founded the fashion house in 1921.
After fighting with several members of his family for control of the company, Maurizio became chairman of Gucci in 1989. The business suffered under his control, however, and by 1993, the family had lost control of the company.
While Maurizio was working to gain control of Gucci, his personal life was unraveling. In 1985, he told his wife, Patrizia Reggiani (Gaga), that he wanted to end their marriage after 13 years. When the couple finalized their divorce in 1994, he was ordered to pay his ex nearly $1.5 million per year in alimony.
Maurizio planned to marry again, this time to his longtime girlfriend, Paola Franchi, but he never got the chance. In March 1995, he was gunned down at age 46 by a hitman while on his way to work in Milan, Italy. Three years later, Reggiani was convicted of hiring the hitman to carry out the murder. She served 16 years in prison for the crime, but she still maintains she was wrongfully convicted.
“I wanted to make a real person out of Patrizia, not a caricature,” Gaga said during an October interview with the Wall Street Journal, noting that she spent months working on her Italian accent. “I felt the best way to honor Maurizio and Italians was for my performance to be authentic, from the perspective of a woman. Not an Italian American woman, but an Italian woman.”
Despite the Grammy winner’s commitment to her performance, Reggiani isn’t thrilled about the upcoming film.
“I am rather annoyed at the fact that Lady Gaga is playing me in the new Ridley Scott film without having had the consideration and sensibility to come and meet me,” she told Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata in March. “It is not an economic question. I won’t get a cent from the film. It is a question of good sense and respect.”
The Gucci family isn’t happy either, telling the Associated Press in April that they are “truly disappointed” by the film. “They are stealing the identity of a family to make a profit, to increase the income of the Hollywood system,” Patrizia Gucci, one of Maurizio’s cousins, said at the time. “Our family has an identity, privacy. We can talk about everything, but there is a borderline that cannot be crossed.”
Meanwhile, Gaga and the rest of the cast are already generating Oscar buzz for their performances. The “Rain on Me” singer was previously nominated for Best Actress in 2019 for her role in A Star Is Born. (She won that year for Best Original Song.)
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