As she’s quick to remind, Lady Gaga is just an Italian-American girl from New York, but for her next movie part she’ll play one of the most infamous Italian criminal heiresses. According to Deadline, she’ll take on the role of Patrizia Gucci (né Patrizia Reggiani) in a Ridley Scott-directed film based on the rise and fall of the Gucci family. It will mark Gaga’s first acting project since her Academy Award-nominated role as Ally in A Star is Born. Notably, the part likely won’t give Gaga a chance to break out into musical numbers, but if done right, it may offer up some very, very high camp.
For those unaware, long before it became the quirky and charismatic fashion label it is today, the House of Gucci was founded back in 1921 by Guccio Gucci as a purveyor of leather horse saddles (that’s why horse-bit hardware is still a trademark of the company). Though, Gucci soon began expanding into other leather goods (notably bags) and by the time the brand opened boutiques in Milan and New York in the early ’50s, it had taken shape as a world renowned vendor of finery. Ready-to-wear would emerge shortly after.
The company remained under family control, but by the ’70s and ’80s, family infighting and mismanagement began to tarnish the brand. Guccio’s grandson Maurizio Gucci elbowed relatives out, and took control of the house. He had sold a share of the company to an investment firm in the late 90s, and by 1993 was forced to completely offload the family’s shares.
In 1995, Maurizio was shockingly gunned down on the steps of his office. Suspicions immediately turned to his fiery ex-wife Patrizia, who (fittingly for Lady Gaga) had come to be known as “Lady Gucci” in the press. In 1985, Maurizio allegedly told her he was going on a short business trip. He never came home, and took up with a younger woman. Though Patrizia was almost as incensed at his sale of the family company. It took two years before she was charged, but the impeding murder trial became a media circus in Italy, with Patrizia taking on the new nickname the “black widow.” She was eventually convicted of arranging the hit, and was released in 2016 after serving 18 years in prison.
Adding to the drama is the fact that Patrizia had a talent for slinging out the kind of one-liners that might come off as beyond camp, if they weren’t presented as fiction. When she was offered parole in 2011 on the condition of getting a job, she turned it down, replying, “I’ve never worked in my life and I’m certainly not going to start now.”
When asked once by a reporter why she hired a hitman and didn’t carry out the crime herself, she shot back, “My eyesight is not so good. I didn’t want to miss.”
Complicating the matter was the fact she had a brain tumor removed in 1992. Her two daughters with Maurizio have remained loyal to their mother, and claimed the procedure had affected her personality.
Meanwhile, after the sale of Gucci, the new owners appointed Tom Ford as creative director, saving the house’s reputation and kicking off one of the most legendary runs by a designer at any label in recent fashion memory. The company has taken measures to stay clear of any of the namesake family’s drama. Though, some still think that a pair of silver handcuffs, designed by Ford, served as a sly comment. Coincidentally or not, they were on display in the window of the company’s flagship store in Florence on the day of Patrizia’s conviction.
There’s no word on, exactly, when the film will see it’s release. Ridley is already attached to direct The Last Duel with Matt Damon, Adam Driver and Jodie Comer. Scott, however, is said to want to move quickly on this project. The film also hasn’t yet found a studio, but with the package of director and star, Deadline reports that several are interested.
Though, if you just can’t wait to immerse yourself in the real life tale, check out Sara Gay Forden’s book The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed. Screenwriter Roberto Bentivegna based his script on the non-fiction tome.