AMY KAUFMAN, LA Times
Lady Gaga had been holding back.
Fifteen minutes into a conversation with five of her peers — Penélope Cruz, Kirsten Dunst, Jennifer Hudson, Kristen Stewart and Tessa Thompson — the performer had yet to speak unless spoken to. It was so unusual for her that she decided to interrupt the conversation to offer an explanation.
“I really apologize that I’m so quiet,” Gaga said, joining the actresses virtually from Las Vegas, where she was slated to go on stage for her residency later that evening. “But I’m so fascinated listening to you. I feel like I’m learning so much about all of you and the way that you approach your craft and the way your personal lives are interwoven into everything you do. I feel like being vulnerable for a second and sharing that.”
The “House of Gucci” star, 35, went on to describe herself as a “masochist” when she acts, “completely detached from real life.” She said she was opening up about her “totally unhealthy” process in the hope of both connecting with the others on The Envelope’s Actress Roundtable and seeking advice from women who have more film experience than she does.
Gaga’s role in “House of Gucci” is just her second major turn as a movie star, following her Oscar-nominated part in 2018’s “A Star Is Born.” In the new Ridley Scott film, she plays Patrizia Regianni, the real-life Italian whose stormy marriage to the head of Gucci nearly brought down the famous fashion house.
Compare her with Stewart, who at 31 has appeared in more than 50 films. The “Twilight” veteran, who began acting when she was 8, appears most recently as Princess Diana in “Spencer.” In the movie, Stewart depicts the late royal in the fragile final days before she separated from the Prince of Wales.
Dunst, too, has been in front of the camera since childhood. The 39-year-old began auditioning for commercials when she was just 3, spending her youth in films as varied as “Little Women,” “Interview With the Vampire” and “The Virgin Suicides.” Her latest role comes in “The Power of the Dog,” in which she plays a newlywed whose ornery brother-in-law refuses to welcome her to the family.
Hudson, who like Gaga began her career as a singer, pivoted to movies with her Academy Award-winning turn in 2006’s “Dreamgirls.” Now, the 40-year-old can be seen as Aretha Franklin in “Respect,” which follows the legendary soul artist from her church origins through alcoholism to global superstardom.
Thompson, 38, has been acting for the majority of her life but first made an impression on the industry in the 2014 Sundance hit “Dear White People.” Now a member of Marvel’s “Thor” franchise, she is still loyal to her independent roots with her new film “Passing.” Set in the 1920s, the movie is the story of a Black woman who realizes her old friend is passing through New York society as a white woman, causing her to reassess her own life choices.
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