Kristen Stewart and Lady Gaga are currently basking in the success of their recently released movies Spencer and House of Gucci respectively. While Kristen essayed the role of the late Princess Diana in Spencer which traced her forlorn days before separating from her former husband Prince Charles, Gaga played the controversial Patricia Reggiani who was speculated to have orchestrated an attack on her former husband and owner of the fashion label Gucci, Maurizio Gucci.
In LA Times' The Envelope's Actress Roundtable that also had actresses Jennifer Hudson, Kirsten Dunst, Penelope Cruz and Tessa Thompson, Gaga and Stewart opened up about the challenges they faced to get into the skin of the character and how their prep session sometimes took a toll on their mental health.
Both Kristen Stewart and Lady Gaga were quipped on working hard to get the accent for their characters right. Lady Gaga, who spent six months speaking as her character Patricia Reggiani to get the nuances right said, "My process was very much: How do I get so inside of the accent that I can just completely forget about it? And then do all the work of the script analysis, so that when I get to set, I can throw all of that out the window and just be in the moment."
While Kristen Steward who had the mammoth task to get the intricate accent of Princess Diana correct said, "I think for me, I needed to be this kind of a live wire - as spontaneous as I possibly could. In all of my research, I felt like when [Diana] walks into a room, it just feels like the ground starts shaking. There's this tenuous, precarious, broken energy that is also contagious and sort of buzzy. I didn't maintain the accent in between takes, nor did I do it over the weekend. I feel fairly absurd unless the time is now, you know what I mean? So it was a slightly different approach, but I still felt like I needed it to be in my body to the extent that I didn't have to fixate on it."
Furthermore, talking about their prep session affecting their mental health, Lady Gaga said, "I really apologise that I'm so quiet, but I'm so fascinated listening to you...I'm always thinking when the movie's over and I'm a bag of bones going home, that there has to be this other way for me to tell stories without abandoning myself. I still feel like I have a lot to learn in that way. When I studied my character during COVID, I read and read and read so much and annihilated my script in a way where I was starving to understand this woman. I don't create a safe environment when I work. I chain-smoke cigarettes, and I'm writing tons of notes, and I'm working on all sorts of sense memory and personification. My therapist always tells me that I should try to work at 70% because I'm hurting myself. Hearing about you being with your loved ones and the way that you're able to balance your lives is a really important message for a lot of people."
Kristen Stewart called the entire process 'emotionally brutal'. She said, "Emotional brutality is a really good way of putting it...I used to think: "I need to f**k myself up so badly, or else it's not going to be real." Or: "I need to embed every personal memory and tie it to something in this character." But then I found that when I actually kind of chilled and stepped back, I was more present, honest and therefore more vulnerable. It was like this reverse discovery. If I don't try and smash my face through a plate glass window, I might actually be able to think of the scene. Also, it's just not sustainable. You smoke that many cigarettes, you're going down. Can't do that for so long."
Talking about their respective movies, House of Gucci also starred Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Al Pacino and others in pivotal roles. On the other hand, Spencer has been helmed by Pablo Larrain. It also stars Jack Farthing, Sally Hawkins and Amy Manson in important roles.
Worried about your mental well-being or of someone you know? Help is just a call away. Reach out to the nearest mental health specialist at COOJ Mental Health Foundation (COOJ)- 0832-2252525, Parivarthan- +91 7676 602 602, Connecting Trust- +91 992 200 1122/+91-992 200 4305 or Sahai- 080-25497777/ SAHAIHELPLINE@GMAIL.COM .