House of Gucci is out now and the reviews are, well, mixed…
Cartoon-y, too long, thrilling, boring, campy –they run the gamut… but there is no dispute that Lady Gaga is the stand-out star, featuring her very distinct, sort of Italian, sort of Slavic and VERY confounding accent.
Anna De Fina, professor and chair of the Georgetown University Italian Department, told The Cut,
“I sent the trailers to my colleagues in the Italian department, who are all — except for one — Italian. And the general reaction was the same I had, which is,
This is not an authentic Italian accent.
Italian is a language where every syllable, more or less, has the same duratio. So that’s why you have a sense of Italian being kind of melodic, kind of sing-songy.”
Mariapaola D’Imperio, professor in the department of linguistics at Rutgers University says,
“Until the Second World War, Italians didn’t speak Italian.
Just the dialects that we still speak. Standard Italian is something that was invented formally, let’s say, because journalists and actors have to have professional diction. It’s something people don’t use in everyday life.
Spoken Italian, D’Imperio says,
“will be different not only from region to region, but also from city to city. Even if it’s just 30 kilometers away.”
Italian varies from region to region, but D’Imperio and De Fina offered a few general pointers:
- To attempt an Italian inflection, you should keep all vowels in a sentence as they appear on paper; give them equal length and emphasis rather than flattening unstressed vowels to a generic “uh” sound.
- Do tack an “uh” sound onto the end of words that end in hard consonants. (Think “Roma” versus Rome.)
- Do not use contractions.
- Do trill any R sounds that appear in initial position using the tip of your tongue.
- When confronted with a word beginning with “H,” drop the letter entirely and lean gently on the vowel that follows: Happy becomes ’ep-py, for example.
Gaga told British Vogue,
“I started with a specific dialect from Vignola, then I started to work in the higher-class way of speaking that would have been more appropriate in places like Milan and Florence.
In the movie, you’ll hear that my accent is a little different depending on who I’m speaking to.”
Whatever you think of the end result, Gaga REALLY committed to the Method to play Patrizia Reggiani. She refined her accent over nine months during which she reportedly spoke exclusively as her version of Reggiani both on set and off. (The two never met or spoke in real life.)
Although a House of Gucci dialect coach told The Daily Beast that Gaga’s accent
“sounds more Russian.”
In this interview clip –uttering THE most memorable line ever on 60 Minutes– Patrizia puts the range of her Italian accent on full display. Compare Gaga’s imitation.
So, who DID get their accent right? D’Imperio says Jared Leto. De Fina agrees, saying that when he tells Adam Driver that he
“’picked-a rrrreal firecrrrrackerrrr-e.’
That’s exactly the way an Italian would say it.”
Although others have said he sounds more like the chef from Lady and the Tramp or a long-lost Mario Brother.
(via The Cut)