Lady Gaga of “American Horror Story: Hotel” and Jamie Lee Curtis of “Scream Queens” are arguably some of the most famous new faces on TV. But fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be — at least not for Curtis, who told Gaga during their conversation for the fourth season of Variety and PBS’ “Actors on Actors” series, that it’s “isolating”. Surprisingly, Gaga agreed with the veteran actress.
“I don’t think I could think of a single thing that’s more isolating than being famous”, said Gaga.
But as Curtis pointed out, they both sought out fame. Well, actually, they both sought out the “art”, and fame was a side effect.
“It’s almost impossible for people even to probably look at my career and the things I’ve done and think, ‘Oh, she didn’t want [that] — of course she wanted to be famous, of course she wanted all that attention’. It’s just, creative expression is what I am and I would’ve been doing this whether I became famous or not”, said Gaga.
“I wouldn’t have given up to try to get famous in another way”, she added. “I wanted to get a job being creative and I did”.
The hardest part of fame for Gaga has been the disconnect between herself and the people she interacts with who hold unrealistic, if not false, expectations. She assured Curtis that she’s not extraordinary.
“It is very hard to not be able to engage with people in a real and honest way because they either want something from me or they see me as something that I simply am not”, she said. “I am not some goddess that dropped down from the sky to sing pop music, I am not some extra-incredible human person that needs to be told how wonderful they are all day and kissed”.
Gaga said she would love nothing more than to have normal exchanges with people instead of being adored and showered with selfies. Curtis echoed Gaga’s sentiments about self-portrait photos, which have effectively supplanted autographs.
“There’s some idea that that is some evidence that they have met you and taken a moment with you, taken digitally a moment”, said Curtis, who’s skeptical about being able to change the new fame culture surrounding artists.
But Gaga bet Curtis that they’ll soon be able to inspire the public to see that famous artists “are real people”.
Challenge accepted, Curtis said.
"If I’m playing a character at the same time as that, I also am that as well. It’s a quite difficult thing for me to answer because I’m entirely Stefani and I’m entirely Gaga, but I also was entirely the Countess”.
“Every day I would watch Robert Durst in ‘The Jinx’ and his wife Debrah Durst and I would sort of study the practical nature in which he was devious and evil,” she said. “He just has this extremely practical way of explaining how he’s going conceal the fact that he’s dumped a body in a river and kept it in his house and cut up his best friend”.
Durst informed the character of The Countess.
“If I was going to take a guy home and f— him and then eat him, I wouldn’t know exactly how to do that”, she added.
“Which order?” joked Curtis.
“Well I know which order I might have to do it in. Well, for The Countess though that order is debatable, right? Because she’s into that sort of necro-romance as well. But during that time, you know, I became a lot more wild and crazy and matter-of-fact about things. Who I am as an artist and person changed”, said Gaga.
But Gaga isn’t like The Countess, she reassured Curtis. However, that doesn’t mean that “Lady Gaga” isn’t, in part, a character. In fact, her audience and fans have played a role in that construction.
“What I am as Gaga really is, at this moment, what other people think Gaga is. It’s not necessarily what I am entirely”, she said. “Even if I feel like Gaga, meaning this stronger individual person of myself that I discovered being young in New York, loving music, meeting with young artists, working with musicians, with writers, studying this scene and being involved in the lifestyle”.
She started calling herself Gaga after others called her that. It was a nickname that she created for herself “at her best”.
“It is a bit of a creation, but I think actually, at this point now, it’s other people that have created, through what I have made, their perception of what Gaga is as a separate entity from me”, she said.
“What I am at any given moment is some sort of amalgamation of myself Stefani, the young Italian-American girl from New York that’s an actress and a songwriter and a rebel. Another part of me is what I’m creatively interested in at the time with music and how that culture and lifestyle and the art that arose out of that is influencing me as I’m sort of reading it and writing music”, said Gaga.
“If I’m playing a character at the same time as that, I also am that as well. So, I live a lifestyle of sort of endless, relentless love for making my work. And that in every way informs me as a person, all the time”, she added.
Lady Gaga has taken inspiration from many, but a certain role of Jamie Lee Curtis’ had a “major impact” on the singer and actress.
At Variety and PBS’ “Actors on Actors”, Lady Gaga said she was inspired by Curtis’ part in “True Lies”. Curtis gave her a bit of behind-the-scenes info: while “True Lies” director James Cameron has many talents, there’s a couple of things he can’t do.
“I will tell you this: Jim Cameron is a very talented man”, Curtis said. “He can do every job on a movie better than any crew person ever could do. There’s one thing that he cannot do, and that’s act and dance”.
Lady Gaga went on to describe the impact “True Lies” had on her, and said people often joke and ask her about her “American Horror Story: Hotel” sex scenes.
“I said, ‘You Know what? You try to do that. You try to have sex with someone you don’t know that well, or fake sex, in front of 30 people holding lights in a throng, covered in diamonds and a wig”, she said.