“American Horror Story: Hotel” star Lady Gaga and Jamie Lee Curtis of “Scream Queens” discussed creating on-screen personas while maintaining their identities during the fourth season of Variety and PBS’ “Actors on Actors” series. Gaga had initially made a joke to Curtis about murder suspect Robert Durst from “The Jinx.” Turns out, Gaga studied Durst as part of the research for her role as 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.
The two-part fourth-season premiere of “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors” airs June 12 and June 19 on PBS SoCal. Presented by Shopbop/East Dane, the episodes will also be available to stream on Variety.com.