Joker: Folie à Deux: Lady Gaga asked to be called ‘Lee’ on set, leading to a disconnect during filming

Joker 2, Lady Gaga, Joker: Folie à Deux, method acting

Method acting isn’t for everyone, but some derive a particular thrill from escaping into the personalities they play on screen. It’s a way to embody the character completely, surrendering to their will and whim within reason. Lady Gaga is a significant fan of the technique, as evidenced by the actress keeping her Italian accent while playing Patrizia Reggiani for Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci. She also stayed in character as Ally Maine for years leading up to 2018’s A Star is Born. While it’s possible to admire the dedication to playing a part, some find the practice frustrating and disruptive in the workplace. Take Lawrence Sher, for example, who’s the cinematographer for the Todd Phillips sequel Joker: Folie à Deux. During a recent podcast interview, Sher discussed feeling alienated by Gaga due to the star’s request to be called ‘Lee’ during filming.

“I didn’t know Stefani at all,” said Sher, referring to the pop superstar’s icon’s born name, “Stefani Germanotta.” “Strangely, I felt like I never even met her, even during the makeup/hair tests. Because again, maybe it was my philosophy of not trying to get in their space. And then I remember for a week, being like, god, I feel like we are disconnecting. Not even connecting. We are like on opposites. And I would say to my crew, ‘Jesus, I can’t, like, crack it. She either hates me or we hate each other. There’s something weird going on here.’ I barely said anything, except I would say, ‘Stefani, this is where your second team was, minor little things,’ and then the AD [assistant director] at one point said, ‘Oh you know, Stef would like if you just called her Lee on set.’ And I was like, oh, 100 percent, and I literally said, the next thing I said, was something ‘Lee,’ and it was like everything changed. From that point on, it was like she was… our whole connection changed. I was like, alright, cool.”

Asking people to call her ‘Lee,’ short for Harley, is one of Gaga’s ways of remaining in character even when cameras stop rolling. While a nickname doesn’t sound too harsh a request, even slight changes in perspective can alter relationship dynamics in unpredictable ways.

Joaquin Phoenix reprises his disturbing role as Arthur Fleck, a tortured comedian who transforms into a killer after being rejected by Gotham and its people. Lady Gaga plays Harley Quinn in the sequel, with a portion of the film taking place in Arkham Asylum, a fortified prison masquerading as a hospital for Gotham’s criminally insane population.

Other stars attached to Joker: Folie à Deux include Brendan GleesonCathrine Keener, Jacob Lofland, and Zazie Beetz, who reprises her role as Sophie Dumond from the original film.

What do you think about Lady Gaga’s request to be called ‘Lee’ on the Joker: Folie à Deux set? Is it a harmless byproduct of method acting or a disruptive distraction capable of generating unease in the workplace? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Joker: Folie à Deux will hit theaters on October 4, 2024.

Source: Lady Gaga Now

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.