This article has been updated with new information.
Back in November 2021, the filmmaker and former creative director of Gucci penned an essay critiquing Ridley Scott's take on the "tragic" events Ford witnessed, comparing the film to "watching a Saturday Night Live version of the tale" made with the kind of "subtlety" one would see on the "nighttime soap ‘Dynasty’... [just] with a much bigger budget."
“I often laughed out loud, but was I supposed to?," he pondered, after admitting that he wasn't sure what to think of the film, which revolves around the murder of Maurizio Gucci, his relationship with Patrizia Reggiani and the Gucci family's infighting for control over the luxury house. However, Ford did say that he "felt as though I had lived through a hurricane when I left the theater," before asking if it was "a farce or a gripping tale of greed?"
According to Ford, part of this appeared to be the result of a screenplay that catered to the "size and star power of the cast," which included Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani, Adam Driver as Maurizio Gucci, as well as Jared Leto, Al Pacino and Salma Hayek. As such, he felt like "some roles were expanded to simply attract and then to placate the stars" and, subsequently, subjected viewers to "pointless and sometimes confusing scenes that seem to exist solely for the purpose of allowing the leading actors to ‘act."
Ford also seemed to take particular issue with Al Pacino's Aldo Gucci and Leto's portrayal of Paolo Gucci, which "literally buried [his brilliance as an actor] under latex prosthetics."
"Both performers are given license to be absolute hams — and not of the prosciutto variety. They must have had fun," he said. "Paolo, whom I met on several occasions, was indeed eccentric and did some wacky things, but his overall demeanor was certainly not like the crazed and seemingly mentally challenged character of Leto’s performance."
Even so, Ford complimented the film's “impeccable costumes, stunning sets and beautiful cinematography,” while also expressing admiration for Gaga and Driver's performances, calling Mother Monster "the true star of the film." However, Ford also critiqued a moment in the film where he's supposedly entertained by Maurizio, saying that Maurizio had already "been bought out of the company by the time I assumed the position of creative director of Gucci and had my first hit collection."
"He certainly never toasted me after that show as he does in the film," Ford said, pointing out that, "movies have a way of becoming truth in people’s minds, an alternate reality that in time obliterates the reality of what was."
Because of this, the famed designer said it was difficult for him "to divorce reality from the glossy, heavily lacquered soap opera that [he] witnessed on-screen," especially as someone who knew “many of the other players in this saga," all of which made him "deeply sad for several days after watching 'House of Gucci.'"
"It was hard for me to see the humor and camp in something that was so bloody," Ford concluded. "In real life, none of it was camp. It was at times absurd, but ultimately it was tragic.”
Granted, Ford's essay paled in comparison to a heated statement issued by the Gucci family, in which they criticized the film not bothering to "consult the heirs before describing Aldo Gucci — president of the company for 30 years — and the members of the Gucci family as thugs, ignorant and insensitive to the world around them," per Variety.
They added, “This is extremely painful from a human point of view and an insult to the legacy on which the brand is built today."
Shortly after the Gucci family's statement, Scott responded to their "alarmingly insulting" comments in an interview with Total Film, calling their criticism of Pacino and Leto's performances before defending the film as "satire."
Photo via Getty / Axelle / Bauer-Griffin / FilmMagic
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