Ridley Scott Claps Back at Ungrateful Guccis: I Cast Italian Icon Al Pacino

Representation matters

Al Pacino as Aldo Gucci.
YouTube/MGM Studios/'House of Gucci'

For better or for worse, Ridley Scott’s new film House of Gucci is a major step forward for Italianx representation. Only it looks like some people in the community are not pleased with the results. Specifically, the family on whom the film — about the 1995 hit that Patrizia Reggiani took out on her ex-husband, fashion house heir Maurizio Gucci — is based.

“The production of the film did not bother 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,” the heirs in question said in a statement released on Monday. “This is extremely painful from a human point of view and an insult to the legacy on which the brand is built today.” The statement hinted that the family could take action “to protect the name, image and dignity of themselves and their loved ones,” which is just vague enough that it could imply anything from legal action to doing to Scott what Reggiani did to Maurizio, although it’s been reported that there are no plans to sue yet.

This statement is consistent with negative feelings that the Gucci family has previously expressed about the movie, which was released in November. In April, one of Maurizio’s second cousins Patrizia (not to be confused with Reggiani) told the Associated Press that the Guccis are “truly disappointed” that the people involved are “stealing the identity of a family to make a profit, to increase the income of the Hollywood system.”

She took particular issue with Al Pacino, who portrays her grandfather Aldo, chairman of the company from 1953 to 1986. “My grandfather was a very handsome man, like all the Guccis, and very tall, blue eyes and very elegant. He is being played by Al Pacino, who is not very tall already, and this photo shows him as fat, short, with sideburns, really ugly. Shameful, because he doesn’t resemble him at all,” said Patrizia.

Tom Ford, who is depicted in the film for his role as creative director of Gucci in the 1990s, was apparently also not the biggest fan of House of Gucci (a sentiment shared by basically everyone portrayed in the movie, so far). “I felt as though I had lived through a hurricane when I left the theater,” he wrote in a review for his friend Graydon Carter’s newsletter Air Mail. Ford panned Pacino and Jared Leto — the latter of whom plays Aldo’s son Paolo Gucci — comparing their performances to Saturday Night Live sketches and calling them “absolute hams — and not of the prosciutto variety” in the film. Oh, so it’s okay when he says that?

Scott, defending the honor of Pacino nearly eight months after Patrizia Gucci’s verbal assassination, said in a recent interview on the Total Film podcast: “[T]he people that were writing from the family to us at the onset were alarmingly insulting, saying that Al Pacino did not represent physically Aldo Gucci in any shape or form. And yet, frankly, how could they be better represented than by Al Pacino? Excuse me! You probably have the best actors in the world, you should be so fucking lucky.”

Hard to argue with that. It would certainly feel like a dream of some sort (probably “fever”) to be played by a bald-capped, latexed-to-death Leto, or even better, Lady Gaga, who spent so long in character as Patrizia Gucci that she more or less disassociated. Now that’s what I call honoring the community.