Lady Gaga criticizes her acting in The Sopranos. The world-famous pop star, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, has only had a few high-profile performances to date, though each one of them has been memorable. After a brief appearance in Men in Black 3 and slightly meatier roles in 2013’s Machete Kills and 2014’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, her breakout role came in season 5 of FX’s anthology American Horror Story.
Her first leading role in a feature film came alongside Bradley Cooper in the 2018 remake of A Star Is Born. Gaga’s performance as an up-and-coming singer-songwriter resulted in an Academy Award nomination for Actress in a Leading Role, though she ended up winning the Oscar for the film’s hit original song, “Shallow.” Gaga is now garnering Oscar buzz with another much-ballyhooed performance as Patrizia Reggiani alongside Adam Driver in House of Gucci, though some might be surprised to learn that her screen debut came in HBO’s hit drama The Sopranos in 2001, years before she acquired fame for her music.
Appearing on a recent episode of Entertainment Weekly’s Awardist podcast, the Oscar-nominated actress opened up about why she thinks her cameo in The Sopranos wasn’t her best work. Looking back on her brief scene now, Gaga notices numerous mistakes she made with that performance such as her inability to laugh genuinely on cue, saying she has “grown a lot as an actor.” Read what Gaga had to say below:
When I look back on that scene, I can see exactly what I did wrong in that scene. I didn’t know how to listen in a scene! I was supposed to laugh, and it was sort of like, cue, laugh… I see it and I go, “Oh, that’s not a real laugh!” I see a very non-specific actor [on ‘The Sopranos’]. And now I see myself as someone who is at least really striving to be specific without thinking about it, and that requires a lot of work ahead of time. The nuance and being specific as an actor is something that can grow over time if you’re willing to listen and really hear the other actor that you’re working with.
Gaga is officially credited as “Girl at Swimming Pool #2” for appearing in season 3, episode 9, of The Sopranos, “The Telltale Moozadell.” In the scene, Anthony Jr. (Robert Iler) and his friends break into their high school and vandalize the swimming pool, as Gaga’s character and a few other girls sit on the bleachers smoking. Though she has no spoken lines, Gaga is called upon to laugh a few times. While it doesn’t stand out as a horrible performance, it certainly isn’t the best of her career given her virtuoso performances in A Star Is Born and House of Gucci.
It’s an admirable trait and a healthy exercise for any artist or practitioner to be able to take a critical eye towards their past work, noting where they have improved and what areas need improvement. Gaga’s cameo on The Sopranos was her first appearance on screen and surely an important stepping stone to becoming the veritable star she is today. Her latest performance can be seen in House of Gucci now playing in theaters.