Some narratives just seem tailor-made for the screen! Such is the case with “House of Gucci,” the new Ridley Scott-directed drama that hit theaters last week. As suggested by the title of Sara Gay Forden’s 2000 book “The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed,” upon which the film is based, the true-crime tale has all the necessary elements of a gripping drama! Detailing the 1995 killing of luxury fashion brand heir Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) at the hands of his ex-wife, Patrizia Reggiani Martinelli (Lady Gaga), the premise is honestly stranger than fiction. Yet, somehow, it took Hollywood more than 25 years to take note!
Though former Gucci creative director Tom Ford, who had a front-row seat to the events surrounding the murder and knew all of the key players, alludes that quite a bit of the onscreen storyline is fabricated in his recent review for Air Mail, writing, “ As with most films based on a true story, facts are altered, characters are exaggerated, timelines warped,” the case’s main framework seems to have been largely kept intact. The sordid tale begins in 1972, the year Maurizio and Patrizia got married and began to enjoy what was by all accounts a whirlwind lifestyle, inhabiting a penthouse at New York’s luxe Olympic Tower, wining and dining with all the movers and the shakers of the day (including John and Jacqueline Kennedy), holidaying in St. Moritz and sailing on their 65-meter yacht, Creole. The press even took to calling Reggiani “Lady Gucci.”
But by 1983, things had soured and Maurizio ended the relationship rather unceremoniously two years later when he headed out for a purported business trip and enlisted a friend to break up with Patrizia on his behalf. The fashion mogul subsequently took up with model-turned-interior-designer Paolo Franchi, a longtime friend, moving her into his luxury Milan apartment, much to Reggiani’s chagrin. When talk turned to marrying Franchi, a deed that would have cut Patrizia’s alimony in half to $860,000 (an amount she equated to “a bowl of lentils”), she decided to take action, paying a hitman $300,000 to shoot her ex on March 27, 1995, a year after their divorce was finalized. A far cry from the perfect crime, it did not take long for authorities to zero in on Patrizia as the main suspect and she was arrested, along with four cohorts, on January 31, 1997.