Her birth certificate might say Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, but most of us know her as Lady Gaga. The American singer, songwriter, and actress is known for her image reinventions and musical versatility — and award-winning work on the big screen, of course. She is one of the world’s best-selling music artists, with accolades including 13 Grammys, two Golden Globes, 18 MTV Video Music Awards, recognition as Billboard’s Artist of the Year, and more. Even before news broke that she’ll soon be on the silver screen as an infamous comic-book character, folks were already envisioning Gaga as the iconic Harley Quinn.
For those not up to speed, Harley Quinn is a DC Comics character who first appeared as a henchwoman for Batman’s supervillain, the Joker. She became a recurring character within the DC Animated Universe as the Joker’s sidekick and love interest, and was later adapted into DC Comics’ Batman comic book canon. Harley’s origin story features her as a former psychiatrist in Gotham named Dr. Harleen Quinzel, who ultimately falls in love with the Joker, her patient, and eventually becomes his accomplice and lover.
We last saw Gaga perform at the Oscars earlier this year. Then, heads turned, and the internet buzzed once those Gaga photos from the Joker: Folie à Deux set dropped. And as the filmwraps production, we took a closer look at why Gaga would be a perfect Harley. See below for our list of reasons.
Gaga’s History of Playing Eccentric Characters
From American Horror Story: Hotel to House of Gucci, Gaga is no stranger to personas that require the same amount of zany energy as oddballs like Harley Quinn. Gaga portrayed self-styled Countess and carrier of a blood virus in the fifth season of Ryan Murphy’s hit FX serie. In Hotel, Gaga also plays the re-enacted Scáthach, a wicked ancient witch, in the in-universe documentary “My Roanoke Nightmare” in the sixth season, Roanoke. Gaga’s role as “The Countess” was divisive amongst fans and critics alike, who either praised her or compared to Jessica Lange, who left the series the previous year. There’s no denying, however, that Gaga’s turn as head-spinning and just the kind of prep work needed before taking on Harley Quinn in Todd Phillips’ next Joker film with Joaquin Phoenix.
Then, there was Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci, another divisive film, to say the least. The plot is inspired by the shocking true story of the family behind the Italian fashion empire. We watch as Patrizia Reggiani (Gaga), an outsider from humble beginnings, marries into the Gucci family with unbridled ambition that begins to unravel the family legacy and triggers a reckless spiral of betrayal, decadence, revenge — and murder. Jared Leto may have gotten a Razzie nod for his controversial approach to his assigned Gucci persona, but Gaga steals every scene she’s in as the lead actress in this high-profile project. She’s a dominating on-screen presence that perfectly aligns with the attention-stealing Harley Quinn.
Triple Threat (Acting, Singing, Dancing)
As showcased in A Star Is Born, Gaga can carry a film with simply her acting alone — regardless of her musical talents. Bradley Cooper’s Oscar-winning 2018 remake of the classic story follows seasoned musician Jackson Maine (Cooper) as he discovers — and falls in love with — struggling artist Ally (Gaga). In the film, Ally has just about given up on her dream to make it big as a singer; that is, until Jackson coaxes her into the spotlight. But even as Ally’s career takes off, the personal side of their relationship is breaking down, as Jackson fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons.
“I still feel Ally inside of me,” Gaga once told Billboard amid the film’s release. “I wonder how long she’ll stay. Or if she’ll be in there forever.” Either way, A Star Is Born will be remembered for generations to come and cemented Gaga’s place in Hollywood as a leading lady. We already knew she could sing and perform, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for her beyond Joker: Folie a Deux. Those familiar with past Harley Quinn performances (Margot Robbie, for instance) know that she’s a character that requires utter commitment. And with Gaga’s triple-threat chops, we can rest easy that she’ll nail it.
Fearless Stage and Screen Presence
Gaga has called herself a perfectionist when it comes to her elaborate shows. Critics have analyzed her musical and performance style over the years, as she has boldly experimented with new ideas and images throughout her career. She combines a variety of music genres and has also branched out into jazz and other non-pop musical genres.
Gaga been regarded as one of the greatest living musical performers by high-profile publications and magazines. Remember her blood-soaked performance of “Paparazzi” at the 2009 MTV VMAs? That was quite the spectacle, to put it mildly. Then, two years later at the VMAs, Gaga appeared in drag as a male alter ego and delivered an edgy monologue before her musical number. Knowing Harley Quinn’s violent track record, Gaga’s boundary-pushing style seems to be the perfect fit for the role.
They Both Dress to Kill
As seen in comics and on film, Harley Quinn’s outfits are unforgettable. And now, enter Gaga, who is huge into fashion and says it’s a major influence on her artistic work. She has said she was really into Cher’s unique fashion sense growing up, and Gaga also considers designer Donatella Versace her muse.
It’s also interesting to note that Gaga was influenced by Princess Diana (via MTV). Lady Di pushed the boundaries in her royal position before her death, and her fashion sense is still remembered across the globe. Gaga dresses to kill, both in real life and in her past film projects. So it’s no surprise she was handed the reins of Harley Quinn, and we don’t doubt that she’ll bring a unique spin to the role. The Joker: Folie à Deux on-set pics we’ve seen thus far are evidence enough!