She bathed in the blood of unsuspecting victims as a vampire in the fifth season of American Horror Story and played a maniacal, gender-bending hitman in Machete Kills, but, as evidenced by a new clip from Laura Poitras’ latest documentary, Lady Gaga’s riskiest role yet might be rooted in the realm of nonfiction.
The Oscar-winning filmmaker has included footage of an amusing conversation between one of the internet’s most notorious figures and one of music’s leading influencers in her latest project, Risk, which enters limited theatrical release on Friday. The scene was captured during an October 2012 trip to London, where Gaga was promoting the release of her then-new fragrance Fame at the city’s famous Harrods department store. There, Gaga held a meeting with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who’d taken up residence in the Ecuadorian embassy as he awaited questioning by Swedish authorities, who were investigating allegations that he’d raped a woman and molested another in Stockholm in 2010.
“Who is after you, Mr. Assange?” Gaga asks as she sits across from him, filming the interaction with a camera of her own. He responds: “Formally, there are more than 12 United States intelligence organizations, investigative organizations… those include, most importantly, the FBI, the Department of Justice, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense and the subsets of the Department of Defense… “
“So, it’s a series of institutions?” Gaga cuts him off, and Assange goes on to identify even more entities on his tail. Gaga persists. “So, basically a whole bunch of f—ing people in America?” she continues.
Speaking on the scene, Poitras told The Daily Beast she thinks it’s “such a great moment,” adding: “I love the scene for its humor, I love the scene for its insight, for how surreal it is, and what it reveals about both of them.”
The pair’s conversation was reportedly facilitated by British rapper M.I.A., who seemingly persuaded Gaga to meet with Assange with a single tweet.
“if ur at harrods today, come visit Assange at the Ecuador embassy across the st. I’m there,” the “Paper Planes” performer wrote to Gaga nearly five years ago, concluding with a reference to two unreleased songs from the pop star’s Artpop sessions. “ill bring TEA and CAKE.”
Gaga, who spoke to Assange as he was under investigation for sexual assault, became a staunch advocate for rape survivors in subsequent years, eventually earning an Oscar nomination for writing the song “Til It Happens to You” for the soundtrack to the 2015 documentary The Hunting Ground, which chronicled rape culture on college campuses.
Watch a portion of Gaga and Assange’s exchange in the clip (a Rolling Stone exclusive) above.