House of Gucci ending explained: Writer breaks down recreating the real Gucci murder for Adam Driver
As Lady Gaga's Patrizia Reggiani tells us at the beginning of Ridley Scott's latest drama House of Gucci, the fashion label's namesake was a "curse" for all involved in the events leading up to the real-life murder that caps the film — but, as screenwriter Roberto Bentivegna tells EW, his retelling of the murder-for-hire plot was really an examination of two lives that ended that day.
"I thought it was a death, but it's actually two deaths," Bentivegna — who penned the script with Oscar-nominated Prince of Tides writer Becky Johnston — tells EW of the film's conclusion, which intercuts shots of business heir Maurizio Gucci's (Adam Driver) otherwise tranquil morning with images of Patrizia (Gaga) slowly submerging herself underwater. "When Patrizia knows that Maurizio is about to die, I think she dies a little bit inside, too. I always imagined it as an intercutting between those two moments: Maurizio being murdered and Patrizia in the bathtub, discovering what she'd done and not being able to turn back."
Bentivegna explains that it was Scott who made the "incredibly powerful" decision to use a serene instrumental score over shots of Maurizio drinking coffee, riding his bike through the streets of Milan to contrast the intensity of the couple's past relationship and the rigid moment a pair of assassins — contracted by Patrizia and her clairvoyant friend, Pina (Salma Hayek) — shoot him multiple times on the front steps of his office building.
Patrizia arranges Maurizio's murder after he leaves her for a childhood friend, Paola Franchi (Camille Cottin), severing her access to preserving (and controlling) his influence over the Gucci family's operation that gave them massive wealth, impeccable style, and unyielding power among Italian high society. For her role in Maurizio's death on the morning of March 27, 1995, the real Patrizia was ultimately sentenced to 29 years in prison, but she was released in October 2016 after serving 18 years.
When we cut back to her in the moments after Maurizio's death, she's out of the tub and writing in her diary, messily scribbling the word "paradiso" (Italian for "paradise") within its pages. The moment has dual meaning as well; Patrizia could be nodding to her ex-husband's soul ascending to another plane, or to reaching a waking state of peace now that she'd eliminated the source of her woes. An earlier scene that shows Patrizia and Pina discussing their solution while taking a mud bath at a spa emphasizes that it's probably the latter, as Bentivegna's version of Patrizia views the moment as the final battle in her crusade.
"That was an ad-lib," the writer says of the moment Gaga smears mud across Pina's shocked face. "It was like war paint. Genius!"
Scott's filmed ending was "pretty close" to what Bentivegna concocted in his head while he and Johnston wrote the script, with Driver and Gaga bringing an intangible "force" to the moment that further informed its emotional impact, as did other scenes he says the actors built on like a jazz musician riffing on a piece of great music.
"I'm flattered that actors improvise my script. I'm not precious about it," he says. "When Gaga came up with the 'Father, Son, House of Gucci,' [line], she's a genius."
House of Gucci — also starring Jared Leto, Al Pacino, Jack Huston, and Jeremy Irons — is now playing in theaters.
Lady Gaga and Adam Driver front Ridley Scott’s grim-and-glam retelling of Patrizia Reggiani’s orchestration of her fashion mogul ex-husband’s murder — and it’s all dressed in jaw-dropping costumes that’ll have you praying to the Father, Son, and House of Gucci.