Jessica Lange, at age 65, and after a four-decade career in film, TV and the stage, has become one of the most respected actresses in the entertainment industry. Lady Gaga, on the other hand, is just 28 years old and has been a well-known personality only since 2005 — almost exclusively for her music and her wacky wardrobe, and not her acting ability.
So when Jessica Lange was asked whether the chance to act alongside Lady Gaga — whose real name is Stephanie Germanotta — would be enough to lure the two-time Oscar winner back to the FX TV series American Horror Story, on which she has starred since 2011 with two Emmy Awards to show for it, her reaction was perhaps not too surprising.
On the other hand, celebrities have an unwritten rule requiring that they shower each other with public compliments, no matter how insincere, so perhaps it takes someone of Jessica Lange’s stature in the celebrity universe to say what she really feels — without ever actually saying it.
During a panel discussion at PaleyFest, an annual media convention in Los Angeles last weekend, Lange confirmed that she would be leaving the creepy cult-hit drama, and was extremely gracious toward the show’s staff and creators.
“I’ve had a great run here,” Lange said at the panel. “I have absolutely loved to play these four characters that I’ve had the opportunity to play. I love the writers, my actors, and (show co-creator) Ryan (Murphy), and the whole insanity of it.”
But one decision Murphy and his staff made that Lange clearly wasn’t thrilled with was their casting of Lady Gaga in Season Five of American Horror Story, or AHS as its fans refer to it.
The panel’s moderator may or may not have sensed Lange’s apparent lack of respect for her replacement when he asked her if she would relish the opportunity to act alongside the non-actress.
“Does Gaga convince you to stay for another season?” inquired moderator Tim Stack.
To which Lange replied primarily by going through a series of bodily contortions that left little doubt of her opinion of Lady Gaga’s abilities as an actress.
Meanwhile, the only words that Jessica Lange — who, herself, was just a model when she was picked by producer Dino De Laurentis to play the female lead in his 1976 remake of the 1933 classic King Kong — could muster were, “What does that mean? I don’t understand the question.”
Watch Jessica Lange reveal what she really thinks about Lady Gaga with some unmistakable body language, in the video clip from PaleyFest above.
[Images: Stuart C. Wilson/Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]