The Jamie Lee Curtis Scene That Had a ‘Major Impact’ on Lady Gaga

Though Lady Gaga has only appeared a few times on-screen — American Horror Story, an Oscar-nominated turn in A Star Is Born, Sin City 2, etc.she aimed to be an actor before her music career took off. In discussion with Jamie Lee Curtis for Variety’s Actors on Actors, Lady Gaga talked about her yearning to be an actor and cited the sources of inspiration she has admired and continues to look toward as a performer. 

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga | Stuart C. Wilson / Stringer

Lady Gaga talks about Jamie Lee Curtis’ performance in ‘True Lies’ 

One of Jamie Lee Curtis’ most remembered film scenes is her striptease in True Lies — a dance number that was not rehearsed, as filming consisted solely of Curtis tapping into the character and moving as she saw fit on the spot. The number contains a great deal of gyrating and slow hip swirls, and bedposts are used as poles. Lady Gaga went on to compliment Curtis’ role in the movie, stating:

“I just have to say, you in your underwear dancing in that bedroom in True Lies was my favorite scene in a movie for a very long time.” 

Gaga | Variety’s Actors on Actors

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Curtis noted that on the same day she got the job, she called to find out how many weeks she had to prepare “before she had to do” it, and she only had approximately two. Gaga explained why the scene impacted her as a young woman, noting: 

“I’ll tell you, as a young woman, it made a major impact on me. Because, you were so strong and so sexy, but so not in a way that’s owned by men. It was so kind of fearless.” 

Gaga | Variety’s Actors on Actors

Jamie Lee Curtis on her iconic dance scene in ‘True Lies’

Curtis went on to explain that the movie was subject to backlash. She said it “took a big hit because it was manipulated by men.” Curtis argued that the character took full ownership of the moment, despite the fact that a man pushed it on her. She shared: 

“I think she took full ownership of it, and I loved watching her take full ownership.”

Curtis | Variety’s Actors on Actors

Curtis noted that, despite James Cameron’s many talents as a writer, director, editor, and producer, the man cannot “act and dance.”  She said that though “he loves actors” and “trusted” his belief in her, there was “no rehearsal” for the scene.” And he, and the other 100 people in the room, had no idea what was going to happen in that scene. So, Curtis just let it happen, and let the character “control it,” as she explained to Gaga.