In the film, which was released last week to mixed reviews, Leto plays Paolo Gucci, the one-time chief designer of the Italian fashion company.
Ford, who worked for Gucci between 1990 and 2004, condemned Leto’s take on the late fashion designer.
He said: “Paolo, whom I met on several occasions, was indeed eccentric and did some wacky things, but his overall demeanour was certainly not like the crazed and seemingly mentally challenged character of Leto’s performance.”
Ford – who directed the films A Single Man and Nocturnal Animals – added that Leto’s acting was “literally buried under latex prosthetics”.
He further said that the film was the “Saturday Night Live version” of the Gucci family.
As well as Leto, Ford also criticised Al Pacino’s performance as Aldo Gucci, the chairman of the fashion company for over three decades. He said: “Both performers are given license to be absolute hams – and not of the prosciutto variety.”
Having experienced the film’s events, Ford was also critical of its cartoonish nature, stating: “It was hard for me to see the humour and camp in something that was so bloody. In real life, none of it was camp. It was at times absurd, but ultimately it was tragic.”
While critical of the film, Ford praised the performances of Lady Gaga and Adam Driver and also said House of Gucci had “impeccable costumes, stunning sets, and beautiful cinematography”.
House of Gucci portrays the relationship between Maurizio Gucci and Patrizia Reggiani. It explores how Reggiani plotted Gucci’s assassination in 1995 while Ford was creative director of the iconic fashion label.
Ford appears briefly in the film, played by Reeve Carney.
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