Stanley Tucci on Film Actors Doing Television Roles and Finding Jack Warner
“You’re a film actor, you’re a TV actor. To me, you’re an actor. Just act.” – Stanley Tucci
The television series Feud is about the legendary clash between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford while making the 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? One of the primary instigators in that feud was Warner Bros. studio head Jack L. Warner, who is played on the series by Stanley Tucci, an actor who has never been shy about doing both film and movie roles. In an interview with Vulture, Tucci talks about getting into character as Warner and also praises the new landscape of television that creates high-quality dramas like Feud.
Tucci says that the most helpful resource for getting into character was finding footage of Warner. He reveals, “There was some archival footage that I found of him on the internet that was the most helpful. I got to see how he moved, how he talked, how he laughed, all that stuff, and that was crucial. There’s stuff written about him, but the images and the video footage I found of him were really the most helpful.”
The actor also points out that cable and premium television has given creators the ability to tell stories in a longer format, which benefits actors by offering them great roles. He says, “The beauty of it is that television has changed, in a lot of ways, for the better. Not reality shows, I’m not talking about that. But stuff like this. Long-form stuff, all the different channels you have now and the accessibility with Netflix and FX and Amazon. It doesn’t have to fit into a movie, a two-hour time frame. It’s really wonderful. The roles can be really juicy for actors, and it’s just a really exciting time. There’s more work for everybody in front of the camera, behind the camera. It’s just, there’s nothing bad about it.”
In fact, though Tucci is probably better known for movies, his ample credits on television show he never aspired to be a “film only” actor. Tucci says it was the industry that categorized actors as a “movie” actor or a “TV” actor, explaining, “I never was a real believer in ‘Oh, I just want to do movies.’ A lot of times you just simply don’t have that choice, but a lot of times if the role is there, for a TV movie or whatever it is, you just do it. I mean, what’s the problem? Just do it. I think the business is much happier now than it ever was in that regard, because things were categorized: You’re a film actor, you’re a TV actor. To me, you’re an actor. Just act.”