Stanley Tucci on His Varied Roles: “I think ultimately people still don’t quite know what to do with me”

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Some Velvet Morning isn’t a movie for everyone, but anyone who is a fan of acting challenges will undoubtedly appreciate this two-person, one-set film starring Stanley Tucci and Alice Eve.  While I can’t say I loved the film when I saw it at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, I was still impressed by the range of emotions the two actors portray in its 82 minutes.  Tucci talked to Interview magazine about the challenges of the film and why he’s committed to taking on such varied roles in his career.

One might imagine that a film of this nature would be filled with improvised moments, but Tucci confesses that wasn’t the case.  He explains, “No improv, but we started cutting and shaping stuff from the get-go, when we did a two-day table read. We probably cut 10 pages at the table read alone. Then as we were rehearsing in the space for a short period of time and we blocked everything out, we’d shoot a scene and then he’d say, ‘Maybe we don’t need these two pages.’ Or, ‘Maybe this piece of dialogue would be better served in the previous scene.’  Or, ‘Let’s take this monologue and just use these lines in it.’ So it was always changing and a work in progress.”

Of course, shifting gears isn’t difficult for an actor who has starred in films ranging from The Lovely Bones to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire to Captain America: The First Avenger to Road to Perdition… just to name a few.  He admits that this variation is by design, saying, “It’s great, that’s exactly why you want to be an actor, to do all of that. To be able to play a role like this, in a film like this, then go do Hunger Games, manic, lunatic, flamboyant propaganda. It’s exciting.”

Part of that becomes from his refusal to be typecast during his early career.  He explains, “Early in my career, people wanted to pigeonhole me as the bad guy because I’m of Italian-American descent, which they often were when I started out. You have to fight against it. One of the things that helps is the ability to do comedy.”  He points to his comedic role in 2001’s America’s Sweethearts as an example of trying something new, recalling, “Eventually somebody gives you a chance to do something off the beaten track and then suddenly people see, ‘Oh, he can do this or that.’ I think ultimately people still don’t quite know what to do with me. [laughs] But I think that’s never going to change.”

 

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