Academy Award nominated actor Stanley Tucci can do it all: comedy, drama, musicals, you name it and he’ll excel at it. Coming fresh off his acclaimed performance in The Lovely Bones, he takes on a lighter role in the new comedy Easy A where he plays the father of a teenage girl who’s been named the school slut after she spreads a false lie about her sex life. He joins Patricia Clarkson, who plays his wife, to light up the screen as unconventional parents who steal every scene they’re in.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Tucci during the Los Angeles press day for the film and he spoke about his role and compared his real parenting technique to his alter ego’s. He also discussed his professional and personal relationship with Clarkson, and gave his stamp of approval to rising star Emma Stone. Check out the interview…
You and Patricia Clarkson play free-spirited parents in Easy A, are you like that in real life?
Stanley Tucci: I wish that Patty and I were both that relaxed but we’re not. We’re funny but we’re not — Patty doesn’t have kids but I have kids and she knows my kids very well. We’re constantly joking and constantly laughing with the kids but I’m not nearly that relaxed as a parent.
But you try to keep things normal?
ST: Yeah, I do, I do but we live a very kind of normal life. I live outside of the city in Westchester county. They go to public school. They’re never photographed. I never take them to any events.
Are your children’s friends intimidated to meet you?
ST: I think sometimes maybe the parents but not really. I don’t think so. Some kids have said certain things to them that they have mentioned to me. I think that they all think that we’re really rich or something which isn’t true. It’s a lovely thought. My kids are uncomfortable about it. They don’t want to bring attention, they don’t like it. It is uncomfortable when I’m in public with them and people coming up to me. They still will go ‘Do you know him?’ And I go, ‘No, no, no.’ and they go, ‘Oh, ’cause he saw you in a movie.’ In the last few years too in particular it’s very different.
How much of the material in Easy A was on the page, and how much was improvised?
ST: It was on the page and Will [Gluck]just enhanced it. It was funny, funny and smart. I remember reading it, I read it very quickly. Usually, you know, you pick them up and you’re like, ‘Ugh.’ I couldn’t put it down it was just so funny. And they said that they were asking Patty to do it too and I called Patty up and said ‘you’re going to have to read this. This is really funny. We have to make this movie.’
Can you talk about Emma Stone evolving as an actress because this is probably her biggest role.
ST: I think she’s incredible. I’d never seen her before, I’ll be honest with you and I think she is amazing. She’s wise beyond her years. She’s so self-composed and self-assured and I don’t know how you get like that when you’re 21 years old. I mean, I certainly wasn’t like that when I was 21.
How was it working under the direction of Will Gluck?
ST: He’s fantastic! He’s funny. He’s filled with energy, he can’t stay away from the actors he wants to move very quickly, which is what I love. There’s nothing more boring than making a movie when the person just sits there, watches from the monitor and then goes cut at the end of the take and goes ‘OK, let’s do another one.’ He’s right there, he’s just a ball of energy he’s great.
Over the past few years you’ve gotten to work with really talented actors including Meryl Streep. How is it working with an actress of her caliber?
ST: It’s great. I’m flattered that she’s sparked with me. It’s fantastic, it’s like a dream come true. I so admire her. I just think she’s incredible. She really can do anything. And she’s just such a good friend. We’ve only started to become friendly in the last 5 years or so since we did The Devil Wears Prada. We knew each other just peripherally through other friends and then we really became friendly.
What’s your criteria for choosing a role?
ST: There are all different reasons. Sometimes it’s the money, sometimes it’s the location, sometimes it’s the role, hopefully it’s all three but that doesn’t always happen. First and foremost really it’s the role. That’s the most important thing. And then, the script as a whole, and who’s directing it, and who else is in it. There are so many different reasons. Will it fit into the schedule? Is this something I can actually afford to do now? Do I really need money? Do I not need money?
If you could be on any TV show currently on air, what would it be?
ST: You know what show I’d love to be on? “30 Rock.” I really want to do that. I want it, it’s so goddamn funny.
The next film you have coming out is a musical called Burlesque with Cher and Christina Aguilera. How was it working on that?
ST: It was fun. It was really fun.
You play Cher’s stage manager?
ST: Her stage manager.They’re like best friends.
Is it going to be hot?
ST: I hope so. It’s sexy.
Will you dance?
ST: God no! Kristen Bell will.
What do you think of Christina Aguilera and her performance in the film?
ST: I think she’s a natural. I didn’t do that much with her, I had very little to do with her, most of my stuff was with Cher but Christina’s great.
Easy A opens in theaters everywhere on September 17th.