You know why Stanley Tucci is one of my absolute favorite talents in this industry? Yes, I do quite enjoy his mixology Instagram videos, but it’s because he’s absolutely oozing with talent, always brings 100% to his projects and has an extremely diverse filmography. Look at the last few months for instance. In late October I had the pleasure of chatting with Tucci for a new kid-friendly adaptation of The Witches and now we’re talking about one of the most moving movies I’ve seen in months that will hopefully get Tucci some well-deserved awards season recognition, Supernova.

Tucci and Colin Firth lead that film as Tusker and Sam, respectively. They’ve been in a loving relationship for 20 years, but when Tusker learns he has early-onset dementia, their time together becomes more precious than ever. We’ll share my full conversation with Tucci about his preparation for the role, what inspired him to bring Firth aboard and more when Supernova arrives on digital on February 16th, but while you wait, how about a clip from the conversation focusing on that wide-ranging filmography?

Stanley Tucci, Harry Macqueen and Colin Firth on the Set of Supernova
Image via StudioCanal

In addition to a mile-long list of acting credits, Tucci’s also directed five feature films. During our chat, I asked him if he found his director brain kicking in especially strong when deciding whether or not to sign on to any particular project as an actor. While discussing the matter, Tucci mentioned that he once passed on a directing offer, an especially interesting point given it would have been his first major Hollywood film. Here’s how he put it:

“Oh yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I can’t say which one particularly, but I know that that happens. And there are certain projects that you’re asked to do and you think, ‘Oh god, I wish I were directing this.’ And then sometimes you meet the director and you think, ‘Oh boy, I really wish I were directing this,’ you know? Because this person doesn’t know what they’re doing. [Laughs] Or, ‘My god, I never could have directed this! This person is amazing.’ There was one Hollywood movie that I was asked to do and I said, ‘I just don’t think that I know how to do that.’ And I won’t tell you what it was. I was asked by the star of the movie to do it. And then the movie ended up being very successful and somebody said to me, ‘See! It was so successful. Why didn’t you direct it? It was so good! Why didn’t you direct it?’ I said, ‘It was so good and successful because I didn’t direct it! That’s why!’ [Laughs] It doesn’t make any sense that someone would say that. But, to me, it’s good to have the eye of a director when you’re acting because it challenges the director. You’re able to ask all the right questions. You just have to make sure that you’re not annoying, because it’s not your movie.”

Tucci’s worked with a slew of very well known directors over the years, but one of the most curious of the bunch has to be Transformers helmer Michael Bay. He creates “Bay-hem” after all! Tucci once described working with Bay as “manic and frantic” so I opted to ask for the pros and cons of that kind of filming style. Here’s what Tucci said:

“The pro is you get a paycheck. You get a real paycheck, and that’s exciting. That’s always exciting. The pro is also you get to go to lots of different locations where you’d probably never go in your entire life – like Chicago. I’m kidding. Steve Buscemi who worked with Michael a couple of times described it the best way; he goes, ‘It’s like making an independent film with a lot of money,’ and that is true. What I really like about Michael is that he loves actors and he’s very, very spontaneous. You can walk onto the set and you might have no idea what you’re gonna do that day. [Laughs] For some people that’s fine, for some people it freaks them out. I actually had a really great time working with him. He’s super smart. The hard part is sometimes when it comes to the stunts. Because there isn’t a lot of preparation, it can be a bit dangerous.”

Nicola Peltz, Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci in Transformers: Age of Extinction
Image via Paramount

I’m eager to see more from Tucci behind the lens no matter the size of the film, but it would be especially exciting to see a unique voice like his applied to a Hollywood blockbuster. If that day ever comes, what quality of his past work as a director would he insist on bringing to that enormous set? Here’s what he said:

“Spontaneity. And preparation. I really like to prepare. I like to be as prepared as possible and then be spontaneous when I need to be. Preparation allows for spontaneity.”

That’s it for now, but do keep an eye out for our full conversation with Tucci coming to Collider soon. And be sure to cue up Tucci’s new movie, Supernova, when it’s available digitally on February 16th.

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