Stanley Tucci has defended straight actors taking on gay roles, saying an actor’s job is “to play different people”.
The 62-year-old, who has starred in blockbusters including The Hunger Games and The Devil Wears Prada, recently played Colin Firth’s on-screen partner in Supernova.
“Obviously I believe that’s fine,” Tucci said about straight actors playing gay characters.
“I’m always very flattered when gay men come up to me and talk about The Devil Wears Prada or when they talk about Supernova, and they say ‘It was just so beautiful, you did it the right way’ – because often it’s not done the right way.”
He added: “I really do believe that an actor is an actor is an actor.
“You’re supposed to play different people. You just are. That’s the whole point of it.”
Tucci weighed in on the debate on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, where he was interviewed by Lauren Laverne about his life and career.
He also spoke of acting as an “escape”, particularly following the death of his first wife, Kathryn (Kate) Spath, in 2009 from breast cancer.
He said: “It’s a way of controlling time and emotion and space, because we have no control over any of that in our lives and that’s what theatre does, that’s what film-making does.
“I feel much safer on stage than I do in my real life. Sometimes walking into a cocktail party or a dinner party I get very nervous.”
Tucci said he did not work for a almost a year after Kate’s death, adding: “You never really get over it.”
The actor, who now lives in London with his second wife, Felicity Blunt, spoke about the doubts he had dating the sister of his The Devil Wears Prada co-star Emily Blunt, who was more than two decades younger than him.
“I was kind of afraid of getting into a relationship and I kept trying to break it off because I am 21 years older than she is and I didn’t want to feel old but I knew this was an incredibly special person,” he said.
“If anybody made things better for all of us, it is her. She’s the one.”