Stanley Tucci Q&A: ‘Feud: Bette and Joan’
“He was almost in a strange way a caricature of himself or people of his ilk, reveals Stanley Tucci about Jack Warner, the real-life character he portrays in “Feud: Bette and Joan.” During our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above), Tucci describes the driving force and president of Warner Bros. as “very smart, a savvy businessman, incredibly misogynistic, and he took advantage probably of everybody that he came in contact with.”
As the eight-part FX limited series begins, aging screen legend Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange) needs a comeback desperately. After bringing the book “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” to director Robert Aldrich (Alfred Molina), they must then reach out to Crawford’s arch rival Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon) to be the co-lead. All of them are in a battle with Warner over contracts, money, and control, plus the fact that he wants Aldrich to pit the two ladies against each other for the publicity. Produced by Emmy winner Ryan Murphy (“The Normal Heart,” “The People v. O.J. Simpson”), the show co-starred Judy Davis, Jackie Hoffman, Kiernan Shipka, Alison Wright, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Warner was one of the legendary Hollywood figures through the early decades. In preparing for the role, Tucci read many accounts of his life and watched film footage. One reel of Warner preparing remarks for a speech assisted him tremendously. He says, “It’s incredibly funny and painful at the same time. You saw his charm, and you saw his anger, and you saw that ego and those capped white teeth, the mustache, and the hair. That was the thing that really let me know who he was. You can read everything, but sometimes a picture’s worth a thousand words, especially a moving picture.”
Tucci is already a three-time Emmy Award winner among his seven career nominations. He prevailed as Best Movie/Mini Actor for “Winchell” (1999), Best Comedy Guest Actor for “Monk” (2007), and Best Short-Form Variety Series for “Park Bench with Steve Buscemi” (2016). He was an Oscar nominee as Best Supporting Actor for “The Lovely Bones” (2009). He was also part of the winning Cast as Best Film Ensemble for “Spotlight” (2015) at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.