In his BBC food series, Searching for Italy, the actor has found a way to play the role of his life: his charming self.
Stanley Tucci realised the universe has a twisted sense of humour not long after losing his first wife Kate to cancer. Fumbling their way through grief, their three children kept busy with riding, a favourite past time of their late mother’s, on a horse that had become part of the family. One afternoon their riding teacher took Tucci aside. The horse had cancer, she said. It wasn’t going to make it.
Tucci is not a pet person (“There’s no way I’m going to be outlived by a lizard,” he tells me), and yet in the years that preceded his wife passing in 2009 he had got into an unfortunate habit of buying dogs. It began innocently enough with two border collies, but when they became senile he started to worry for his children’ssake, and thought he better throw in some more for good measure. “I had seen this Tibetan terrier when I was shooting The Devil Wears Prada,” he explains. “They were cute and didn’t shed… I dont know what I was thinking. Oh and then we also got this little poodle. So my wife ends up passing away and I’m left with four fucking dogs. Then the cruelest joke is after my wife dies the horse gets cancer. I was like, really, who’s next?”
Tucci’s amusement at these morbid memories he puts down to the temperament of parent’s countrymen. “Southern Italians have a very dark sense of humour because death was always present,” he says. “It’s the only way you can survive.” But today, in a member’s bar of a cinema in south west London, I put it down to the Tucci effect.
The sensation of being Tucci’d will be familiar to you if you have journeyed around the wild boar forests of Umbria with the 62-year-old actor on his CNN show, Searching for Italy. I came to meet him armed with questions from people who had been Tucci’d from afar. My mother wanted me to ask how he stays so slim (pilates), my aunt needed to know where he gets his clothes from (Brunello Cucinelli) and my best friend insisted on finding out his close of business tipple (“A martini, gin or vodka. Or scotch whisky, I like that. Very soothing.”) It’s not just women. My father, too, was interested in his thoughts on the town of Montone in Italy (I forgot to ask, sorry dad). Everyone wanted to know if it was possible he was actually that charming, but the high wattage experience of such charm up close is almost blinding. As his thick dark glasses catch in the late October light I realise, I am being Tucci’d.
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Photography Marie Tomanova
Talent Stanley Tucci
Styling Brandon Tan
Stylist Assistant: Charlie Johnson
Grooming: Isabel Concetta
Tailoring: Ksenia Golub
Location: The Carlyle, A Roosewood Hotel
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