Stanley Tucci frequently found himself cast--almost stereotypically--in tough guy roles. The upstate New York native began his career when Colleen Dewhurst, the mother of Tucci's high school pal Campbell Scott, helped him land a role as a soldier in her 1982 Broadway play "Queen of the Rebels". Within three years, he had made his film debut as a hood in John Huston's "Prizzi's Honor" (1985). Tucci tried to alternate working in independent films where he was generally given better material with big-budget material wherein he typically played ethnic villains. In the former category, he was cast as Jennifer Beals' French ex-husband in "In the Soup" and Alec Baldwin's best friend in "Prelude to a Kiss" (both 1992) while the latter found him playing Lucky Luciano in Robert Benton's "Billy Bathgate" and a Middle Eastern assassin in "The Pelican Brief" (1993). He also was riveting as a corrupt district attorney in Barbet Schroeder's 1995 remake of "Kiss of Death".
Tired of being pigeonholed, Tucci and his cousin Joseph Tropiano fashioned a screenplay about two immigrant brothers running a restaurant on the New Jersey shore in the 1950s. After several years of working on the script, he and friend Campbell Scott co-directed "Big Night" (1996), which was one of the high points of that year's Sundance Film Festival. A lyrical examination of sibling rivalry and the clash of Old World values with the American dream, the film was a visual feast and earned glowing reviews. Tucci essayed the role of the younger brother who wants to succeed in his adopted country at all costs and conflicts with his older sibling (Tony Shalhoub) who prefers to retain the customs of their homeland. Following his success, Tucci went on to appear as Hope Davis' straying husband in Greg Mottola's "The Daytrippers", a dentist in Danny Boyle's uneven "A Life Less Ordinary" and a fictional version of Woody Allen in "Deconstructing Harry" (all 1997). Solo, he wrote and directed "The Imposters" (1998), a period comedy about mistaken identities set on a cruise ship in 1930s. Miscast as Puck in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1999), Tucci bounced back as producer, director and star in "Joe Gould's Secret" (2000). He then played a studio executive in "America's Sweethearts" and a cheating husband in "Sidewalks in New York" (both 2001).
Tucci has appeared extensively on TV, primarily as villains. Tucci earned another Emmy nomination for his turn as Nazi Adolph Eichmann in "Conspiracy" (HBO, 2001). Tucci continued to demonstrate his versatility in 2002 by playing the menacing Chicago mob boss Frank Nitti in director Sam Mendes' "The Road to Perdition" and Ralph Fiennes nervous campaign manager in the romantic comedy "Maid in Manhattan." The actor's considerable talents were wasted in the disaster film misfire "The Core" (2003), but he found a far more suitable role working again opposite his "Perdition" lead Tom Hanks and director Steven Spielberg in "The Terminal" (2004); Tucci played and angry and exasperated airport official, who is desperate to rid his terminal of an immigrant (Hanks) forced to reside there due to a glitch in his passport paperwork.
Tucci appeared as an attorney who leads a secret life as a ballroom dancer in the Richard Gere-Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy "Shall We Dance?" (2004), an Americanized version of a popular feel-good Japanese movie from 1996, then portrayed the visionary film director Stanley Kubrik in the HBO biopic "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers" (2004). Then in 2005, he provided the voice for Herb Copperbottom, the dishwasher father of genius inventor Rodney Copperbottom (voiced by Ewan McGregor), in the sci-fi animated feature "Robots".… Expand