Watch: How Stanley Tucci transformed into Clive Davis
Actor Stanley Tucci has opened up about getting his look right for his latest film. In Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody, he plays record producer Clive Davis, who discovered the legendary singer when she was 19, and for Tucci it was vital to get his appearance right.
Especially his hair.
Tucci describes himself as a 'physical actor' so getting Davis’s look wasn’t just a matter of accuracy. It affected his performance.
“There were some wonderful designers on the film, including my friend Anne Morgan. She created all the wigs and was there to put them on me,” he explained.
“Sometimes we would do three different eras in one day. All that stuff – the wigs, padding etc – makes a big difference to me because I’m a physical actor and when you have all that, you change physically and instantly you change everything inside as well.”
Throughout his career, which spans over 100 films, Tucci has become something of a chameleon, donning numerous guises to play his roles. Perhaps the most distinctive was the toothy, pony tailed TV host, Caesar Flickerman in The Hunger Games.
His latest film is a new biopic about one of the bestselling music artists of all time, Whitney Houston. Nicknamed The Voice, she had a glittering career that included seven consecutive number ones in the Billboard Hot 100, as well as two Emmy Awards and six Grammies.
She also found success as an actor, especially in her debut movie, The Bodyguard (1992), in which she sang one of her most memorable numbers, I Will Always Love You.
Clive Davis was one of the new movie’s producers, and Tucci was relieved that he wasn’t on set while he was filming. However, the two did get to know each other as part of the actor’s research.
“We talked via Zoom prior to shooting and I’d seen the documentary about him and read his book. All that was invaluable,” Tucci recalls.
“I could go back to the footage and remember having spoken to him and figure out how to re-create his voice and his movements. And then we met for half an hour a couple of days before I started filming and that was it.” Tucci filmed his scenes in just two and a half weeks towards the end of the shoot.
Major films such as Spotlight, The Devil Wears Prada and Easy A are all on the multi-award winning actor’s resume. More recently, he’s brought his love of Italian food to television, fronting the Emmy winning series, Searching For Italy. This latest film, which was directed by Kasi Lemmons (Harriet) and written by Anthony McCarten (Bohemian Rhapsody) also stars Naomi Ackie as Houston, with Nafessa Williams, Tamara Tunie and Clarke Peters.
Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody is released in cinemas on Boxing Day. Watch a trailer below.