Charlie Greenwald ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Autumn’s biggest movie, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, opens in theaters worldwide this Friday, and audiences are already flipping out over the newest installment to the thrilling action series. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, fresh off her Oscar-win for Silver Linings Playbook, as Katniss Everdeen, the quiet but courageous heroine caught in a love triangle and torn in the middle of a revolution. Lawrence, 23, is a beautiful, bona fide movie star, a down-to-earth celebrity with class, humor and an ocean of talent.
She appears on countless Buzzfeed articles, celebrity blogs and Upworthy pages every day where she discusses body image, fame, her career and her love life. I myself am a huge fan— she deserves all the credit in the world for her role model status and for carrying this franchise to new stratospheric heights. But, since so much media attention is constantly given to the 23-year-old (especially now that the movie’s coming out), I’m going to take this time to highlight one of my favorite actors in The Hunger Games, Stanley Tucci.
Tucci has been in Hollywood for nearly 30 years, but despite being in the game for so long, he hasn’t been in a smash hit quite like The Hunger Games until now. You may remember him from his hilarious turn in The Devil Wears Prada, or his conflicted airport employee in The Terminal. But you all probably know him as Caesar Flickerman.
Tucci soared in the first Hunger Games, and I remember his performance so fondly after I saw it. He almost stole the show for me—especially since he provides a lot of comic relief. He was an absolute blast to watch, playing the magnetic, charismatic and almost too optimistic TV host to a tee, as he conducted deeply personal interviews with each of the tributes before they went off and fought to the death. He had purple eyeliner, bright white teeth and a cackling laugh that was hysterical, comforting and a bit eccentric all at the same time. It was a delightful performance that Tucci owned in every way possible. But see, this is the kind of role that we could expect the energetic James Marsden to play easily (Corny Collins in 2007’s Hairspray), or maybe even the smooth Gary Cole (Cotton McKnight from Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story).
Tucci was the last person I thought of, to play Flickerman, after his terrifying portrayal of George Harvey in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of The Lovely Bones. This character was the opposite of Flickerman—a quiet, mysterious, terrifying serial killer with an agenda. I suppose I should have supported that casting choice from the get go, since Peter Jackson has great taste, but I had my doubts, knowing Tucci as more of a funny, sarcastic actor inexperienced with parts tailor-made for Joaquin Phoenix. But he floored me. His performance was the best thing about that movie, and his brooding danger haunted the entire movie. Combine that with Hunger Games and Tucci truly has a diverse background as an actor. Stanley Tucci is a true chameleon with a ton of acting talent.
Whether we admit it or not, a lot of actors out there are great, but they just cannot play every single role under the spectrum. Stanley Tucci pretty much can. Murderous psychopath? Check. Bumbling, subdued father trying too hard? Check. Intensely focused detective? Check (Lucky Number Slevin). Gaudy TV personality? Check. Playing everything from menacing and controlled to loud and flamboyant, Tucci truly has a gift—he can just transform. He has the ability to change his voice and both shrink and expand inside the body of his characters, like Daniel Day-Lewis does.
Maybe one day, Tucci will get his Oscar. But for now, he and Kevin Bacon can hang out at the “We Should Have an Academy Award Table.”