One of the most immediate pleasures of flying to Hong Kong to cover the release of “Transformers: Age Of Extinction” was sitting down with the always-charming Stanley Tucci to talk about his role as “Excellent character actor screaming at the CGI robots.”
As I said in my review, these are really weird movies. I am still baffled by John Malkovich in the third film. There's an entire scene in that film where I can't even fully describe what it is he's doing. I went back recently just to look at that moment, and it looks like Malkovich is on Ecstasy and that he's fixated on one of the robots, practically rubbing himself against it. It's bizarre. I'm not sure about the entire role that he played. He has a deeply strange opening scene, and it just seems to get weirder from there, like the entire perverted “Three's Company” bathroom scene.
When Tucci was first announced for the new “Transformers,” I was worried he'd get stuck playing something similar. Instead, I'd argue that Tucci ends up as the MVP for the new film. He plays a scientist who discovers the secrets of Tranformium, the elemental metal used to make the Transformers, and his plan is to use that secret to build new robots who he can program and control. He's a classic mad scientist, but run through the filter of a Steve Jobs or a Richard Branson. It's the kind of character that is very thin on the page, and any color comes from hiring the right person for the part. Tucci positively relishes the opportunity, and he seems to know exactly what it calls for, screaming his way through some of the biggest and craziest set pieces in the film.
We talked about his work on the amazing “Murder One” and how things might have been different for that show if it aired now, during the so-called “Golden Age Of Television,” we talked about him working with Bay, and we talked about how his fan base has changed now that he's making films like this or “The Hunger Games.”
In short, Tucci's every bit the gentleman that he seems to be, with an easy sense of humor, perfectly willing to talk seriously about his process on a film like this. He classes up anything he appears in, and it was a pleasure to chat with him on this one.
“Transformers: Age Of Extinction” opens everywhere on Friday.