Monday, 27 February 2012

Make Up in Film: Hunger Games Special: Stanley Tucci

This week's Make-up in Film was supposed to be a tribute to whichever film won the Best Make-up Oscar, but since that film was The Iron Lady, I didn't really want to tread over the same ground that I've covered before, so I decided to start with my Hunger Games Special Series which will be running each week until the film opens, on March 23rd.

This weeks post, isn't specifically about make-up, but more about the idea of transformation, of changing appearance to become a specific character, and generally looking very unlike the way that the actor ordinarily looks. So many actors have done this so successfully, for example Charlize Theron in Monster. And, for The Hunger Games, this actor was absolutely no different. Whilst his transformation wasn't quite as extreme as Theron's, it is still an interesting one nonetheless.

Over the past year or so, there has been an actor who catches me out every single time. I'm literally watching a film, and I see an actor, in some random role and I convince myself that I recognise him from something. Now, me being me, if I allow that niggle to fester, it'll drive me nuts, so I always have to look it up before it gets to that stage. And so many times, that actor has turned out to be the actor who I wanted to look at today. As I said, every time I see him in something, I know that it's him, but he always looks so different to all of his other roles, that he gets me. I don't think that I've come across an actor who takes on such a different appearance, in such diverse roles as he does.

That actor is, of course, The Hunger Games' very own Caeser Flickerman, or to the rest of the world: Stanley Tucci.

Tucci's role as Nigel, in The Devil Wears Prada, is probably one of those roles when he looks most "normal" and like himself. The make-up is minimal, and Nigel's most defining aspects are his round glasses and the smart, designer suits that are stylish and he's very clean-cut, in facial hair especially, which is in keeping with the fashionable area that the character works in.

Despite the harsh and biting industry that he works in, Nigel has this great sense of warmth about him, especially in his smile, that makes it no surprise that he would become Andy's confidante.

The only real difference between Nigel and Stanley Tucci, is really down to that facial hair, as Tucci is generally photographed with a beard. The glasses that he wears in this film, are also very similar to the ones that he is often snapped in.

George Harvey is perhaps one of Tucci's most interesting roles, especially to anyone who has read the book of The Lovely Bones. It's a character that when you read the book you get this specific image inside your head, and initially, I remember not thinking that Tucci was going to fit that image at all. Especially when you have this image of him as a "nice guy".

Harvey's overall look, however, turned out to be perfection. Tucci has that warm smile that makes you want to trust him, but the messy, floppy hair, and the unkempt facial hair both make him look that little bit more sinister, in a way that you know that most people wouldn't notice. His appearance is certainly one that you'd want to trust, even though you know that you probably shouldn't.

What makes Tucci look so un-Tucci in this role, I think is really down to those eyes. They look much smaller than in anything else I've seen him in, with more bags and lines underneath them. It's also interesting to see how different the glasses make his face look. Tucci is typically seen wearing black-rimmed spectacles, however, these ones are gold, much thinner rims, in a more square-shape rather than the circular ones, and it makes me realise just how much of a difference frames actually do make to a face.

Captain America's Dr. Abraham Erskine is definitely the role that really caught me out, because I knew that I recognised the face, but I couldn't place it, and I spent a long time, sat in the cinema, trying to figure out who he was. It's weird, because Tucci wasn't covered in that much make-up for this role. However, he doesn't have that clean look to his face like he normally does, plus the fact that he actually has hair on his head, well that's going to be my excuse as to why I didn't catch this one!

The character is indeed a lot more scruffier than Tucci's normal persona, especially in the beard, which isn't as neat as he seems to keep it. Like George Harvey, Tucci wears gold-rimmed glasses in this role, and again he looks different to himself, and even to how he looked as Harvey.

And finally, we come to Stanley Tucci's role in The Hunger Games, as Television Interviewer Caesar Flickerman. In the books, Flickerman is portrayed very much like most of the citizens of The Capitol: Flamboyant, with wild hair and fashion sense. Indeed, Flickerman sports rather fetching brilliant blue hair and matching coloured eyebrows that represents The Capitol's obsession with quirky hair colours. 

Seeing Tucci with hair, in Lovely Bones was really strange, because, of course, he doesn't really have that much, but seeing him with the amount of hair he has as Flickerman, is just really weird, and it's amazing how much that hair changes the overall feel of his face, and the aura that he gives off, without even knowing what his personality will be portrayed like.

Another strange aspect is actually Tucci's lack of glasses, and I feel like I want to give him some, because this is one of the few roles that I've seen Tucci not wearing specs, and I can't quite get my head around him not having any on.

The look of Flickerman makes Tucci look less soft and warm, as he does in his other roles, but especially as Nigel and there's something "harder" about his face, and kind of more masculine, which is odd because Flickerman is a lot like Nigel, more than any other role that Tucci has played. They're certainly both very stylish and fashionable, with the suits and a look like that is neat and tidy, if otherwise very different from each other.

I think that Stanley Tucci is always going to be one of those actors who's transformations are always going to baffle and intrigue me. Perhaps I'm the only sad person who gets caught out every time, but Tucci really is an amazing actor who adapts so well into his varying roles. He is one of those rarities of Hollywood that is an Acting Chameleon, not only in his acting skills, but also in his appearance, and I think he's fantastic.

What do you think of Stanley Tucci's ever-changing looks? 
And as which character do you think he looks the best?
Any guesses as to which character/actor from The Hunger Games will be featured next week??


  1. I bloody love Stanley Tucci!!! Lovely Bones is one of my favourite books and I loved him in the film... Have you seen Easy A?? He's great in that... xx
    Bea @

  2. Lovely Bones is an awesome book! I haven't seen Easy A, but I saw that Stanley Tucci was in it, when I was researching him yesterday, and I didn't have a clue he was in it! He really does pick some really diverse films to star in. You couldn't call him a genre actor, that's for sure :)


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