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Tucci Rules In 'The Terminal'

If you've ever traveled on an airplane, chances are you've experienced the dreaded airport delay. But try to imagine that time stretching into a few hours, a few days, a few weeks, and even a few months.

In the new comedy, "The Terminal," Stanley Tucci stars as Frank Dixon, an uptight customs director responsible for a foreign traveler (Tom Hanks) who becomes a man without a country while in flight to the United States.

Tucci had worked earlier with Hanks in "Road to Perdition," and was excited to be in a film with him again. "He's so funny," Tucci tells The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm about Hanks as Viktor Navorski.

Tucci's character starts out between a rock and a hard place. Rules and regulations prohibit him from letting Viktor leave the airport, but when Viktor's constant presence threatens to jeopardize Dixon's career, he'll do just about anything to get Viktor out of the terminal.

The movie takes us behind the scenes into airport life, which would seem to be pretty mundane, but somehow director Steven Spielberg makes it into an entertaining movie.

Says Tucci, "Most people could not make a film that takes place in one space and keep it entertaining and keep the thing moving forward, but Steven does it beautifully."

What drew Tucci to the project was the opportunity to work with Spielberg, as well as the script. The actor says his character is very well-written, adding, "It's a really wonderful role. He's a complex character, which always appeals to me."

Next for Tucci is "Shall We Dance," a film with Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere, for which he says he had to learn Latin ballroom.

About Stanley Tucci

  • Born in in Peekskill, N.Y., on Nov. 11, 1960
  • In 1982, made stage debut in "The Queen and the Rebels", starring Colleen Dewhurst.
  • In 1985, had his feature debut in "Prizzi's Honor"
  • In 1987, made his TV debut in "Crime Story" and appeared in two episodes of "Miami Vice" (NBC) as mob chieftain Frank Mosca. The following year, he was cast in the recurring role of predatory gangster Enrico 'Rick' Pinzolo in "Wiseguy" (CBS).
  • In 1991, he portrayed Lucky Luciano in Robert Benton's "Billy Bathgate" and appeared in recurring role as a police detective romancing a laywer (Debrah Farentino) in ABC drama series "Equal Justice."
  • In 1992, he was featured in the family comedy "Beethoven" as the dogcatcher Vernon. And in 1993, he appeared as an Arab assassin in "The Pelican Brief."
  • In 1995, he was cast as Richard Cross in Steven Bochco's courtroom drama "Murder One" (ABC). His performance earned an Emmy nomination. He also made his feature directorial debut (as co-director with Campbell Scott) and feature screenwriting debut (as co-writer with his cousin Joseph Tropiano) with "Big Night."
  • In 1996, he signed a two-year deal with Rysher Entertainment to write, direct and produce features through his production company, First Cold Press Prods.
  • In 1998, he had his solo feature writing and directing debut in "The Impostors" and starred in the HBO biopic "Winchell," for which he received an Emmy Award.
  • In 2000, Tucci produced and directed his third feature, "Joe Gould's Secret." He also co-starred in the TNT series "Bull."
  • In 2001, he was cast as a studio executive in "America's Sweethearts." Portrayed Adolph Eichmann in the HBO drama "Conspiracy," receiving an Emmy nomination. And co-starred in "Sidewalks of New York" as a philanderer.
  • In 2002, Tucci had a featured role in the comedy "Big Trouble;" played real-life Chicago mobster Frank Nitti in "The Road to Perdition;" and was cast as Ralph Fiennes' anxious campaign manager in "Maid in Manhattan."
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