Academy Award-nominated actor Stanley Tucci is famed for his scene-stealing performances in a variety of blockbuster movies including The Devil Wears Prada, Julie & Julia, Easy A, Transformers: Age of Extinction and The Hunger Games films. In 2010, he received an Oscar nomination for his role in The Lovely Bones, and has also worked as a writer, producer and director on a number of projects. In Fortitude, Tucci plays DCI Eugene Morton.
Can you describe what Fortitude is about?
Well from my character’s point of view, it’s about a murder. I play a detective who comes from London to investigate a murder on this island. Fortitude is a town based on a real place in Norway that exists on the edge of the earth, really. There are very few people who live there, mostly scientists and people who don’t want to be part of society as a whole. It’s a place like no other, you’re not allowed to die in Fortitude, and that’s based on the reality of towns in that part of the Arctic, where if you’re taken ill, really ill, you have to leave. I think that’s fascinating.
There’s a lot of mystery surrounding your character, isn’t there?
Well yes, to a certain extent. He’s the ultimate outsider and Fortitude isn’t a place that welcomes outsiders easily or warmly. He’s there to investigate this murder and it’s like pulling teeth to get information out of anyone. He has entered into what is, in essence, a kind of big dysfunctional family.
What would you say are the themes of the series?
I think Fortitude has elements of many genres, particularly murder mystery. But I think it’s mostly about people.
Fortitude has attracted a great cast. What has your experience of working with them been like?
It’s a wonderful group of people. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve walked onto a project where I didn’t know at least one person, and it’s nice. I was very excited to work with Michael Gambon, of whom I’ve been a fan for a very long time, and Sofie Gråbøl, who’s an extraordinary actress. I’d seen Luke Treadaway in the West End, and we’ve got a really great group of very talented people. I live in London now so the UK-based shoot has been very convenient for me. The studio is a great space that works really well and, as far as I know, it had never been used before. They’ve built some incredible sets, they’re beautifully imagined by a brilliant designer.
What was it like filming in Iceland?
Extraordinary. I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland, it was one of the reasons I wanted to do this job, and it was a great experience. I was there for about 10 days and had a great, great time. There’s a beautiful landscape, really nice people and good food. It was great. A very exciting experience.
Did you have any difficulties filming in the conditions there?
The weather in New York last year was more severe than the weather in Iceland, because Iceland, as it turns out, is warmed by these currents. It’s really misnamed, Iceland, isn’t it? There are, of course, areas where it’s brutal and dangerous, but we weren’t necessarily there, so in fact there were times when I think the weather was just like it was in London. It was raining a lot, which was unfortunate because we really needed the snow.
They had to get snow machines in, didn’t they?
They had to make snow, yes, which nobody expected. It was still beautiful though, and when it did snow, it was gorgeous. I happen to like the winter so it was great.
This is your first British drama. How have you found the experience?
It’s wonderful. I’ve worked in England a lot but I’ve never done anything for television, and I love it. I think there are great crews, great designers, certainly great actors and directors to choose from, so it’s really been a real pleasure.
Why do you think people should watch Fortitude?
Because it’s very unusual. It’s going to be great and not what you expect at all.
Fortitude: The Complete First Series is available on Blu-ray and DVD on 1st June