Interview: Cher and Stanley Tucci know how to show you a good time

Cher and Stanley Tucci hadn’t ever met before they were cast in Burlesque, but judging from their banter during the press junket for the film, the two could easily be longtime friends. That friendship is evident on screen, too, as Tucci plays Burlesque club owner Cher’s gay BFF in the film, which revolves around a group of dancers that finds new success after Christina Aguilera comes waltzing through the front door.

From joking that Cher has a "filthy" mind to one-liners that Tucci isn’t impressed by her humor, the pair discussed everything from playing gay — "you play a person" — to the loyalties of the gay community, as well as all things Burlesque during their shared roundtable interview.

Stanley Tucci and Cher in
Burlesque Cher, We haven’t seen you on screen in a long time. What was it about this movie that drew you back?

I wanted to sing in a film. It was my heart’s desire always, from the time I was about four. I didn’t want the film immediately; this was a process. They did have to beg me. I thought that [Tess] could be a good role. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted in the beginning, but she did turn out to be who I thought she should be. And [Tucci] and I, we set the pace for it. She changed from the first reading to the finished film.

AE: What do you love about your character, Tess?

I like her, she’s my kind of girl. I love that she’s working really hard and she’s not getting anyplace, but she’s not giving up. I love the relationship she has with all the girls and with him [Tucci]. She’s a very likable character, so it’s not like you’re taking a big risk.

In the beginning, she was not likable — she’s complaining and yelling at the girls all the time — and I just thought somebody like this would have just sold the club. That’s a no-brainer. She would have just said, "Fine, I don’t want to be here either."

AE: One of Tess’ best moments is "You Haven’t Seen the Best of Me." How do you personally identify with that song?

Stanley and I were talking about this. If you’ve been in this business, you know what being down is and if you keep going then you know what struggling through down means.

AE: This is an incredibly gay movie, without question.

[Laughs] One guy said, "This is gay Fantasia!"

AE: How does this rank among the gayest things you’ve done in your career?

Not even anywhere! It doesn’t even rank anywhere! I don’t think of it as a gay film, but of course gay guys love musicals and it’s fun. It’s just really fun, so I think that’s what appeals. Gay guys like to have fun, so I think that’s what it is.

AE: Do they, Stanley?

Stanley Tucci
: How would I know? [Sarcasm]
Cher: He’s just an actor!

AE: You’ve played gay now for Cher and Meryl Streep. Who’s the better boss?

[Pointing to Cher] Well, she’s much nicer.

Cher: Meryl was horrible! [Both laugh]