Tucci, who went viral during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic for his food series Searching for Italy, told the panel that his goal for the show was to “break the mold of a lot of shows that are out there” with its format, which saw Tucci traveling across Italy trying new food and learning about the country of his ancestors.
Behar told her guest, “They say you can’t get a bad meal in Italy, but sometimes you can,” before expanding the chat to discuss more of the actor’s resume.
“Speaking of Italy, you’ve done some incredibly iconic characters,” Behar said, mentioning Tucci’s role in Big Night as a catalyst for his later roles.
“It was the first movie I co-wrote and co-directed, yes,” Tucci replied, before Behar noted, “But I understand you turned down some movies in your career because you found that they were anti-Italian.”
Tucci recalled his start in show business four decades ago, telling the panel, “If you were Italian or Italian-American, you were always cast as the bad guy, particularly a mafioso or something. But you were never, ever cast as a schoolteacher or whatever. And even people who played schoolteachers or doctors or whatever, they never had Italian surnames in television shows. Now you see that.”
Behar agreed, recalling the accents Italian characters often used at the time. “The stereotypes were horrible,” she said, as Tucci continued, “The interesting thing was … with other ethnic groups it was always like, ‘Well this person is bad because of their upbringing.’ … With Italians it was like, ‘Italians are just innately evil.’ There was never an explanation!”
For about a decade, Tucci refused to take stereotypical Italian roles, he told the panel. He added that the boycott “was not easy, because I needed to work.”
“They’re about something,” Tucci countered. “They’re not just a pastiche.”
The View airs weekdays at 11/10c on ABC.