One of the first things I thought watching “Citadel” was, “God, Stanley Tucci makes his action look so easy.” But on the flip side, I also thought, “To bring humor and show grace in this very, very [pressure-filled] situation can’t be easy.” If citing dialogue is easy, then you are in danger of becoming complacent, which is exactly the thing you don’t want to happen as an actor.
No, no, no. Complacency is death. The exposition stuff is not easy. That’s hard, but you get through it. Exposition is a part of every movie that you make. Ultimately, what you have to do is there has to be an emotional connection to the words. Luckily, when you’re working with filmmakers like the Russo brothers, you can play around with things. They’re not dogmatic about the dialogue unless there’s something that needs to be very clear so that the audience understands what’s happening. There’s a playfulness to them, and that allows you to bring it to yourself.
Also, it’s my job to make it look easy. That’s my job. You don’t want to watch something and see the work. When you look at a painting, [you] want to be assured that the artist knows what they’re doing. If I see the work in it, as my father used to say as an artist, “It’s tight” — meaning if it’s tight, it’s not fluid. The same holds true for acting or music or anything. It’s all the same.
Created by David Weil and also starring Leslie Manville, “Citadel” kicks off on April 28 on Amazon Prime with two episodes, with new episodes premiering Fridays through May 26.
This interview has been edited for clarity.