Berlin: Stanley Tucci Slams Trump Administration on Arts Funding

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Stanley Tucci

"If they have their way, they would eviscerate the National Endowment for the Arts," the actor told a press conference at the Berlinale.

Stanley Tucci on Saturday slammed President Donald Trump’s administration for reportedly looking to slash arts funding.

"I can only imagine with this administration, if they have their way, they would eviscerate the National Endowment for the Arts, which would be devastating on so many levels," he told a press conference at the Berlin Film Festival for his latest movie, Final Portrait.

Tucci was dismissive when asked if his biopic about Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti might influence Trump to support the arts. "I don't think our film can influence the president in any way, shape or form," the writer-director said.

Tucci added Americans have always had "a very ambiguous relationship with the arts," before recalling testifying in 2012 before Congress to keep the NEA alive.

"It's kind of an uphill battle year after year after year," he insisted. Tucci argued the arts need to be central to any civilized society. "Unfortunately, a lot of America, and a lot of politicians, don't see it that way. They see it as a waste," he said. 

Tucci also argued the arts need to be an "essential part of education," before adding, "This administration may not see education as important."

Tucci and castmembers Armie Hammer and Clemence Poesy are in Berlin as Final Portrait premieres in competition on Saturday night. The film, in which Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush plays Giacometti, is also being shopped to buyers by HanWay at the European Film Market.

Tucci based the script for his fifth movie as a director on the book A Giacometti Portrait by the artist’s friend, American critic James Lord. The film is set in Giacometti's workshop where a portrait of Lord is being painted, and captures his chaotic lifestyle two years before the artist's death in 1966.

Tucci told reporters that Final Portrait, which took him 10 years to finance, became a passion project after he first read Lord's book as a young man. "The creative process is something very interesting to me. When I first read the book so many years ago, it made sense to me," he said.

"All the images that I was able to see very clearly as a young person when I wanted to make this film, I was able to achieve, but not without going through a lot of doubt and angst," Tucci recalled.