Actors and longtime friends Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci realised during rehearsals for their new film, Supernova, that they should be playing each other’s roles. Fortunately the director agreed and the two men swapped.
Supernova is a film about a couple, Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci), who are on a road trip in the Lake District, trying to contend with Tusker’s early onset dementia. Originally, Firth was cast as Tusker and Tucci as Sam.
The actors have been friends since they met on the set of 2001 TV movie Conspirac, both playing Nazis, and, judging by their conversation with Deadline, have the kind of relationship where ego can be placed to one side for the benefit of the project.
Kingsman star Firth said: “I was the first of us to say it out loud, I think, ‘Are we sure we’re in the right roles?’ As Stanley said, he was quite quick to agree that it should at least be investigated. Harry wanted to test it out. And I think this is testament to the writing, really, which is that once we’d made the decision, I actually grieved the loss of Tusker a little bit. I wanted to play Sam, but I didn’t want to let go of playing Tusker. Because it wasn’t just about who you’d be playing, but it meant that I was going to be playing opposite Tusker. Perhaps loving and being loved by the man I thought I was going to play.”
Supernova director Harry MacQueen said it was an”honour” to watch the actors play both of the roles.
“We read a lot of the script together where they flipped it around, and we came to our conclusion about how it should be based on that,” he said. “You don’t often get that opportunity when you’re preparing a film. It was amazing experience. But I think I’m right in saying that you guys had a pretty good idea of who you thought would have been better at each role, right?”
Tucci responded: “Yeah. I had been thinking about it, and then Colin said, ‘I really think we should do it like this…’ It just felt better, right? I don’t know why, necessarily.”
Firth thought it would be a “very, very different film” if they’d played the original roles.
“It is hard to put your finger on why,” he said. “I will always be intrigued by the ‘what if’ of how this film might have felt the other way around… I’d like to think it could have worked if we’d switched roles, but I think it would have been transformed.”
Tucci joked: “Well, we could make it again.”
Supernova has its world premiere at the San Sebastián Film Festival this week and has its UK premiere at the London Film Festival in late October.