DUNCAN TUCKER’S TRANSAMERICA

It’s starting to look more like winter in D.C. today. Late afternoon on the first Monday in December and the skies in Georgetown have darkened to a dull government-issue gray. The snow has started falling, threatening to turn the evening rush hour into a long ride home for the suburbanites and holiday shoppers now trekking back to their split-levels. The sound of motorists’ muffled curses are confined to the plush interiors of their SUVs that parade toward Key Bridge and beyond. I’m a few minutes late for a chat with Duncan Tucker, the director of Transamerica, a film of self-discovery, a character-driven road movie featuring Felicity Huffman as a person suffering from Gender Dysphoria. Tucker is doing the perfunctory press-junket about the country as part of the promotional campaign for the film, his feature directorial debut. The dreariness outside his hotel was no doubt mitigated by the film’s solid New York and Los Angeles opening weekend, where it premiered atop the indie film boxoffice charts.

The dreary essence of holiday musak faded as I entered Tucker’s corner suite. My comfort level rose when I spotted a Macintosh laptop on the desk. A longtime Apple devotee (“They’re good machines. They’re beautiful. I don’t know how to do IBM at all.”), he was no doubt catching up on email or some other internet chores. Of course, God blesses those who love Apple computers. Thirty-five chatty minutes later, even as a chilly night descended about the nation’s capital, the spirits of those sharing our comfy sofa rose above the stillness of the traffic-clogged streets outside.

Clad in comfortable brown jeans, a dark blue dress shirt, black sports jacket a brown/red checkered tie, and some cozy boots, Duncan has a slim, youngish appearance. He wouldn’t reveal his age, but there’s a slight, receding hairline and some thinning and graying on top. He curling up on the opposite end of the sofa we are sharing, crossing his legs into a semi-lotus position. Despite a day filled with other journalists inquiring into his past, present, and future, he was perfectly civil, pleasant, and jovial.

At one point during our conversation I mentioned that I felt Huffman’s performance was strong enough to earn the awards and accolades bestowed by her peers. In the ensuing weeks, before the film’s expansion into the local market on December 23, Huffman would earn a well-deserved Golden Globe nomination for best performance in dramatic motion picture and win the NBR Award for best actress from the National Board of Review. Tucker, Huffman, and the film previously received kudos from the Berlin International, Deauville, and Tribeca Film Festivals.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, raised, during his high school years, in Phoenix, Arizona, and now a New York City resident, Tucker quickly takes to discussing his movie after I bring it up.

Get the interview in part two of DUNCAN TUCKER’S TRANSAMERICA>>>




Posted on December 20, 2005 in Interviews by
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