Stanley Tucci Wants You To Stop Comparing Him To Anthony Bourdain. Here's Why

If you're familiar with the actor Stanley Tucci, it's probably from his roles in movies such as "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Burlesque," per Vulture. But in addition to being a talented writer and producer, Tucci is also a bigtime food lover. The 1996 film "Big Night," for example, is a foodie favorite whose plot revolves around a pair of brothers running a struggling Italian restaurant. Tucci actually co-wrote the movie, and has gone on to star in other food-focused projects, such as his CNN travel series "Searching for Italy," which returns in March 2022 for its second season.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Tucci's show, on which he travels around Italy sampling different regions' cuisines, is the first original travel-food show the network has aired since host Anthony Bourdain died in 2018. The much-admired food writer and all-around rebel had been starring in food-travel TV shows since the early 2000s, when his first iteration, "A Cook's Tour," premiered in 2002. Eventually, Bourdain landed at CNN, where he found expanded creative freedoms and brought his show "Parts Unknown" to the top of the network's ratings.

Given that Tucci's "Searching for Italy" is a similar vehicle, the series has drawn comparisons to Bourdain's show and his body of work overall. But the actor has resisted these comparisons, speaking of the late chef with admiration and noting that his show is very different.

Tucci called Bourdain "a hero of mine"

Since 2021, when Stanley Tucci's food-travel show "Searching for Italy" debuted on CNN, the series has been compared to the late Anthony Bourdain's work. "I like Stanley Tucci ... but the show looks like a blatant No Reservations/Parts Unknown ripoff," wrote Reddit user logicatch on the AnthonyBourdain subreddit last year. But Tucci, who has claimed to admire Bourdain's life and career, has resisted these comparisons.

"I knew Tony a bit, he was an incredible mind, a real raconteur, and a great explorer," Tucci told the Hollywood Reporter last year. "The show that we are doing is distinctly different than his: I am not nearly as adventurous as Tony was, not nearly. Or as brave. But what he did is open the doors to all of us who were interested in food, and travel, to explore in our own ways. He was, and still is, and always will be, a hero of mine."

"Searching for Italy" is necessarily a bit different than the "Parts Unknown" concept, being that Tucci has Italian roots that he explores in his series — whereas on Bourdain's show, he visited locations all across the world. "The idea of 'Searching for Italy' was something I have had in [my] mind for a very long time ... I am fascinated by the culture, the profound history, and of course the food," Tucci told the Hollywood Reporter.

In a recent interview with People, Tucci further explained how he felt about the comparisons, describing Bourdain as "hyper-cool" and "hyper-intelligent," modestly stating "I don't have that. I don't know if I have either of those things!" Tucci went on to say, "I would never try to take his place. He made us all a lot happier."