For most of his life, director Duncan Tucker could not decide on a career path. Even during his high school and college years, Tucker had few ambitions and little direction. After bouncing around fro...
Born in Kansas City, KS, Tucker was reared in Prairie Village and Leawood, where he attended Shawnee Mission East High School. Tucker was forced to leave Shawnee when his family moved to Ph nix, AZ, where he graduated from Saguaro High School in Scottsdale. He then became a college journeyman, attending Grinnell, Prescott, Evergreen, Sarah Lawrence and New York University. Despite his desire for higher education, Tucker had no idea what he wanted from life. Once he graduated from college, he had the vague notion that he wanted to write, so he began churning out short stories - to no avail. He hadn't lived enough of a life to have anything to write about and he knew it. Tucker decided to gain some real experiences and began a series of odd jobs-cabin boy on a ship, espresso dispenser, rehabilitator of NY buildings alongside his father and brother.
It was around this time that he met the woman who became the inspiration for "Transamerica." A few months into their friendship, she sat Tucker down and told him what was really under her skirt. Immediately intrigued, Tucker listened as she told him about herself, all the while thinking that he had stumbled upon a great idea for a film. He spent the next 2½ years writing a script and raising money - the latter resulting in many slammed doors in his face.
Meanwhile, Tucker dipped his t into the directing pool with a short film, "The Mountain King," which was part of a gay-themed anthology, "Boys to Men" (2001). "The Mountain King" depicted a daylong encounter between a drug-addled male hustler and a sexually confused married man. Though minimalist in style and displaying beautiful beach shots, "The Mountain King" was considered rather dull.
Tucker's funding troubles for his film continued unabated. He had what he felt was a good script, but financing was still elusive. Finally, his mother and brother both mortgaged their homes and Tucker went into credit card debt to finance his $2 million film. The search for acting talent proved to be more of a blessing. A decade earlier, he had once seen Felicity Huffman off-Broadway in David Mamet's play, "Cryptogram," and remembered her vibrant intelligence and intense presence. Tucker knew that she was the actress for this part and approached her. After reading the script, she agreed to work for scale. But there was a hitch, and Tucker learned of it the day his film went into production - Huffman was set to shot a pilot for ABC and had a narrow window of opportunity to shoot the movie. Tucker scrambled to piece together the puzzle. Using his mom's house for a location, his brother's car for the road trip, and raiding his own closet for wardrobe, he had his film miraculously in the can after a month, leaving Huffman free to make what became "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004- ).
Huffman's ability to lose herself inside her character and give a transforming performance, to say nothing of her newfound TV celebrity, turned Tucker's film into a hit on the festival circuit, impressing Harvey Weinstein enough to distribute it through The Weinstein Company. "Transamerica" was shown at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival and the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, even picking up nominations for Best First Screenplay and Best First Film at the 2005 Independent Spirit Awards. Though Huffman went on to receive the lion's share of accolades - she won a Golden Globe and earned an Academy Award nomination - Tucker found himself fielding numerous offers to direct. Though nothing definitive came about, Tucker found himself on the indie map, giving the nomad a place that he could finally call home.
From classic movie palaces to the state-of-the-art IMAX screens.