- Stanley Tucci told The New York Times he couldn’t swallow or taste food during his cancer recovery.
- The side effects rolled over into his time filming “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” for CNN.
- He said he would have to chew for 10 minutes and sometimes couldn’t swallow at all.
After undergoing radiation and chemotherapy to get rid of a tumor at the base of his tongue, Stanley Tucci says he temporarily lost his appetite and ability to taste or swallow food.
The “Hunger Games” actor revealed his cancer diagnosis in an interview with Virgin Atlantic’s in-flight magazine, Vera, that was published in September, Insider previously reported. He told the magazine that the tumor was “too big to operate” and that he “had a feeding tube for six months” during the process.
Though he went through the treatment around three years ago, Tucci told The New York Times in an interview that he was still feeling the side effects in the fall of 2019 when he began filming his CNN travel show, “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.”
Tucci told The Times that his sense of smell and taste had come back before filming, but he couldn’t always swallow.
“I had to chew it for 10 minutes to get it down my throat,” he said, describing a moment in filming where he was eating a Tuscan dish, steak Florentine. But for the times when swallowing was completely out of the question, “I just had to get rid of the food,” he said.
Despite his inability to fully and consistently eat food, he said there was no question in his mind that he’d carry out making this show. “I’ve wanted to tell for a long time the story of Italy and the disparate cuisine in every region,” he told The Times.
Tucci wrote about his experience with cancer in his new book, “Taste: My Life Through Food,” which is out on Tuesday.
“It was horrible,” Tucci told The Times of his treatment.
He said that after about a week of the treatment, his mouth was filled with ulcers, and “anything he ate tasted like wet cardboard ‘slathered with someone’s excrement.'”
The “Devil Wears Prada” actor said he wasn’t afraid of dying, but he was afraid of losing his sense of taste. “I mean, if you can’t eat and enjoy food,” he said, “how are you going to enjoy everything else?”