As Tilly’s Tiffany returns to “Chucky” in human form, she tells TooFab: “Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the return of Tiffany the doll.”
There’s nobody more surprised that Tiffany Valentine is still out for blood nearly 25 years later than Jennifer Tilly herself.
The actress was just shy of her 40th birthday when she first played the “Bride of Chucky” in the 1998 film of the same name, a movie which reinvigorated the franchise and gave everyone’s favorite killer doll his other half.
While three more movies — “Seed of Chucky,” “Curse of Chucky” and “Cult of Chucky” — followed, Tilly told TooFab she thought it would be a one-and-done role.
“When I did Bride of Chucky, I had no idea. I remember [her ‘Bound’ costar] Gina Gershon said, ‘You should do Chucky, you’ll have a franchise, every actor wants a franchise,'” she recalled. “But I thought I’m not going to have a franchise because Tiffany dies not only once but twice in the movie. Her corporal body dies and then at the end of the movie, her doll body is burned beyond recognition.”
Though she thought it was just “onto the next thing” for her, Tilly got a call a couple years later from series creator Don Mancini — who wanted to know whether she was available.
“I’m like, ‘Tiffany’s dead.’ He’s like, ‘You’re not familiar with the voodoo, Chucky doll movies, nobody ever dies in these,” she continued. “I think in ‘Seed of Chucky’ he got chopped into little pieces, they mailed him in pieces all over the country and somehow he came together again. So it’s like 23 years later, I’ve done 4 movies and now I’m doing the Chucky television series.”
Over the course of those four films, Tiffany has been through it. She was turned into a doll, got married, gave birth and was then burnt to a crisp in “Bride” — before she was revived in extremely-meta “Seed,” which ended with her transferring her soul into the body of the actual actress Jennifer Tilly. After continuing to maim and murder in “Curse” and “Cult,” Tiffany-as-Tilly is back in the new SYFY/USA series “Chucky” starting this Tuesday.
“I was so excited, when Don said he was going to do a series, I thought, ‘He must not be telling me this if I’m not in it. I’m sure there’s a little part for me in it.’ And when I got the script, I was so excited because he has so much stuff for Tiffany,” she recalled. “I’m running around in high heels, killing people and I’m mean to kids. I’m actually kind of a master criminal in the ‘Chucky’ series. You will see, she’s not just content to kill the pizza boy anymore. She has really big plans. Like Madonna, she wants to rule the universe.”
In the series, she returns to Hackensack, New Jersey shortly after the titular terror has started a new killing spree. This time, however, she’s joined by Nica Pierce — a young woman who had part of Chucky’s soul transferred into her body during “Cult.” Nica’s played by Fiona Dourif, the real-life daughter of the man who has voiced Chucky since 1988, Brad Dourif. While Tilly said she always hoped to appear on screen with Brad, that just wasn’t in the cards — but she’s more than okay with settling for Fiona instead.
“You’d think, I’ve done four movies, I know everything there is to know about Tiffany, but there’s a backstory now,” Tilly revealed, saying the character has been even more “fleshed out” this time around.
“We have a young actress that’s wonderful playing Young Tiffany. I knew that I’m a great actress, but I was pretty sure I couldn’t play an 18 year old,” she said with a laugh. “But it’s funny because I’ve always been bugging Don like, ‘I wanna have a backstory, maybe we can have a backstory,’ because the fans, they all do this fan fiction and they put together pictures of me and Brad Dourif as people and I thought, it’d be really fun to kiss — because you know what I’m attracted to? Talent — I thought it would be fun to kiss Brad Dourif.”
“I kept saying to Don, ‘Maybe we should do a backstory,’ so he finally does it and it’s two other people doing the backstory,” she continued. “It’s funny because I am actually kissing Chucky, but it’s actually Chucky in Fiona Dourif’s body. So I’m kissing a Dourif and I’m kissing a Chucky, dreams do come true but not always in the way that you imagined.”
She went on to say that, “for the record,” the younger Dourif is “an excellent kisser” and she loves working with her on set. “We have so much fun, it’s just been a great experience,” she added.
Now 63, Tilly told the Los Angeles Times that Mancini has often given her very “not age appropriate” things to do as Tiffany — with the actress joking with TooFab that what you see on screen is thanks to a lot of “smoke and mirrors.”
“When you have a friend [like Don], every week we go and see movies, have dinner, whatever. You’re not aware that they’re slowly decaying before your eyes, so he always writes Tiffany the same age,” she said. “Basically, I’m the same age I was 23 years ago. I’m like, I’m such a good actress, but it’s smoke and mirrors.”
Speaking of those on-set tricks, Tilly said she “begged” Mancini to hire a good cinematographer for the show — joking, “It’s not personal vanity, it’s a plot point!” She added that Don really came through, saying she felt like Marilyn Monroe on set and praising the entire crew for giving her an extra boost of confidence.
“I loved like, being back on the set, when I would do a scene, all the crew would clap if I did an improv line. They’d laugh, like, ‘Jennifer’s so funny.’ I remember why we came back, I need lots of validation,” she said. “Not just from my boyfriend, I need people clapping when I finish talking. It’s been so much fun.”
She’s also happy the character isn’t written like she’s in “the old folks home,” looking back at her heyday. Nope, this Tiffany is “wearing pushup bras, high heels, sexy dresses and false eyelashes” — all while “running around, making out with people and every once and a while I kill somebody.”
All in a good day’s work, right?
While it might take a village to make Tiffany look her best, Tilly wouldn’t have it any other way. When asked whether she prefers physically embodying the character versus simply supplying the voice to the doll, she went with the former.
“I love doing the voice. It’s so much fun, Tiffany the Doll is a little more doll like and a little more devilish than Tiffany the person. Devilish in terms of mischievous, she’s kind of cuter,” said Tilly, before showing her two different Tiffany voices.
“There’s a difference between the doll Tiffany and person Tiffany, but I have to say, like I said, it’s fun making out with Fiona, it’s fun killing little kids, it’s fun going home and washing the blood off my face and putting on the lipstick and 2 hours in glamour and everyone Ms. Tilly-ing me,” she added. “I kinda love that, I love being on a set as opposed to being in a recording booth, so I’d have to say Tiffany the person wins by a small margin.”
That being said, Tilly wouldn’t mind seeing her plastic persona pop up again either — telling TooFab, “Let’s keep our fingers cross for the return of Tiffany the doll.”
“Chucky” airs Tuesdays on SYFY and USA.
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