There are many reasons why the Chucky franchise has staying power and keeps reinventing itself. One of them is Jennifer Tilly and her compelling portrayal of Tiffany Valentine. Tilly revisits the role of Tiffany in Syfy and USA Network’s Chucky, the TV series that continues the story of the killer doll, allowing her to explore her iconic character in a way she’s never been able to until now.
Jennifer Tilly joined me on the Fem TV podcast, where we discussed the reasons why she wanted to be a part of this project, the chemistry between Tiffany and Chucky/Nica (Fiona Dourif), and how Tiffany plays a role in the story from the very first episode.
Highlights from our conversation are below, and you can listen to the full interview with Jennifer Tilly here.
Besides this series looking like a whole pile of fun to work on, why were you excited to revisit Tiffany and the world of Chucky?
Tiffany is such a fun, delightful character. She’s campy and over the top, and she’s sexy and funny. And [franchise creator] Don Mancini always writes really great lines for me. When he told me he was doing a television series, I was hoping for a cameo. When I got the script, I was thrilled. He wrote me a great part and wonderful scenes. He fleshed Tiffany out — I mean, she’s always super fleshy because it’s me — but he gave her a poignant love story and made it diabolical. She’s even more unhinged than she has been in previous incarnations. Don always surprises me with what he comes up with for Tiffany.
There were two main reasons why I wanted to come back. One was for the fans. They are so loyal and love Tiffany so much. I had to do it for them because I know they really wanted Tiffany to come back. The other reason was Don. We’ve known each other for 23 years, and I can’t imagine him doing a Chucky movie or series without me. Okay, it was one third for Don, one third for the fans, and one third for me.
Also, you get to a certain age where all of a sudden, you notice you don’t have any more kissing scenes. On this show, in my very first scene, I’m rolling around on a bed with Fiona Dourif, with a hot young kid in the room watching us, and another dead kid on the floor. Dreams do come true.
There’s a blink and you miss it cameo from Tiffany in the first episode. Would you say that she’s the one who sets everything into motion on this series?
That’s what Don had in mind. I didn’t show up on set until a couple months of filming had gone by. The wardrobe person told me, “Last month I had to run and find a Tiffany-type outfit. A red coat and Hermes scarf, all super mysterious.” It wasn’t actually me [in the episode]. It was a stand-in walking through the scene. When I watched it, I said, “That’s not me. Tiffany would have more strut than that,” but it’s perfect for the for the scene. When Jake asks the woman at the at the rummage sale where the doll came from, she has no idea. Tiffany furtively planted it for Jake to find because she always does what Chucky tells her to do. Tiffany is Chucky’s right hand woman.
But she’s not only Chucky’s minion. She’s ambitious, too.
In this series, especially in the second half, you can see that Tiffany has a master plan. When I was reading it, I thought, “I didn’t know Tiffany was that smart.” She’s a master criminal, and not to give anything away, but she’s so evil and unhinged. She has big dreams, and doesn’t want to just be the murderer that kills the pizza boy. She wants to kill people on a on a massive scale and create mayhem. Everyone wants to portray the villain because it’s the best to play, and in all the craziness, we find a kernel of what makes Tiffany tick.
You mentioned working with Fiona Dourif, and there’s no denying the chemistry between your characters on screen. Although Nica is possessed by Chucky, the way Tiffany interacts with Chucky/Nica is different than how she is with Chucky. Was this a facet of Tiffany that you were excited to explore?
Tiffany is poignant when you see her falling in love. She loves Chucky but he treats her terribly. But she also starts to fall in love with Chucky/Nica. She likes having sex with Chucky/Nica, and sees a bit of Nica shining through the the big, macho Chucky character. And of course, Fiona Dourif is brilliant. She’s such an amazing actress, and so generous and wonderful to work with. But the other great thing is that being Brad Dourif’s daughter, she’s got his mannerisms down. She’s got his swagger and his voice. When Nica came out of the insane asylum in Cult of Chucky, which happens just before this series, I could swear that it was Brad Dourif walking towards me. She’s embodies him perfectly.
What can you tease about where the story lands at the end of the season?
I’m so proud of Don and what he’s accomplished, and the kids in the series are amazing. But the second half is totally off the rails. We have Alex Vincent and Christine Elise showing up as Andy Barclay and Kyle. All the storylines dovetail into one huge, chaotic conclusion and I think the fans are going to be thrilled to bits.
Chucky wraps its first season tonight on Showcase in Canada (it concluded in the US on November 30), and has been renewed for a second season. Canadian viewers can catch up on the entire first season on STACKTV.
Photos courtesy of Syfy