There’s just something about Jennifer Tilly. The gifted actress with the whiskey voice is intelligent, funny, and stunningly beautiful. She’s made her mark on stage and film with a captivating presence that draws viewers in and has made her a star that won’t soon fade.
She’ll tell you,herself, though, that she never imagined the fame or fans that would she would find when she took on the role of Tiffany Valentine in Bride of Chucky. Four movies and 20 years later, Tilly is still knocking them dead in Don Mancini’s latest release, Cult of Chucky.
I had the enormous privilege of chatting with the talented actress this week, and we spent some time chatting about Tiffany Valentine and the crazy rollercoaster they’ve ridden together.
“When you first met Tiffany back in Bride of Chucky,” the actress explained. “she was this kind of trashy, goth girl and sort of sloppy and flirty and giddy. But she was really a broken flower.”
It didn’t take long for that broken flower to flourish, however. By the time Seed of Chucky rolled around, Tiffany was getting smarter and she was learning just how powerful she really was. In one of the most meta scenes ever created for a horror film, Tiffany (voiced by Jennifer Tilly) took over the body of Jennifer Tilly who was playing Tiffany in a movie.
Go ahead and read that again, I’ll wait.
The move was brilliant and it brought the actress we love into the franchise in the flesh, so to speak. But, as we all know, Tiffany wasn’t done, even though the actress admits she wasn’t sure where she really fit in the Chucky universe during the franchise’s Curse of Chucky entry.
If Seed of Chucky was the flourishing of Tiffany Valentine, however, it’s in Cult of Chucky that this beautiful, but deadly flower truly bloomed.
“Don very gently explained to me when we were prepping for this film that Tiffany was classy, now!” Tilly laughed. “And I thought, classy? What? But we started talking and he explained that Tiffany was always more vicious than Jennifer Tilly, and she always wanted to be an actress. But once she’s in my body she discovers that Jennifer Tilly is a B-list actress, but she wants to be an A-list actress like Cate Blanchett! She’s very consciously dressing like Cate Blanchett in Carol, now and trying to be really classy.”
In fact, when Tilly shows up in Cult of Chucky, she’s the very essence of Hollywood glamour. Her vivid, red wardrobe and blonde up-do is the essence of a Hitchcock blonde, especially in contrast to the stark white walls of the mental asylum where Chucky is currently slicing and dicing his way through the patients.
“I think Don wanted me to be his Tippi Hedren in this film,” she says, “and it really works. Tiffany is Machiavellian. She comes in and sets things in motion, then steps back to let events unfold before coming back in the end to reap the benefits. She’s definitely not under Chucky’s thumb anymore. She’s more evil, now, and she’s more of his partner in this film.”
Jennifer and Tiffany have definitely come a long way in Mancini’s franchise, and yet, with all its success, Tilly was still surprised by the response she’s seen from fans, especially since she entered the world of social media.
“Chucky fans are the greatest, most obsessed, most loyal fans I’ve ever seen,” she exclaimed. “I never knew that there were Chucky and Tiffany cosplays, Chucky and Tiffany tattoos, Chucky and Tiffany fan art! It’s all so amazing. I fly to countries I didn’t even know existed and get off the plane and people see me and run up yelling ‘Chucky!’ and want to hug me. It’s global and it’s incredible.”
It’s nearly unprecedented what Mancini has done with the Chucky franchise being personally involved in each new sequel. Writing, directing, and cultivating not only the films but a loyal cast, some of whom have been with him from the very beginning.
“I mean the thing that blows my mind is that he brings back these older characters, but he also brings back the actors that played them originally to do them again,” Tilly explained. “He brought back Andy Barclay and he got Alex Vincent, who played Andy in the very first film to play Andy again. He was a boy in that movie and now it’s 30 years later and he’s a bearded vigilante in Cult of Chucky. Other studios and filmmakers would have started calling casting agents, but Don said, ‘It has to be Alex.'”
It’s a formula that has worked for the filmmaker and Tilly says she hopes to stay a part of the franchise.
“I love Don, and we’ve been friends for 20 years, now. I still suck up whenever I can to make sure he puts me in the next movie,” she laughed. “I really feel like I want to be in them until the end of time.”
Miss Tilly, on behalf of the rest of the Chucky fandom, we want that, too.
Cult of Chucky is available to view on Netflix and can also be purchased on DVD and Blu-Ray!