Interview: Chucky: Jennifer Tilly Welcomes Back Tiffany

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Chucky, Season 1, Episode 6, "Cape Queer."

Chucky has been a staple of horror since his 1988 debut in Child's Play, and his franchise continues to this day with the killer Good Guy Doll getting his first television series. Picking up where the last film in the franchise, Cult of Chucky, left off, Chucky sees the titular villain taking on a new group of teens; however, he is not the only franchise star returning.

Promotional material for Chucky alluded heavily to the return of several major characters from the film series, and the latest episode proves their roles in the series will be more than just brief cameos. This couldn't be more true than for Tiffany, Chucky's girlfriend (Jennifer Tilly). For many fans, Tiffany is as iconic as Chucky, so her return was highly anticipated. CBR was lucky enough to talk to Tilly about her return to the belovedly bloody world of Chucky.

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CBR: You have been a part of the Child's Play and Chucky franchise for so long. What about this TV series made you want to return to this role and return to such a new format for the characters?

Jennifer Tilly: I first did Bride of Chucky 23 years ago. I never ever thought 23 years later, I'd still be playing Tiffany because, as you recall, Tiffany dies horribly at the end of Bride of Chucky. I was like, "Well, that's the end of Tiffany. That was fun. Moving on." Then a couple years later, Don called me up and he's like, "Are you ready to do another Chucky movie?" I was like, "Gak! Oh, okay." So when he told me he is doing a television series, I've been in four Chucky movies now. The fans love Tiffany. I love playing Tiffany. I thought maybe he'll write a part for me, perhaps a cameo or something. I really wanted to be a part of it because I love Don Mancini. I love the Chucky fans. I love the character. When I got the script, I was so happy because he'd written such an amazing character arc for me.

I didn't really think too much about it being a different format. In fact, a lot of times I call this series, "Oh you know the new Chucky movie," because I'm so used to doing movies. I haven't done a lot of television, but it turned out to be a boon because Don now has eight one-hour episodes to flesh out all the characters. He actually really loves it. It's a luxury. He gets to put in storylines that he might have to cut from the movie. We have so much money from the network, like more than on the last two Chucky movies. It's a very expensive production. When I show up, we have wonderful set design, a great cinematographer, so many cameras, the little Chucky doll is so advanced now. I could sit and watch him all day. His little expressions are like... Every time they do a new iteration of Chucky, he has more muscles in his forehead.

I was just happy to be a part of it. I think I love doing television. I think I like doing it more than doing a movie because you get so much more time, and it's really nice to see what's going on with Tiffany and all the other OGs who are all coming back. I call us the OGs, the people there in the original movies. We're all coming in starting Episode 5. So I think everybody's happy to be back. It's just a great set. It's great actors, and we're all happy to be part of Don's menagerie of crazies.

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Speaking about the OGs, one thing that's super captivating to me is Tiffany's relationship with Chucky/Nica. What about that relationship did you have the most fun exploring, especially compared to what was explored in the movies and what's being explored now?

It's so interesting. The end of Cult of Chucky, as you recall, Chucky goes into Nica's body, and Tiffany's in Jennifer Tilly's body. They meet outside the insane asylum, they kiss, they get to a red truck, and they drive off. That was Don's homage to a movie I did called Bound, where me and Gina Gershon played lesbians in the movie. We get in her red truck and kiss and drive off ostensibly to have more adventures.

So this television series takes place three weeks after the end of Cult of Chucky. We drive into town, and it's like a Natural Born Killers thing. We're there for no other reason than to create havoc and spread the good word of Chucky. So it's great working with Fiona [Dourif]. She's an amazing actress, really a brilliant actress. It's funny because her dad is Brad Dourif, who plays Chucky, and when she's Chucky in Nica' body, she has Brad's mannerisms. She has his swagger. She even does his voice. The first time I saw her do Chucky with Nica, I had to blink because I really thought that I was with Brad, but it's really interesting because Tiffany is in love with Chucky, who treats her terribly, but she also starts to fall in love with Nica/Chucky.

She sees a little bit of a Nica shining through the Chucky, and she kinda likes the Nica/Chucky combination. She loves the sex with Nica/Chucky because it isn't as wham, bam, thank you ma'am as sex with Chucky -- not to gross out all the Chucky fans -- but it's a very, very interesting dynamic. It's really great because, like I say, Fiona is a brilliant actress and is so fun to work with her.

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With you being introduced in Bride of Chucky, your character's become a fan favorite and a staple of the franchise. What about Tiffany do you think appeals so much to the fans?

I think they love that she's larger than life. She's pretty iconic also in the gay community. I cannot tell you how many drag queens do Tiffany in their acts. The LGBTQ+ community loves the whole Chucky franchise because there's a lot of... Don Mancini, who created it, is an openly gay man and he's put a lot of very positive gay characters in it. In Seed of Chucky, actually Glen/Glenda was a very good representation of... [they're] a gender-fluid kid, so the trans community really has a huge affection for that character, who hopefully will come back. We don't know.

I think that they just like that nothing fazes her. She's always ready. She has a quip, and she's like the supervillain that kills people and then makes some joke about it. She's also very sincere. She's very earnest. She loves her kid, even though it gets complicated. She loves her boyfriend, even though he treats her bad. I think people can relate to her, except for her penchant for killing. But then after she kills somebody, she feels really bad about it, so she has a conscious. She's not totally evil, but the thing that really shocked me when I got Don's script was she's really bloodthirsty. I don't know, maybe because another actress was playing young Tiffany, when I'm reading it, I'm like, "Oh, Tiffany, stop. Oh, that's really mean." So it's, really interesting every time I get a new script that I see another color of Tiffany that I hadn't been familiar with before, and I think the fans are gonna love it too.

Compared to Tiffany's debut in Bride of Chucky, what are some of the biggest changes you've seen in this character between then and now?

In Bride of Chucky, she was a real goth girl, and she was wearing latex and a lot of crosses and everything. I think she was a little bit, well, she is so delighted in killing and her adventures as Jennifer Tilly, but I think back then, she was getting used to being a doll after she went into the doll body. I think that she was a little more, in terms of her outlook on life, more of a young person, like more of a teenager. She's still kind of the same age, but you can see that her style has changed, like in this movie. I wear a lot of body-conscious dresses with sweaters, but she abandoned the goth thing, and she doesn't have any tattoos anymore because she used to have the iconic Chucky tattoo, but when she went in Jennifer Tilly's body, Kim Kardashian said, "Why put a bumper sticker on a Mazda Rotary?" And so people say, "Where did your Chucky tattoo go?" And she wants to fit into Hollywood, so she decided not to get any tattoos.

I think that this Tiffany has gotten a little more ruthless. She's a supervillain in the Chucky series. She turns into a master criminal, and what you'll see, she becomes a little more unhinged. The last few episodes are absolutely bonkers because you see her spiraling a little bit and being delusional, losing her grip on reality. I think when you -- the psychiatrist in me -- when you've been around killing a lot, you need more and more kills to get the same thrill, so I think she's a little more bloodthirsty than she was 20 years ago.

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Caitlin Chappell (510 Articles Published)

Caitlin Sinclair Chappell is a writer turned editor at CBR. What started as a love for comics, film and television turned into a career after graduating with honors from Lewis & Clark College. Along with her work for CBR, she edits the in-development comic series Half-Dragon, and she read her short story, "The Kabbalist and the Golem," at the 2021 National Queer Arts Festival. Beyond writing and editing, she was the Film School Director at River Way Ranch Camp and the Assistant Director on the play Famous. She can be contacted at [email protected], and her social is @comiccookbook.

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