Deborah Gibson and Tiffany Talk Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid
Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid premiered on the Syfy network Saturday, January 29 at 9:00 ET and the movie will be replayed on Thursday, February 3 at 9 PM ET. The movie stars 80s pop icons Deborah Gibson and Tiffany, who both held a conference call to discuss their new sci-fi adventure. Here's what they had to say below:
Can you both talk about what it's been like after all these years to still be connected and now be doing a movie together as women?
Tiffany: I think it's great. I think it's something that our fans have waited for a long time. I mean the funny thing to me is who would've thought that pythons and gators would unite us.
Deborah Gibson: Would bring us together yes.
Tiffany: It's this great movie that I truly enjoyed making. And it was awesome for me to be able to get to know Debbie more because we've really never had a chance to sit and talk. So I think that that was one of also the perks of being able to work with each other on this movie.
Deborah Gibson: Yes I mean back in the day I - we were both kind of running so fast that running just as fast as we can to coin a phrase. And we would cross paths, doing a TV show here or there or whatever. But it was really like ships in the night. And like Tiffany said this was a chance for us to really work together. I know I speak for myself where I definitely developed a lot of admiration for Tiffany and her abilities and her work ethic and besides the fact that we just had a crazy good fun. Like at one point we were ducked under a table slathered in like whipped cream and banana cream pie and we looked at each other and went what? What is going on here? But yes I mean yes, we've been put in the same sentence forever and ever and we're - we - we're well aware that there are definite pop-culture fans out there that have wanted some - us to collaborate on something for a long time. And we're just happy to like give them what they want. We're giving the people what they want.
When filming the fight scene, how therapeutic was it given how much the media has made over the rivalry?
Deborah Gibson: I think it'll be more therapeutic for people to watch who have fantasized about that happening. I know that this is not what you want to hear but I really never did have the desire to slap Tiffany in the face.
Tiffany: Oh come on. No I've never had that either. I mean again going back to all this animosity and rivalry and that was...
Deborah Gibson: Who had time for that?
Tiffany: Yes I think you would get tired maybe of like talking about somebody so much that you especially don't know. I mean that was the whole thing. I never really spent time with Deborah before. So I was like well now I'm not going to ask your questions for me and her which is a lot. And you're 17. You're trying to work your career and take it all in. To be on set and then to have this whole cake fighting scene and stuff like that, it was just fun. I looked at her as like - and I do now. I look at her as like a sister kind of thing. There is that rivalry but not really. There's that love. So we've been together for a long time. Now it's coming full circle that we actually are developing a friendship.
Now there were so many young actresses and singers out there who were, you know, you read in the tabloids they're getting into trouble with the paparazzi catching them in compromising positions. Was the media scrutiny as intense when you were teenagers? And what advice would you give to young girls who are just starting to break into this - into show business?
Tiffany: Why I mean myself I don't think it was as intense with the paparazzi. Two things, I think for us being the child stars girl next-door it wasn't acceptable at that time to be out of control. I mean that really would've been a career ender. And I think we both knew that and respected it and we weren't those types of people. I mean I know for myself singing was my high. I just loved what I was doing. So I wasn't looking to deter from that. Now I think it is a little different because it's more about being seen and going to parties and clubs. And I think that the teen artists that, now have a lot more deterrence and a lot more leeway of what's acceptable. You really have to kind of be your own kind of consultant on that because I think that sometimes they're led astray at this point. But for me there wasn't paparazzi on every corner. I still had safety zones. My home was off limits. And I could do things where there wasn't somebody always there. Now somebody snaps a picture of you with their iPhone and it's everywhere.
Deborah Gibson: Yes I mean I think it's what Tiffany's saying too like I agree there it's - and it's both things. It's A we were more responsible. We were not seeking out fame for fame sake. We did retreat to our respective hometowns. And the paparazzi were not looking - even if the paparazzi were as bad as they are now they were not going to look to find me at a bowling alley or a roller rink on Long Island which is pretty much where I was in my down time, not very exciting for tabloid fodder. So yes, I'm mean the extent of it for me was like my street was closed off on prom night because the paparazzi - and graduation. They wanted to get a picture of me graduating and they wanted to get pictures of me going to the prom. That was about the extent of it which for them was a big deal. For now that's, you know, I mean I don't envy the teen stars growing up right now and having their every move being scrutinized. Like she said, I think we did make good choices. We were not partiers and all that. With that said nine out of ten teenagers are so if somebody is just going to want to grow up and develop at their own rate and in their own time it is a shame that their every move is documented. I mean God if every teenager's every move was documented. We'd be seeing a lot of scary stuff. But, that's why kids go to college and they experiment. And it's kind of a shame that there's really like nothing sacred anymore like she was saying. Somebody goes into a bathroom at a party and they're snapped on an iPhone and it's everywhere, it's really daunting. I don't know that I would have escaped with my sanity had I had to deal with that. I think that's a lot to ask of anyone to deal with.
Tiffany: Yes and I just think it was - it's a different time. Even videos what we wore, I mean I can or remember when I wanted to wear a short skirt and people went crazy.
Deborah Gibson: Oh I know for me it was wearing black. I wore all black and they were like she's in all black. Alert the media. What? Yes, yes funny.
Going back to the movie, what was it like doing these kinds of movies that involve special-effects and green screen technology when you're reacting to something that's not even there? Was that difficult for either of you?
Deborah Gibson: I thought it was really fun. You know what? It goes back to when you're a kid and you play and you use your imagination, which I think is a blast. You're picturing some giant creature that doesn't exist. You have no idea what it's really going to look like at the end. I still don't know what the creatures look like. I'm going to be as surprised as anybody else. And you're trying to work with your fellow actors so you're seeing the same thing. And for me I was like channeling the dog on - that lives down the street from me that I always hear from behind a gate but that I don't see and every time it scares the living daylights out of me when it growls when I walk by. You just tap into whatever it is that gets you to that place. But it's fun. It's like I used to watch Land of the Lost and stuff like that giant, really bad dinosaurs that were created and posed. So yes it was just fun and imaginative.
Tiffany: It is like just being in your backyard. I mean that's exactly what was happening for me. Because as a kid I was always in the backyard with my stuffed animals and living out and climbing trees and just I was always on, put it that way. So that's where I put myself. The best was having the director Mary Lambert say okay look, I know there's a huge gator that you can't see but it's huge. And you're saying oh look, look at the gator and some other kind of semi-cheesy lines. But I really want to see that in your eyes. So that was like the best instruction.
Deborah Gibson: Yes. She was great at - with all due respect to Tiffany and I, previous Syfy movies, the other megas and all that but, I think this had more thanks to Mary, and did have more of a focused tone. Not to make it sound like Shakespeare but it just she really did I think create a world in which all - we were all seeing the same things and feeling the same level of fear. And, as they say in acting class it's like not funny to the actors, funny to the audience. So the more we committed to the fact that we were really seeing these creatures I mean I think that's what's going to make it the most fun for the audience to watch.
We actually want to start sort of at the beginning of the movie and find out how you got involved with the film and, you know, the casting process?
Tiffany: I did. I did. You can thank me later or not.
Deborah Gibson: No I love it. I'm so thankful.
Tiffany: I think it was really good. Deborah had done Mega Shark which now, all these years later we have a lot of mutual friends and a lot of fans on my Facebook, her Facebook. So I think both of us are still very plugged into what the other person is doing. And so I was and I saw Mega Shark. I was like oh cool, again being a Syfy fan I thought that's really awesome. Then Mega Piranha came my way. I read the script and I thought I would love to do this. And I think I kind of want to do it for my fans as well but also my son who's 18, that's one of the only things we watch together. So it kind of was a cringe for him and a fun thing for me. So I went ahead and I did Mega Piranha. And then when I was in New York both films were very successful. I just wanted to come by the Syfy offices and say thank you for the opportunity, meet everyone. And as we were just talking and kind of brainstorming a little bit, the subject came up about Deborah and I may be doing something together. And I leapt at the chance. I said if you guys can make that happen I think our fans would love it. I know I would love it. I would love to do another movie. And we've yet to be able to really do something together. And everybody thinks it's going to be musical but yet we've never really been on the same page with that just for other projects and it just doesn't seem to work out. But maybe this is something that we really could do to gather and it would be fun, so kind of pushing the issues a little bit. And by the time I walked out of the office everybody was on board and now we just have to call Debbie.
Tiffany: So I was so glad when she said yes and it all came true.
Deborah Gibson: So yes for me I just basically got a call one day. And I was almost waiting for that call. I knew that when I did one and then she did one I figured at some point that it might come up. And yes same thing. I was like oh my God. I did go through a process with that. I thought is it too gimmicky? What will... And at the end of the day it just came down to what Tiffany said, and let's not overanalyze this. This is going to be a blast and it's going to be giving people what they want and we're going to have a great time. And I did a lot of projects this last year. And I just actually recently sent Tiffany an email saying that I really feel the most fun I had was working on this movie. It was the highlight of my year. It was so much fun I went into withdrawal when it was over.
Tiffany: It was kind of sad. I mean for me it was really just because, going back everybody's always thought that there was this rivalry thing. And then to be able to be sitting with her on set and just talk and talk about the next things that we want to accomplish and my son and, her relationship and just food and just all the normal things that people get a chance to talk about to really get to know that person was a highlight for me because I walked away going, there's a person that I have photos with all throughout my house people (unintelligible) that happened. But I can actually say we're friends now. I know something about her which it was - I think that was really great.
Deborah Gibson: I do too. This is a funny story actually. I recently read that Fergie does this too. I bring everything to my therapist. I'm like do you think this would be good for me? What do we think? He actually said to me, tell me about Tiffany's character. Like is she a woman of great character? And I said she is a woman of great character. He goes then you should do it. Because that, it is important that we really bonded and had a good time and had a shared work ethic, which we did. I think we do have all that. And I think we are both very "normal people" who take pride in having our real personal lives. And she's a mom, a great mom and that's a huge juggling act. I think we did really enjoy getting to know that about each other. But I think we have a mutual respect for each other as just as women at this point.
Tiffany: Definitely. I mean, also it's like we're different. We've always been different. And at times that was probably, I can say at 16, 17 that was a struggle for me because it was - she was so different from me. But as an adult I look at that and I've watched things that Deborah has done and I admire that. And I'm like oh okay, different is okay.
So the two of you have talked about the importance of being versatile. But talk about, you know, a lot of actors and musicians are versatile but they're not all relevant. The two of you have remained relevant all these years. What's sort of the secret to that?
Deborah Gibson: First of all thank you. I feel like, the relevant thing comes and goes. It's funny it's like ten years after releasing my first record I wasn't cool. And then when 20 years goes by you're relevant again and you're cool again. And things are just circular. So I think the key, it's like take a lesson from Cher. If you just keep doing what you do and wait for the type of comeback around instead of kind of selling out trying to be who you're not and chasing trends, I think if you just do your thing and you stay in the game long enough that that relevance thing just keeps coming back around. And I think that both Tiffany and I live in the real world. I know there's always the image from back in the day of pop princesses living in the bubble kind of a thing. I'll speak for myself but also even just in hearing Tiffany's new music and her writing I think we both have lived a lot of life and we will continue to live a lot of real life which keeps us connected to real people. And then you can always be relevant. You're always going to be writing about things that people are actually living as opposed to being kind of far removed.
Tiffany: And I think that's the whole thing is just live. For me I don't think about trying to chase down the success that I once had. I just do what's natural to me. I enjoy the process. There's times that I do sit back and go wow, would I really want all that craziness? As great as it is it's a lot. It's a big commitment to be on top of the charts and to just be everything to everybody all at once. Sometimes for me now I'm kind of like, I would love that because musically that's successful. But it's a tall order as a person whereas doing an album and then getting to go off and do projects and going home and being a mom and all this other stuff that I do with just living is a nice balance for me. Projects that I do now it's like I really put my whole heart and soul into it. And I also have some say and control in it. And it's great to see some of this stuff that goes even further than I had imagined and to be a part of that process whereas sometimes when you have the instant success it's just this thing rolling down the hill and you're just kind of going along with the flow.
Deborah Gibson: When you're younger it takes you for a ride. And I think as you get older you can actually do things on your own terms of little more and be in a little bit more control of that ride.
Tiffany: I don't think you can really sit back and try to -- not to cut you off -- but I don't think you can sit back and try to chase things. You have to just be and just live and like Deborah was saying, share in all these great examples that we both admire, just kind of do their thing and then they come full circle back around. One of my biggest people that I look up to his Bette Midler, Stevie Nicks, people that have had quite the years but they're always creating. That's kind of a chance to recharge your batteries and hopefully come back and have this renewed spirit about you.
You know, when we look at somebody like Lindsay Lohan for example I feel like despite what she's gone through is that she now has sort of a certain level of freedom in that, you know, whatever she does or stars in, you know, she can take the opinion that well people are not going to like me. They're going to bad things about me regardless. But, you know, the two of you are very well liked. You've avoided major controversies. Is it more difficult when you are sort of well liked? Is it more difficult? Is there more pressure to not disappoint your fans?
Deborah Gibson: Well yes I think it's funny because both Tiffany and I did Playboy for example. And you consider that. You say oh God people like to think of us as, virginal little teenagers and will this offend them. And so there is more to think about when you do have a "likable" persona if you will. It's almost easier to be scandalous and disliked you're right, because you then can kind of get away with anything you want. But with that said, I think you take that into consideration but then you can't be restricted either by carrying so much what people are going to think and so much like protecting some image or some persona that you had 100 years ago. Everybody grows, changes, evolves. So I remember when Playboy came up I thought oh my God, like I proclaimed back in the day that nudity is bad and I would never do Playboy. But, if we all lived by things we said when we were 16 we would never grow. It definitely is its own challenge when you are likable and you do have a "certain image." But for me I've chosen to not get stuck in that or let that really affect my choices to any great degree because at the end of the day I have to be happy with my choices and then people can like it or not. And luckily people have been very respectful of the fact that I do make my choices and stand by them. And then people whether they like them or not they'd still support the choices and me and similarly for Tiffany but Tiffany can tell you more about that.
Tiffany: Well I think, for me it's always been my fans have grown up. I mean they're always great when I have somebody who's 18 and comes up and rediscovers I Think We're Alone Now. And me for whatever reason maybe Fit Club and now Syfy that's always great. But the hard-core fan who has been with me since the Mall Tour days, that girl that bought the first jean jacket or the first Tiffany album she's now married with kids or has had divorces or is a full-time workaholic like me. There is so much more to bond with that person. So anything that I choose to do I think that it may not be of their liking but they get it. And I'm so grateful for my fans for allowing me to do those kinds of things. Because I talk about it a lot even when I hit the wall, I'm pretty open about whoops, you know? And that's just something that a relationship I've always kept with my fans and hopefully new fans to come. So for me it's kind of like we're all growing. We're all changing. Doing Playboy a lot of people were like well, that's not the way I see you and there's just some issues with that. But as I explain myself as an adult woman and isn't this awesome and I'm with a great bunch of women who've graced the cover of Playboy and what an honor really as a woman. There's a lot of women that by the end of the conversation go well I have to be honest with you I mean I wouldn't do it but I could get it. That is pretty fabulous. I'd just be too afraid. And that's a whole different thing. So, once you've kind of explained why and what your head was going through and what it is, an honor -- I'm sure Deborah feels the same way -- it's an honor to be asked to do that. When I'm 60 I'm going to look back at that and go yes I was hot for a moment in my life.
I was curious, are there any special preparations that you had to do for the role in Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid?
Deborah Gibson: I went and played with some snakes at the local nature preserve. I mean pretty much that was my goal and I ended up not having to really handle a lot of snakes. But I did want to find something likable about them, some reason why I was going to bat for them. And, physically I wanted to get in shape. But I almost wanted - I almost intentionally went for kind of a scrawny look because I think I was like channeling (Nicole Richie) when she was at her hippy chic I'm an activist. Because it's like it's a type. It's a stereotype. I'm so wired and I'm so into fighting for animal rights that who has time to eat. I just thought it would be kind of a funny stereotype to play with. And basically that's it. There wasn't a whole lot of time that we had with the script. The final script was coming in two days before shooting. That's kind of it for me.
Tiffany: Yes, I would like to say it was more in depth for me. And, I handled a baby alligator but that was just because I thought it was cool really. There wasn't some kind of method that I was going through to prepare for my role unfortunately. But for me I just kind of jumped in, both feet on the ground. I again, I'm a huge Syfy fan. And now I'm kind of addicted. And so I just showed up ready to work. I was thrilled when they had chosen Mary Lambert as the Director because I'm a huge fan. Syfy is awesome to work with. They're great people. Working with Asylum the production company, I did Mega Python and I did Mega Piranha with them. So they're kind of like extended family at this point. So it was just showing up going what are we going to do today. I really wanted to keep...
Deborah Gibson: ...preparation was, yes.
Tiffany: Not really it was just more, kind of feeling out Debbie I guess and kind of - everybody kind of expected this whole okay well we'll just take this and tippy toe of how we handle them. And that was really funny to me because I was like I think we'll be okay. I mean I don't really know but...
Deborah Gibson: I'm like we're fine. Yes we're the least of it.
Tiffany: We're going to be good.
Deborah Gibson: There was more drama with the stylist than there was with us.
Tiffany: They were more afraid of us than the pythons and the gators. I don't get it.
Deborah Gibson: So yes I think Tiffany's right. The biggest part of the preparation was to go in with an open mind ready for anything, game for everything which is how we both showed up every day. We were just both excited and ready for action.
I was wondering if when you guys signed up for the project if you ever push for having any songs in this movie or making it, you know, a mini musical?
Deborah Gibson: Well I don't think it would've been appropriate if our characters busted out into song. But, it's the idea of us doing music for it was always floating around or doing something together, possibly musically as Tiffany mentioned earlier. We're so different musically that that became a little more complicated. But as you might know, may or may not know we did end up, me in the 11th hour I literally wrote and produced a song about a week and a half ago. We ended up both contributing songs to the movie.
I also wanted to ask you guys what were respectively for each of you the most memorable part of filming this movie? I mean I know you mentioned the whip cream and banana pie underneath the table moment. Anything else?
Tiffany: That was probably most memorable for me. As an actress probably my breakdown crying scene. I wanted to kind of get that right and I wanted to use real tears. I wanted to really go there. So, I mean yes it's Syfy and that wasn't really something that was maybe required at that time. But I came wanting to learn. I mean acting is something I want to do more of. And so I know people aren't looking at this maybe going, I can see a vision for her. But for me I wanted to know that I could do. So there was a part there where my fiance dies. And I took a minute and I said just let me go there for a second because I don't want people to throw something in my eyes and make me cry. I feel I can bring it out. And I was very proud of myself that I could. And that it...
Deborah Gibson: Yes she went there.
Tiffany: ...you know, that it happened naturally.
Deborah Gibson: Really - she really went there. I mean for me too like the - seriously - and there might be Syfy - I don't know how many people are on this call. But I kept joking that there were a bunch of men sitting around at Syfy saying we want Tiffany and Deborah Gibson to rub whip cream on each other's breasts. How can we make that happen? Well we'll create a movie around it. And Tiffany has fabulous breasts so it was perfect. But really that seriously was probably the funniest most memorable day. I mean we were just - we were standing around all day in this gross crusty whip cream and banana cream pies and stuff. And again it just really kind of harkened back to like the Dynasty days. And, it really - that really was a blast. So that stands out. And yes I mean I think Tiffany had the more emotionally challenging role. And again people might not be thinking oh we're tuning in to see real emotion in this movie. But there actually is real emotion. And there is real acting happening. And I know, Tiffany really went there. She had a really hard job with that. So I really enjoyed watching her work. I mean because there is actual real acting happening. And anybody who tunes in and gets that will probably offer her another movie from it. So there is this really great combo in the film again of the effects and the camp and the (kitch). But there actually are real characters feeling real emotions too which is great which takes it to the next level.
I also wanted to ask you, I mean you talked a little bit about working with the CG creatures and everything. Do you guys recall any like funny mishaps on the set during those moments where you really had to tap into the imagination?
Deborah Gibson: I mean it was all funny like, you know, again it was all funny and not. But we had to find a way to not make it not silly. Because you're running for your life through the swamp from this fake creature. And I know a friend of mine happened to get cast in the movie who's from an acting class and so we kind of speak the same lingo. And we were just very much placing this creature in the same place and making sure that we were kind of seeing something real and there was real fear involved. And, it's wild. And at some points people got eaten by the fake creatures or whatever and you had to react to that. And you had to go to some place in your life where someone you love is dying. It's like you can't at that moment think of it oh it's this fake CGI alligator. You just have to go there.
Tiffany: Also, to be on set too with A Martinez and Kathryn Joosten. And when Kathryn's being lifted out of the SUV and the creatures getting - and we're holding on for dear life, it's like seeing that imagining all of that happening and not making it cheesy, but making it real. And also I don't know how Debbie felt but I was a big A Martinez fan, like I had a major crush on him. So when he walks up I was like...
Deborah Gibson: I was like oh my gosh I can't talk. So there's that whole other level. And then Kathryn, what else can I say about Kathryn? She's amazing. She has this very dry sense of humor, very cool. But I mean she's really doing it. So it was all of those things together. And then these creatures that you have to imagine I think for me the hardest thing was the death scene because again, this is your big going out in the movie. And there's these gators like biting at you and you're holding on for dear life. And that was kind of the challenge for me. All the other stuff was really just so much fun, oh gator, you know. It was kind of goofy and fun. But you couldn't show that. But inside I was like yes. But it was when you really had to be serious about it and imagine it for real and be scared about it for real and to have that terror in your voice, it took a little thought. It really did. I think that we pulled it off. I really am very proud. I've seen the trailers and I'm like oh yes okay, we look good.
Tiffany: Yes like wow it's just like a real movie and everything.
Deborah Gibson: I attribute that to Mary as well.
What was probably your most favorite part or scene of working on this movie?
Tiffany: For me it was - sorry. It was for - you would think it would be the pie and cake scene which was like fun. But for me it was the first scene when I was - we did the catfight when we did the slap and we had like, you know, this dialogue and stuff. Because that was my first time really working with Debbie and that was my first day on set. So I kind of came in with all these people and then we had to like smacked it down right away and do this fake slap and tell each other off. So, you know, the momentum leading up to that and on the - and just how I think we accomplished it was so much fun for me. You know, I got more comfortable along the way as the days progressed. But so that was my favorite.
Deborah Gibson: Yes I mean and mine was again like that scene into the whole big food fight scene. I mean I just that for me that food fight scene just goes down in history. Again it's just - it's like, you know, Three Stooges pies in the face but and, you know, again I just - I think probably like my most memorable moment like if I had like a little snapshot of a moment -- and I might've said this earlier -- I'm not sure but, you know, Tiffany and I were like - we were ducked under a table. The stunt doubles were doing part of the scene. We were popping up doing part of the scene. I just remember looking at each other shaking our heads like how did we end up here? This is the weirdest, coolest, craziest thing. You know, it was just like two girls, yes, again like, you know, meeting up with someone you haven't seen since high school. I mean we've seen each other but someone you go - you have history with. And we were just in this absurd situation. And, you know, that just made me giggle. It stands out for me.
A lot of actors and actresses they don't like to watch themselves on screen. How do you feel about that? Do you guys watch our movies after you've made them or do you stay away from them?
Deborah Gibson: I normally hate it. I really do. I mean I really I don't like - especially in film because it's a newer thing for me. I can watch myself back on like Broadway footage or a video but film I get a little uncomfortable. And I have to say in the looping session for this film I was maybe for the first time ever like really I looked at it and I went wow, I'm pleased with the way this came out. I'm happy with my work in this. And that's a really cool feeling.
Tiffany: Yes I mean because it's Syfy and for me, I mean not to discredit Ms. Deborah but, you know, the python and the gators are the stars. So I couldn't wait to check it out and see what they've done with these creatures. So I don't mind watching something like this, same thing with Mega Piranha. But on this one, you know, I think having both of us and there's just more going on. So I'm really excited about it. And also I have to say (Terry Groves), my makeup artist, when you're in good hair and makeup, you don't mind watching yourself. And she really - she hooked us up. I mean it was awesome. I'm like oh yes. With Mega Piranha, you know, my character really wasn't - she wasn't that kind of girl. So it was kind of nice even though I played a Park Ranger, the party scene I hold near and dear because I got to clean up well. So I'm very grateful for that.
Deborah Gibson: Yes we got to be a little - it was like sexy Syfy. And we did get to be glamorous. You know, (Troy) our DP hooked us up. Mary hooked us up. Like we - they made us look as good as can be. And it's pretty glamorous for a Syfy movie.
Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid premiered on Saturday, January 29 and will re-air on Thursday, February 3 at 9 PM ET on Syfy.