Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Jennifer Tilly Reveals The Unusual Way She Wants Her Chucky Character To Die (For Real) - Exclusive Interview

Jennifer Tilly has done it all in Hollywood. Over the course of her 40-year career, she has been nominated for an Oscar for Woody Allen's 1994 "Bullets Over Broadway." She became a queer icon with her 1996 role in "Bound." And she has been lending her voice to Seth MacFarlane's animated sitcom "Family Guy" for 25 years. But for many fans, there's one role that stands out above the rest: her portrayal of Tiffany Valentine from the Chucky franchise.

The killer doll named Chucky was first introduced to the world in 1988 when the original "Child's Play" was released in theaters. Since then there have been six sequels, one reboot, and a "Chucky" TV series that premiered in 2021. Of those, Tilly has starred in four films and the series, resurrecting Tiffany each time since her debut in 1998's "Bride of Chucky."

Created by "Child's Play" mastermind Don Mancini, the "Chucky" series has delighted fans of the franchise, with the first half of Season 3 earning a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes when it comes to critical reviews. (Due to side effects of the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, Season 3 was split into two parts, with the first four episodes airing in October of 2023 and the final four episodes set to premiere on April 10 on USA and Syfy.)

During an exclusive interview with Xoop, Tilly talked about what makes the Chucky franchise so timeless, why her first day on the "Bride of Chucky" set was so memorable, and how she hopes Tiffany's story will end if and when her time is finally up in the franchise.

The secret to Chucky's success is never phoning it in

You first appeared in "Bride of Chucky" 26 years ago, and that film basically launched a new era for the franchise, really setting the tone for future installments. Why do you think Chucky has been so enduring?

Twenty-six years ... time flies. I think the key element is Don Mancini, who created Chucky when he was in college, and he's been with the Chucky franchise for 30 years. He's written all the scripts. He directed the last two movies and executive produced all three seasons of "Chucky."

When I agreed to do "Bride of Chucky," I never thought it would have legs because my character is horrifically murdered at the end. I was like, "OK, well, that was fun." So, when Don called me up a couple years later and said he wanted me to come back and do more Chucky, I was astonished because I was like, "Wait a minute, didn't my character die?" I was unprepared for the fact that, in the Chucky universe, nobody ever dies. Chucky gets killed every episode [of the series] and he always comes back to life. So, it's been a wild ride.

It's endured because Don is never like, "OK, let's crank another one of these things out for the paycheck." He loves Chucky so much. He's a super fan. So he goes into it thinking "What would I want to see as a fan?" When he came up with the idea of bringing back Alex Vincent's character, the little boy in ["Child's Play" and "Child's Play 2"], for the series, the studio gave him a big list of people they thought could play the character. And he went, "No, Alex is going to play the character. He is the character." Don insisted, and he was right because the fans loved it. They went crazy when they saw that the little boy was back and out for vengeance.

When he brought back Christine Elise, who played the babysitter, they loved that too. They love that he respects them and respects the trajectory of the character. He never does that thing they do in other franchises where it's like, "We'll just forget this person ever existed" or "This person has three kids now instead of two." He really feels like there should be structure and logic in the world of Chucky.

When I came into the franchise, I think that ushered in the camp era of Chucky because Tiffany, while she's glamorous and funny, is also campy and like a female drag queen. People really loved my character. The franchise always had a lot of humor, but perhaps a different kind of humor. But Don and I have the greatest time coming up with things for Tiffany to do. When he came up with the series, I was like, "How's Tiffany going to fit in?" Because the series is very much a small-town coming-of-age story about two young lovers, but it all works. You've got crazy over-the-top characters and then you have very subtle, hyper-realistic characters, and they all somehow come together and make this great Chucky stew.

Tilly hopes Tiffany's story never ends

In terms of the Chucky films, what has been your most memorable moment on set?

When I did "Bride of Chucky," it was such an experience because I'd never worked with a little animatronic doll before. I remember during that scene where I'm stitching Chucky together, I was going to put an eyeball in him and I said, "I think it would be really good if I put the eyeball in my mouth," which is very illogical. But Don loved it. He handed the eyeball to somebody and said, "Go wash this." So when I put it in my mouth, it was covered with Windex because they didn't know I was going to put it in my mouth and someone just sprayed the eyeball with Windex. It was a surreal moment.

Some people asked, "How can Chucky see?" Because they shot it from Chucky's point of view, his little hollow socket looking at me and I opened up my mouth and the eyeball popped out. And it was like, "What do you mean how can Chucky see? He's a doll. It's voodoo. Chucky can see anything. He doesn't need eyeballs to see." So, I do remember that particular moment, which was my first day on set.

Also, when Don had me cradle Chucky in my arms and I'm falling back in slow motion with him, it's a beautiful little dance. But for filming, they had me sitting up and then they reversed it in slow motion. So it looks like I'm falling down with my lover. And that was also my first day, and it was pretty memorable.

As you mentioned, Tiffany has already died, but if she ever meets her true final demise in the franchise, how do you hope she goes out? How do you hope her story ends?

I want Tiffany to be happy. I think perhaps her story could end with her wanting to give up the life of murder and mayhem and move to Iowa with Glenn/Glenda and become a good mother and grandmother and just fade into the sunset.

[Actor] Devon Sawa gets killed every season on "Chucky." He has spectacular kills. There was an exorcism last season and his body exploded and his head flew off into the universe. But I don't think I would want Tiffany to have a spectacular demise. I love her so much, I just want her to be happy. But the more Don loves you, the more grotesque your murder is. So if Don comes to me and says, "I figured out a way for Tiffany to be blasted off into outer space." I'd be like, "Thank you, Don." I know that's a compliment.

But I think Don is always going to find a little place for me in the franchise. Even if it's Chucky going past me when I'm 91 years old, homeless outside of 7-Eleven, and Don gave me that part because I can't walk anymore. Like, "Jennifer, why don't you just lay here and ask Chucky to give you some money."

"Chucky" Season 3 Part 2 premieres April 10 at 10 p.m. on USA and Syfy. This interview has been edited for clarity.