Jennifer and Meg Tilly have revealed that they were once caught up in a real-life theatre shooting.
The surprise admission came as they spoke to the Standard about their joy at finally getting to work together in the TV adaptation of Chucky.
It’s not every day that you get to talk to two Oscar-nominated sisters - Meg for Agnes of God in 1986, and Jennifer for Bullets Over Broadway in 1994.
While Jennifer is an open book, happily talking away a mile-a-minute, Meg is a lot more guarded and considered, occasionally shushing her sibling for disclosing something she’s concerned she shouldn’t have.
They make for a great double act, so it’s surprising that it has taken them so long to work together.
“We were always looking for a project. People were all saying, ‘Would you ever want to work with your sister?’ Of course, we would always say ‘yes,’ but we wanted it to be the right project,” Jennifer told us.
They had previously toyed with the idea of doing A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway, with Jennifer as Blanche Dubois and Meg as Stella, but that ultimately came to nothing.
There was also talk of them playing Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland, who were also Hollywood sisters. However, Fontaine and de Havilland infamously hated each other, so the project just didn’t sit right with Jennifer and Meg, who are close in real life.
Then, Chucky creator Don Mancini came up with the idea of writing Meg into the TV show.
Jennifer has played the role of Tiffany Valentine, the long-suffering sweetheart of killer doll Chucky, since the 1998 movie Bride of Chucky.
In the 2004 follow-up flick Seed of Chucky, Tiffany possessed the body of a fictionalised Jennifer Tilly and the consequences of that are finally explored in an episode of the TV show that features a party-turned-murder mystery with “Jennifer” at the heart of it.
Also along for the ride are Gina Gershon and Joe Pantoliano, who starred with Jennifer in movie Bound, plus Jennifer’s real-life best friend and the Real Housewives of Beverley Hills star Sutton Stracke, all playing heightened versions of themselves.
What better opportunity, therefore, than to introduce Meg into the mix?
But there was just one problem – Meg is afraid of horror.
Despite being a certified scream queen in her own right, with starring roles in One Dark Night and Psycho 2, she’s simply not a fan of the genre at all.
“I don’t like scary movies, even if I’m in them,” laughs the actress-turned-award-winning author, who nonetheless describes taking the gig as a “no-brainer” because of Jennifer.
“It was such a gift to work with my sister because I knew 100 per cent she had my back. All I had to do was look at her and she was so brilliant, I would just be in the scene because there’s no way you couldn’t.”
Next year marks the 25th anniversary of Jennifer joining the franchise and, while she says she loves it, she initially had some doubts.
“I remember, when I was deciding whether I should do Bride, Gina Gershon said to me, ’You should do it, because then you’ll have a franchise – every actor wants a franchise because you know, that’s job security,” she recalled.
“And I thought, well, Tiffany dies at the end of Bride of Chucky, I think it’s pretty much going to be one and done. But I did not understand Don’s catch-all phrase for bringing me back – voodoo!
“That’s the great thing about supernatural movies, anything can happen. Never say die!” adds Jennifer who, outside of acting, is also a champion poker player.
“It has been so much fun, I love the Chucky universe, we have the greatest cast and crew. The reason why people have never gotten tired of Chucky is Don’s a superfan – he writes what he would like to see as a superfan. He doesn’t want to get bored so he does a lot of weird twists and turns.
“A lot of people can’t say after 24 years that they love what they do. I’m so happy to go to work every day. I loved when Meg was on the set because it was so bonding, we’d ride home in the car together – she’d be like, ‘I got you some Smarties from craft service.’”
Working together also fondly reminded them of old times, the sisters reminisced.
Raised in a “hippie household” in Canada by their ex-theatre star mother-turned-school teacher, they moved to Hollywood together to make it as “starving actors”.
Shortly after arriving, however, they narrowly escaped a shooting.
“Remember when you took me to our first musical, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas [at the Pantages Theatre], and there was a shooter on the roof?” Meg asks Jennifer. “When we were leaving, we were singing the songs and they were like, ‘You’d better get out of here, there’s somebody shooting!’ and we were like, ‘What!?’”
“It was like, ‘Welcome to Hollywood!’ But we parked, like, five blocks away because we couldn’t afford to pay for parking. Yeah, so there was all of a sudden a shooter in the neighbourhood and we were like half-a-mile from our car,” recalls Jennifer, laughing.
“When we first came to Hollywood, we stayed in a little single apartment that cost $90 a month – furnished - and that was $45 each, which we thought was really expensive! And Meg would cook stuff for me and wash the dishes. Which was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s great having a sister’.
“Then I was really kind of sad when Meg ‘made it’ – she was a dancer in Fame – and had enough money to get her own $90 a month furnished apartment. It was nice that she was in the same building but I really missed the cosiness of us, like, in each other’s space.”
Meg stars in two episodes of Chucky season two, but will that be enough for the sisters? Especially with Mancini keen to do a musical episode should the series get picked up for season three, which both Tilly sisters enthusiastically say they would be down for.
“Who knows? Now that people see we have great chemistry together,” muses Jennifer, who jokes they should do their own reality TV show next.
“I loved working with Meg, I would love to do it again. It was the most amazing, special time and I’m really glad that we had the experience.”
Chucky season 2 begins airing in the UK from November 28 on Sky Sci-Fi.