Chucky star Jennifer Tilly joined Andrew Goldman on the latest episode of Los Angeles’ podcast, “The Originals.” In the episode, subtitled “Kegel tricks, poker problems, decades of sex with evil plastic,” the Oscar-nominated actress discusses her dirt-poor childhood on a rural island in Canada up to her current fabulous life as a jewelry-collecting, poker-addicted lover of “glitter and glamour.”
Below are four key takeaways from the career-spanning interview.
It wasn’t a total surprise when both Wachowskis transitioned. Tilly co-starred with Gina Gershon in 1996’s lesbian thriller Bound, the debut feature of The Matrix directors the Wachowskis, who now both live as women. “They were both married and very masculine, very macho back then,” Tilly said. “But these were the best two parts for women I’d ever read and I remember Gina said, ‘how can two men write such a beautiful love story for women and understand women”’ So now in retrospect it makes sense.”
She now questions her decision not to have children. Tilly, who was married to the late co-creator of The Simpsons, Sam Simon, from 1984 to 1991, says that Hollywood provided numerous examples for why kids were career killers. “I remember Robin Wright got the lead in Robin Hood, and then she got pregnant and she had to drop out,” Tilly said. “And Annette Benning lost the part of Catwoman that Michelle Pfeiffer ended up doing because she got pregnant and it derailed her career, briefly. So, I was like, ‘I must never get pregnant because when I’m about three months Scorsese is going to come calling, and I will have to say no.’” Her longtime boyfriend, 49 year-old professional poker player Phil Laak, told her recently they should consider adopting kids, an idea that seems absurd to the 63 year-old. “I’m like, ‘Honey, that ship has sailed. Sailed! I don’t want to spend my declining years looking for a good pediatrician.’”
Huge checks from The Simpsons means she doesn’t have to work, but she’s recently discovered a reason to keep acting. Her divorce settlement from Sam Simon entitled her to a third of his Simpsons earnings, which he once said totaled tens of millions of dollars per year. “I used to do a lot of movies because the roof was leaking, or to pay for the plumbing, and now I don’t have to,” Tilly said. “I thought I’d lost my desire to act. But when [Chucky creator] Don Mancini called me and said we’re doing the Chucky series, I showed up on the set, I did my scene, and after I finished doing it, the crew all started clapping. And then I realized I was so happy. I’d thought, I’m so past that where I need validation from strangers. But I realized, no, I really do need validation from strangers. I forgot how much I love that.”
Her family is concerned she’ll lose everything to the “family vice.” Tilly, who has spent years playing poker professionally, recently learned that gambling addiction runs in the family of her late father, Harry Chan, whose grandparents emigrated from China. “My grandparents on my dad’s side were really, really rich,” Tilly said. “My Aunt Marie told me that when my great grandparents came to America, they came first class and were very, very wealthy. And my grandfather was going to UCLA to study medicine and he had to cut his studies short and fly back to China because his brother had gambled away the family fortune. My Aunt Marie was like, ‘Oh my gosh, she is going to succumb to the family vice.’”
See Jennifer Tilly in USA/SYFY’s Chucky. The entire first season is currently available on the SYFY app. The series was recently renewed for a second season.
Listen to the entire episode of “The Originals” With Andrew Goldman RIGHT HERE.