Saturday, January 29, 2011
’80s idols end ‘rivalry’ for Syfy flick Debbie Gibson, Tiffany play foes fighting monsters
Jay Bobbin | Zap2it
It’s Debbie Gibson vs. Tiffany ... again.
The rivalry first arose at the end of the ’80s, even if it was fostered more by their bosses than by the former pop-music princesses themselves, and it’s resurfacing for the purposes of a new Syfy horror movie that debuts tonight. The singers-turned-actresses play opponents who face enemies of a much more reptilian nature in “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid.”
Gibson plays an animal-rights supporter who sets snakes free from pet stores, but they turn maxi-sized in the Florida Everglades, posing problems for the region’s alligators and an ecology-minded park ranger (Tiffany).
Directed by Mary Lambert of “Pet Sematary” fame, the project co-stars A Martinez (“Santa Barbara”), Kathryn Joosten (“Desperate Housewives”) and another musical blast from the past, ex-Monkees singer/drummer Micky Dolenz.
“I knew it would be high-end kitsch,” Gibson says, particularly when it came to her much-promoted catfight sequence with Tiffany. “At one point, we were hiding under a table because stunt doubles for us were ducking in and out, and we just had this moment where no words were necessary. We looked at each other and thought, ‘How on Earth did the two of us end up here?’ It was really funny.”
Tiffany recalls the scene was done “my second or third night on the set. Deborah had been filming for a week; I had a touring schedule that I couldn’t change, and she had to leave early, so it was awesome that we could get the scene done to begin with. It was a lot of fun, it really was. It definitely had that tongue-in-cheek kind of thing.”
Both Gibson and Tiffany have “Mega” horror-tale experience already: The former starred in “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus,” while the latter was in “Mega Piranha.”
Gibson reflects with a laugh, “I was pretty much waiting for that phone call (about continuing the franchise). I could see where it was headed, but I’m happy that this is a bigger and better thing.” Meanwhile, Tiffany says she’s “hoping there will be more ‘Megas.’ A ‘Mega Spider’ would be a freaked-out one for me because I hate spiders.”
Tiffany, whose last name is Darwish, reports “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid” was “my first time really working with Deborah. Back then, in the (two singers’ music) heyday, I worked a lot. I was always on the road or back in the studio, so there was no time to stop. We would cross paths, but it would be at an event or by sending notes to each other. We never got a chance to really hang out.
“There was also that competitiveness,” she continues, “because we were fighting for the same slots on the charts and the same audience. Maybe the people at our labels didn’t want us to be the best of friends, but they also didn’t inspire a lot of hatred between us or anything like that. At the end of the day, it’s a business, and she was my competitor at that time.”
With a catalog of singles including “Only in My Dreams,” “Lost in Your Eyes,” “Out of the Blue” and “Electric Youth,” Gibson also has done Broadway (“Les Miserables,” “Cabaret”) and was a judge on Fox’s short-lived “American Idol” spinoff “American Juniors.” She’s still recording, and if “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid” should open a new chapter of her career, that’s fine with her.
“People are nostalgic for anything that’s ’80s or ’90s,” Gibson reasons, “so it’s kind of a perfect time to have this kind of fun. I actually went to a nature preserve and got to know a couple of snakes before we started shooting.
“If there’s one thing I have to be convincing about in this film, it’s that I have a passion for these creatures. The truth is that I really wasn’t afraid of them at all. You just have to respect them ... and obviously, you want to keep their faces out of yours.”
Tiffany built her success largely by performing at shopping malls, with a cover of Tommy James and the Shondells’ “I Think We’re Alone Now” launching a career that also has encompassed the hits “Could’ve Been” and “All This Time.” Now based in Nashville, Tiffany also continues to record, but she maintains another aspiration.
“I would love to be working with Syfy more,” she says. “I’d love to get recurring spots on some of their series. I’m a ‘Star Wars’/‘Star Trek’ kind of girl, so anything involving space or aliens or monsters, I totally would be on.”
Making “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid” together not only rebooted whatever relationship Gibson and Tiffany have shared, but put it on a deeper level that both hope to sustain.
“The big thing that we have in common,” Gibson explains, “is that we take what we do seriously. We take care of our voices, and we take our performing seriously, but we get where we came from. We’re in on the joke, so we were really able to come into this with a sense of humor, and we just went for it.”
Posted by Natt at 4:58 AM