Debbie Gibson. Tiffany. Python. Alligator. Nothing could conceivably make a movie containing all of these elements any better, right? Well, what if we told you that the python was a mega python and the alligator was a Gatoroid? You'd pretty much have egg on your face, wouldn't you?
1980s pop music sensations Debbie Gibson and Tiffany join forces for the first time on screen in the latest scifi thriller from the folks behind similar "mega" telefilms, The Asylum. Ms. Gibson previously appeared in The Asylum's campy cult classic, Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, while Tiffany was bravura incarnate in Mega Piranha.
In Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, Gibson plays a fanatical animal rights advocate who "liberates" illegally imported exotic snakes from pet stores and sets them loose in the Florida Everglades. Not to be outdone, Tiffany plays an overzealous park ranger who is so worried about the growing ecological damage in said Everglades that she injects her precious alligators with a steroid formula that makes them grow MEGA! A war of the species – between snake and alligator and between Gibson and Tiffany erupts – threatening to end civilization as we know it. Can Gibson and Tiffany stop chickfighting long enough to work together to restore nature back to normal or will it be armageddon for us all?
USTOWNHALL SPEAKS TO DEBBIE GIBSON AND TIFFANY:
USTH: Now that New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys are going out on a tour together, what do you think about the two of you doing some kind of musical tour together? Would you ever want to do something like that?
DEBBIE GIBSON: Well, yes, I mean for starters we're doing an appearance together this weekend at the Canal Room in New York. I don't know how Tiffany feels about this but, I've always wanted to reestablish my next chapter in music before doing that. And in a way that's what New Kids did. They had this incredible new hit album which established who they are currently, and now they're pairing up. So, I could see things possibly going in that direction. I'm somebody who takes one step at a time and I never say never. If something comes up and it interests [her and me], I'm sure we would both entertain it. I think if it deterred us each from our individual musical goals and it wasn't right then we wouldn't. I'm certainly open to entertaining anything. I mean, who would've thought this movie would've come up and we would have gone, "Sure." Tiffany and I and alligators and pythons – okay. You could never have even envisioned that coming up. So, yes, I'm open to it if it's the right thing at the right time.
TIFFANY: Definitely, I agree. As of right now, musically, I'm headed into a country direction. I've got a new album coming out next month called Rose Tattoo. It's a totally different sound than "I Think We're Alone Now" and the pop stuff. I haven't abandoned that, but I kind of put that into the new sound as well. So, I think if it's for the right reason, and it shines a bright light on it, it would be a great thing. Again, going back to the fans, I think that they deserve it, and they would appreciate it, but it can't take away from what we're doing currently now. It has to be something that embraces that as well.
USTH: There are so many young actresses and singers out there whom you read about 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 show business?
TIFFANY: 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 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 now have a lot more leeway [in terms] of what's acceptable. You really have to be your own 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.
DEBBIE GIBSON: Yes, I think it's what Tiffany's saying too – I agree it's – and it's both things. It's [also that] 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, 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. I don't envy the teen stars growing up right now and having their every move being scrutinized. Tiffany and I, 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 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 a different time...
DEBBIE GIBSON: Yes.
TIFFANY: ...even videos what we wore. I mean, I can remember when I wanted to wear a short skirt and people went crazy.
DEBBIE GIBSON: Oh I know...
TIFFANY: ...so 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.
(l-r) Tiffany, Debbie Gibson
[Photo Credit: NBC Universal / SyFy]
USTH: Regarding the movie, Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, what was it like doing this kind of movie that involves special effects and green screen technology where you're reacting to something that's not even there? Was that difficult for either of you?
DEBBIE 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...
DEBBIE GIBSON: ...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 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. 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."
DEBBIE GIBSON: Yes. Mary was so great at giving us...
TIFFANY: So that was like the best instruction.
DEBBIE GIBSON: Yes. She was great. With all due respect to Tiffany's and my previous Syfy movies – the other megas and all that – I think this had more thanks to Mary – and did have more of a focused tone.
DEBBIE GIBSON: Not to make it sound like Shakespeare, but she really did, I think, create a world in which we were all seeing the same things and feeling the same level of fear. And, as they say in acting class, it's not funny to the actors, [it's] 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.
USTH: I know, Debbie, you've done a lot of theatre here in the United States and in England. So you have any plans to do any more? And, Tiffany, would you also be interested in doing live theatre – musical theatre – of some sort?
DEBBIE GIBSON: I'm waiting for the phone to ring for them to call us to do Velma and Roxy together in Chicago. I'm just saying. I'd like to do more. I think I'll do theatre my whole life. Women like Patty LuPone and Betty Buckley – they're as much heroes to me as Elton John and Billy Joel. With that said, unless it's something really, really amazing or originating a role, I want to focus on my music, and I'm doing a new album also this year so that'll be the prime focus.
TIFFANY: I would love to do something on Broadway. That's one thing with Deborah I went – I've seen you twice...
DEBBIE GIBSON: Yes.
TIFFANY: ...on Broadway and she's amazing. And so it's always funny because I always bring my son and he never comes to anything I do but he'll go to see Debbie Gibson. But, that's definitely something I would love to do. And I'm going to be seeking that out. Musically again, I'm doing the new album this year and doing a lot of touring off of that. But I have a lot of goals and dreams and things that I want to do. I want to continue in the acting world. I'd love to do more scifi. I'm just really such a fan, and there's just so much more that now I'm addicted, so there's no stopping me.
DEBBIE GIBSON: Yes, and that's another good point. You were asking me earlier for advice for young people in the business and stuff: Stay open to doing all these things and be versatile and make sure your chops are developed in every area because to have a long sustainable career – that's why Tiffany and I are still here doing this because we've been able to be versatile and do new things. And for me, I know when the music trends were doing one thing, I was able to go do Broadway. There's no role I want to do [now] on Broadway, [so] here we are doing this Syfy film. It's like you can always be challenged and be working and enjoying and that there's never a dull moment...
DEBBIE GIBSON: ...and, it's so great to hear Tiffany say, after 22, 23 years in the business. it's like. "Oh my God, I've got this whole new chapter of dreams and goals," and all of that, and I'm in the same place. And that's so cool because we could be sitting here, going "Ho-hum all right, time to pack it in."
TIFFANY: Well and I think, too, that there's something about when it's in your blood as an artist. I know for me there's never been a plan B. I've been...
DEBBIE GIBSON: Me too.
TIFFANY: ...singing since I was a little girl. I'm so thankful that it worked out because I drove my family nuts. Add I'm constantly not driving myself crazy like what am I going to do, that panic situation. It's – I really am dreaming. I have dreams and goals and things that I can see myself wanting to do. And I've always been that way. So there's never a ho-hum moment for me. There's times that things don't work out the way I planned, but such is life. And, especially, I think it's magnified maybe in this industry. You have to be resilient for that. But, as an artist, it's like I will sing even if I'm just in my shower. It's got to come out. So, to be able to have these opportunities I think that's why I always think, "It sounds great. It sounds fun, and it sounds like I can grow as a person." So I'm always thankful and I never – same thing what Debbie was saying – I never have a closed mind about things.
USTH: Thank you for speaking with us today, and good luck in the future. I'm sure good things are going to happen for both of you.
Mega Python vs. Gatoroid airs Saturday, January 29, 2011 at 9pm on SyFy.