As anything-but-drab Olive, the gangster’s moll in Bullets Over Broadway, Jennifer Tilly earned an Oscar nomination — and got bumped off. With Bound, she’s back in color as Violet, another Mafia gal, and this time she not only lives, she also gets the girl, Corky, played by Gina Gershon.
1. Is it true you first read for the role of Corky?
Yeah, I got so excited by the idea of breaking out of the typecasting I found myself in. I wanted to get buffed up and not wear makeup and put the push-up bra at the bottom of my drawer.
2. But you agreed to play Violet anyway.
On a surface level somebody could say, ”There’s Jennifer Tilly playing another one of her patented sexpots.” But Violet is more pantherlike than kittenish. And I don’t think I’ve ever played anybody as smart as her.
3. Did you have to learn about lesbians for your role?
I didn’t do much research, but Gina was really gung ho. She went to all these clubs in San Francisco trying out Corky’s pickup lines. She’d say, ”We have to cut this one. I tried it last night, and it didn’t get any results.”
4. Such as?
”That outfit would look great on my bedroom floor.”
5. Did you have a say in your wardrobe?
I was bringing in almost all the clothes from my own closet because the budget was so low. Now I have to donate a dress to Planet Hollywood and Fashion Cafe and I’m like, ”But these are my clothes.”
6. Do people sometimes think you really are like your characters?
After I got nominated for an Oscar, I expended a lot of useless energy going ”I’m not ditsy.” But on talk shows I’m just so excited to be there I talk four times as fast as I normally do. So I think I contribute to it too.
7. Your sex scene is so forceful. Why did you play it that way?
We didn’t want it to be a Penthouse-y soft-focus male idea of what lesbians do. We felt it should be a strong flesh-on-flesh naked scene. Men do find it amazingly titillating, but that wasn’t our goal.