Interview with Tammy Gillis
(photos by Gil Photos
& Jenna Berman Photography)
1. I know you, but some people may not.
So could you please introduce yourself to the world?
”Hi Dee Criss and hello world! I am Tammy Gillis. I am a Canadian actress and producer, originally from a small town in Manitoba called McCreary. I am also a Scorpio.”
2. What was your first job in the entertainment industry?
Also, what did you do before that?
”The first job I booked in the entertainment industry was a commercial for Green Kids starring Lyle Lovett. I ate an ice cream cone and walked across a bridge. Before that, I was in university in pre-law. I had a couple of different jobs to help pay for university - I worked at the pool hall that was on campus and also had a job where I would go to the theatre and report on the audience’s reaction to the trailers. That was really the best job ever because I got to go to the movies for free and get paid!”
3. Did you study acting before getting into the industry?
”I sort of fell into acting. I am from a really small town in Manitoba and didn’t know anyone that was an actor so I didn’t really know you could have a career as an actor. A new teacher moved to our town, Mrs. Grimstead, and started a theatre program so I joined and found that I really loved it. Then after graduating high school, I moved to Winnipeg to go to the University of Manitoba and was scouted to model one night when I was out with friends. The modelling agency ended up signing me. I didn’t really love modelling but they sent me out for commercials also. I booked a couple and that peaked my interest so I started taking theatre classes as my electives, as well some acting classes with various teachers in Winnipeg. I started auditioning and booking jobs. I have trained with a lot of different teachers over the years and still coach on certain projects.”
4. If you could work with anyone you'd want,
who would that person be and why?
”Meryl Streep. Cate Blanchett. Kate Winslet. Diane Keaton. Jane Fonda. I could go on and on. I really admire their talent and the diversity in their careers, as well as the longevity.”
5. What does a normal day in your life looks like?
”I feel like every day is different. But that is an interesting question, especially over the past two years. It’s really changed a lot. If I’m working, I get up with enough time to ease into the day with some coffee. I try to get a quick rebounder (mini trampoline) workout. I am obsessed with it. Then off to work! I do vocal warm-ups in the car on the way there. Once I get to set, I head to my trailer and write my notes from the work I’ve done in the script on my sides. Usually the entire time I’m in hair and makeup, I’m reviewing my dialogue and the notes and choices I’ve made, depending on many scenes I’m in that day. But if I’m not working, the new normal for me, during the week, I get up at 5:45 am to look at what the stock market is doing. I’ve been learning about it over the past year, educating myself on investing and day trading. If I have any self-tape or voiceovers auditions to do, I’ll do these at around 8 am. Set up all the equipment, find someone to read for me, probably by zoom, then shoot the tape, edit it and send it off. By 10 am, I workout. Then I’m back checking the stocks for the last hour before the market closes. I might coach some actors on their auditions in the afternoon or if I get another audition, I’ll work on that. I’ve been doing a lot of pod walking or walking with some of the people in my bubble. I might do a little writing, I’m in a bit of a slump on the script i’m working on at the moment. I’ll try to find a new recipe to cook for dinner. I really love to cook. Watch a movie or some TV.”
6. Where is your favorite place to be and why?
”On the water. There’s nothing I love more than being on a boat. It’s so peaceful.”
7. If you could, what would be the one advice
you would want to give to your younger self?
”Invest your money!”
8. What is one of the best advice that you've got?
Who was the person that gave it to you?
”Best piece of advice regarding the industry was from Stuart Aikins who was a casting director here. He was very intimidating and you really had to work hard to earn his trust. I had been getting close on a bunch of roles that he was casting and I was terrified to ask but after I finished my audition I asked him what I needed to do to get those bookings since I’d been coming so close. His advice to me was . I went for it from that point on and started getting more and more bookings. I appreciated his honesty and kept that advice to this day!”
9. What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
”I’m really proud of my career as an actor. This industry is extremely challenging and I’m grateful that each accomplishment I’ve made leads to the next. I’m very proud of “Riverfront Romance”. I got an offer on the role and jumped at the chance to work with the director, Sean Cisterna and all the people at Vortex. It ended up being a really special experience, the entire cast and crew were just so lovely. I love to work as an actor so being on set every day is such a complete joy to me. I also learned a lot being an executive producer so am really grateful for that opportunity.”
10. If you could book any role in the next years to come,
what would that dream role be?
”That’s a tough question. I don’t have one specific thing in mind. I love to be challenged by new and different roles. There are a couple of roles I’ve read for lately that I would love to book. I would really like to book a series regular on a new, exciting show.”
(photo via Vortex Media)
11. You star and executive produce the movie Riverfront Romance.
Is there anything you can disclose about the movie,
your role and being an executive producer?
”Absolutely! The film follows Cara, played by myself, who has always dreamed of buying the Ridgecrest estate, an old turn of the century home nestled on the riverbank of her hometown. After years of hard work as a successful novelist she’s finally saved enough money to buy it all on her own, complete with an office overlooking the river where she can write her next novel. It’s a dream come true… until she discovers that Riley (Morgan David Jones), the project manager of a hydro corporation, is set to begin construction on a dam right in front her house, ruining its peaceful atmosphere, flooding the local swimming hole, and permanently altering the landscape of the town. Cara has 30 days to change Riley’s mind before they begin construction on the dam. This movie was beyond fun to shoot. I was so lucky to be working alongside the gorgeous leading man, Morgan David Jones, who is just an absolutely amazing human. He is so talented and kind and funny and generous. Keep an eye on him! I was really excited to finally work with the director, Sean Cisterna. I met him at the Whistler Film Festival a couple of years ago where we both had movies premiering. He is just the best! Being an executive producer was a great experience. The team at Vortex was incredibly welcoming and supportive. They are very much a little film family. I hope to work with them all again.”
12. You were part of an ensemble cast on both Siren and Van Helsing.
What was it like to work on such hit TV series?
”I really miss it! Especially working on Siren. We all became really close and I definitely made some life long friends. I was lucky to be on Siren from the start of season one all the way to the end of season three. I would have loved to have seen where Marissa would have ended up! Stepping into Van Helsing was a different experience as they had been shooting it for a couple of seasons already but it was so much fun! I really did not expect to have to be as physical as I was required to do. That bat-chete is no joke. I do not have much stunt fighting experience and we were shooting one of the fight sequences where I was one-on-one with one of the stunt performers, Ray Chan, for hours. Thank goodness I got a nap in at lunch because after shooting it for 6 hours, I was completely exhausted. And we still had 6 more hours to shoot. The next day, I literally could not lift my arms. It was totally worth it.”
13. What is the best part about life on set?
”The people. Seeing all these incredible people coming together to create something to share with the world is a really special thing. Every single person that is there is important to the production and it wouldn’t get done without them. That and craft service.”
14. In the end, is there anything you'd like to say to the people who support you?
”Thank you. Truly. I am so appreciative of the people that support me. You keep me going. The past couple of years have been so challenging for everyone and the support and kindness people have shown me is so greatly appreciated. Thank you Dee Criss for the interview and for your support!”
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Tammy Gillis is a Canadian actress. She is best known for her work on projects like: Riverfront Romance, Siren, Martha's Vineyard Mysteries, Torn: Dark Bullets, The Detectives, Van Helsing, 37-teen, The Sweetest Heart, Ghost Wars, The Arrangement etc.
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