It seems there are simply not enough roles to keep up with the phenomenal talents of Tammy Gillis. Over the summer, she was busy filming the lead in Farpoint Films’ feature, “Menorca.” Next month, you can see her in Hallmark’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Truth Be Told” (September 13), Syfy’s “Continuum” (September 11), and the feature film, “No Men Beyond This Point” (Toronto International Film Festival September 10 – 20). Additionally, Tammy is producing, directing, and acting in Beyond Theatre Productions’ web series, “The Support Group.” But first, tonight you can watch Gillis in the third episode of UP TV’s runaway hit drama “Ties That Bind.”
“My philosophy is, if you think you can’t do it, then you’re right!” Tammy told Examiner in a recent interview. “This industry is not easy, you’ve got to break walls. It’s interesting because all of the projects that I’ve worked on over the last three months have been really different from a lot of what I’ve done previously.”
“Actors get typecast, so I’ve worked really hard with my representation to push them to constantly be thinking outside of the box for me,” she continued. “I’m always willing to take chances. If casting says, ‘We don’t see Tammy like that, at all.’ I respond, ‘Let me prove them wrong!’ I might do something drastic like totally change my hair color or cut it all off so they don’t really have a choice, they have to look at me differently.”
For instance, for her role in “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” Tammy dyed her hair darker. “What’s interesting is that I have found subtle differences in the way people treat me because of my hair color. When I was a blonde, people in stores would ask, ‘How are you today?’ but they wouldn’t really care about my response. However, when I was a brunette, they would look me in the eye and they seemed to really care. I also teach acting on the side — when I have time — and some of my students have said that I’m not as intimidating with brown hair,” she laughed.
Working as hard as Tammy does, doing back-to-back films and TV projects, can present several career dilemmas. One of them is the just-mentioned hair color issue. “I ended up booking ‘Menorca’ shortly after ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered,’ but when I first auditioned, I had blonde hair. The director called and he’s said, ‘So, you have brown hair now.’ I asked, ‘How do you feel about that?’ He replied, ‘I like it and I want you to keep it!’
Luckily, everyone this summer has been enamored with Gillis’ darker shade. If anything, it has made her even more appealing.
Another challenging aspect to working so hard is scheduling. “It was kind of a miracle that we fit it all in. Two days after I finished ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered,’ I started working on ‘Ties That Bind.’ Literally, the day after I wrapped that, I was getting on a plane to go to Winnipeg to shoot ‘Menorca.’ Then, I was getting on a plane two days later to fly to Victoria so I could shoot the next ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered.’ It was all back-to-back, which was crazy!”
One last complication that might trip a lesser actor up when working so much is keeping the various roles straight and separate from each other. In order to effectively evade that obstacle, the actress noted, “I found that I couldn’t focus very much effort on the next roll until I was almost done the one I was currently working on. Otherwise, I felt like I was crossing lines and things began bleeding into one another. I really just had to completely shed a role once I was done with it.”
When asked if there might be a type of character that she hasn’t had a chance to portray yet, Gillis responded quickly, “I’m pretty much a tomboy and I want nothing more than to book a detective series and shoot guns!”
In “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” Tammy came close to that goal. The actress plays Randilynn, “a dedicated Army medic who goes off on a fateful mission — and is never seen again.” “Playing that role was really cool,” she acknowledged. “Hopefully, that will get people to see that I am believable shooting guns,” she laughed.
And, speaking of guns, in tonight’s intense episode of UP TV’s groundbreaking “Ties That Bind” series, Gillis plays Carla Martin, a young woman who has the power to change Detective McLean’s life forever. [McLean is played by veteran actor Kelli Williams.]
“‘Ties That Bind’ is a police procedural, but it really focuses on family, which is such an interesting idea that Sheryl Anderson, the showrunner, came up with,” Tammy informed. “The leads really have become such a family on set. It was so great working with Kelli Williams and Jason Priestley (“90210”). Kelli kept reminding us that it’s not just about your character, she wanted us to keep the whole idea of the series in mind for every scene.”
Tammy couldn’t divulge much about tonight’s episode. However, Examiner was given the chance to preview it. There’s a reason why this show is breaking records and trending with every episode. “Ties That Bind” is a flawless drama with integrity and heart. Or, as Gillis puts it, “It will make you cry, it will make you angry, and then it will make you laugh and smile!”
Here’s an at-a-glance recap of upcoming shows and films where you can see Tammy Gillis:
• Tonight’s episode of “Ties That Bind” on UP TV
“No Men Beyond This Point,” which will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival (September 10 – 20)
• Syfy’s “Continuum,” which airs September 11
• Hallmark’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Truth Be Told,” which airs September 13
• Farpoint Films upcoming feature, “Menorca”
• Beyond Theatre Productions’ web series, “The Support Group”
With all that this talented actress has got going on, is there anything else she’d like to add to her list of credits?” “Well, my own series would be nice,” she concluded.
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