I recently got the chance to talk to Tiffany E. Green about her role in ‘Silver Linings Playbook’. Here, Tiffany talks about how she got involved in the project and what it was like working with Chris Tucker on-set…
Hey Tiffany. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘Silver Linings Playbook’ is a dramady starring Bradley Cooper as Pat, a teacher who has a meltdown after finding his wife with another man. He truly loves her, but his actions prove rather “over the top,” and when he realizes it’s over, feels there’s nothing left for him to live for. Well, as life goes, in walks Jennifer Lawrence – (who plays “Tiffany”— coincidence? I think not!). Anyway, at this point they’re both patients in a mental institution but they forge a strong bond and eventually fall in love. The moral of the story is simply this: no matter how bad life seems, there’s always a silver lining, you just have to find it.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play Tanya, the girlfriend of Chris Tucker (Danny), and he is also a patient in the institution. I really enjoyed this role. Tanya is a young, beautiful and intelligent woman. She totally understands and loves Danny, in spite of his mental state.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
It all happened pretty quickly: I received a call from Heery Casting here in Philadelphia. They asked if I’d be interested in playing Chris Tucker’s girlfriend in ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, which took all of three seconds to respond with a resounding “YES!” (after pinching myself). I was then asked to forward as many pictures as I could to the office, and within five minutes, I received word that the director, David O Russell, had selected me for the role.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
Well, this certainly isn’t the first film that deals with this topic – (bi-polar)…and it won’t be the last. But this film is different from others I’ve seen because of the balance in its storytelling. It’s compelling, but not over the top; it’s funny, but not demeaning to individuals who suffer from this illness; it’s romantic, but there are aspects of it that are quite serious; and finally, it leaves those who might suffer from this illness with a sense of dignity, pride even. This film shows the intelligent side of those who might have such disorders. It shows the realities of life for those who suffer, the individuals themselves as well as their families, who often sacrifice a great deal on behalf of their loved ones who have such illnesses. In ‘Silver Linings’, you see the ups and downs, the ins and outs, the fighting, the laughter, the joy and pain….it’s just a really great film! And in the end, it just comes down to “hope” because (as stated): there is ALWAYS a silver lining.
The film stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher, John Ortiz and Shea Whigham – with David O. Russell onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
Outstanding! This has been an amazing journey for me. As an independent artist, I’m general on smaller sets. And I’ve worked with some great talent on those sets…but to see such talent (Robert De Niro?!) up close and personal, to share the same air, to see how they do it – on the spot and at a moment’s notice – is a remarkable experience! I need to say too that we always hear about the “divas” and the negative stuff that often goes into making a film on this stature…but I didn’t see any of that. I saw others, like me, doing what we all love to do – and I saw them master the craft! It was better than any workshop I’ve ever been to…nothing like it! What’s more: they all made me feel comfortable, like I was one of them. I think that comes from the top: David O. Russell is a gifted director, that’s a given – (just read the reviews)…but when the person in that position is also a kind person, easy-to-work with (but no “pushover” by any means!), then those working under him follow suit. I think it sets the tone on the set….It absolutely worked on this one.
Anecdotes wise, I can’t think of anything specific off-hand, but because I spent a lot of time with Chris Tucker (as his girlfriend), I can tell you that he is absolutely one of the kindest and funniest human beings on the planet! There was never a moment where he didn’t have a kind word…and an underlying joke to go with it. He truly is a gem to work with.
Let’s talk a bit about you Tiffany. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
I’ve always had a passion for acting. I was very affected by what I saw on-screen. Growing up, I would act out all the characters in my favourite film – the original ‘Sparkle’, with Irene Cara! I’d spend hours in my room acting out the script – and singing (but only in private)…and I realized I had a knack for it. Once I discovered that people were genuinely entertained by my antics, I started seeing the realities of what and who I could become. The art of storytelling is such a great honor – humans have been doing it for eons. Think about it: to tell a story ‘just so’ and to relate it to people who can feel it, as if it was happening to them – at that moment! As an artist, the very thought of it touches my soul; it inspires me.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
I would say follow your heart, and no matter how long it takes, don’t stop. Also, if acting is something that you truly love, it will never rest inside of you, until you pursue it; you need to know that, and be okay with it, going in. Lastly, appreciate every role that you are offered, whether it’s a featured character, with or without dialogue. Every character is an asset to the film. Celebrate each and every moment!
What’s currently on your I-Pod right now?
Okay, don’t judge me, but I actually don’t have one. I listen to music on my I-Pad. I’m an old soul. I enjoy ‘old school’ music like the Whispers, and Enchantment – but I’ll turn up the volume with Beyonce and Rihanna, too. And I enjoy all genres of music: R&B, jazz, hip hop, some pop and even some rock and country. I just love music.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
I would have dinner with Oprah, a successful black woman who came from nothing and has become a billionaire and who’s respected by some of the most powerful people in the world. Also, it would be an honor to meet Viola Davis, who is a classically trained actress and has such a strong presence in all her work. I would ask her tons of questions, too many to write here, but overall, I would ask her to be my mentor. LOL. There are also several directors I would like to meet. I would love to sit down with David O. Russell (yes, again). LOL. And of course, Steven Spielberg, a man whose movies I have watched over and over again. I believe I’ve seen every movie he’s ever directed. I love his style and vision; I would get into that head of his and find out what he looks for during his selection process, what he tells the casting director, how he sees a particular character… and then I’d pop up on set and knock his socks off at the next audition! LOL.
If you could choose a literary character to will into existence, who would you choose and why?
I can’t say the literary character (because there were so many), but rather the author of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, Harper Lee. I guess I could say the character would be Atticus Finch, but then you couldn’t mention him without Tom Robinson; or you couldn’t mention Atticus without bringing up Scout…and you definitely can’t talk about Scout with trying to figure out “Boo” Radley. All these characters were so different from one another but interwoven…like a beautiful quilt. I would LOVE to ask Harper Lee, ‘What did she know and when?’…to be able to write such a meaningful and elaborate classic as that literary piece! Did she write it merely for entertainment, or did she intend for it to be the timeless classic that it is today? It still haunts me that a white woman – who grew up in the South during a time of civil upheaval – could relate to blacks in such a way that this book actually changed lives! What did she know and who taught her such? Her life story is compelling to me. She was a remarkable woman and I hope we never forget the great work she’s done and what it means for us even today.
What’s coming up for you in 2012/13?
I will have my first TV appearance next month on the Biography Channel on its #1 Show, ‘Celebrity Ghost Stories’. I will play the lead character, singer Angie Stone. Also, in spring of 2013, I have a supporting role in ‘The North Star’, playing a principal role as a plantation slave. The film is just one more story that should be told…of our ancestors and where we came from. There are far too many stories yet to be told, so I feel privileged to be a part of this one. It stars Clifton Powell, Lynn Whitfield and Keith David. Thanks so much for allowing my voice to be heard. I truly appreciate it and I won’t forget your consideration of me.
Thanks for the interview!