An Interview with Tucky Williams – By Nic Brown

 A tall, sexy, blonde with a sword in her hands leaps into the midst of a mass of zombies approaching a small group of survivors. The survivors watch open-mouthed as she proceeds to dispatch the creatures almost effortlessly with the weapon. When she seems to grow tired of that sport she simply drops a stick of dynamite into the horde blowing them to bits and ending the threat, for the moment. All in a days work for Vix, the bad-assed-beauty in Mark Poole’s indy-zombie-epic: Dead Moon Rising. However, as interesting as the character Vix may be, Tucky Williams, the actress behind the sword wielding heroine is even more intriguing.

If you are fortunate enough to meet this native of Lexington Kentucky, you might notice that she has a certain energy about her. It’s hard to define, but this young woman seems to radiate confidence, intelligence and enthusiasm. These traits are only confirmed when you start to speak with her, and be prepared, you’ll find yourself talking about everything from zombies to philosophy, and don’t be surprised when her eyes light up and she almost seems to glow when talking about certain subjects such as her Yoga. That’s all part of her charm.

Tucky recently sat down with B-Movie Man Nic Brown and discussed some of her passions, her opinions and why being called a professional is as much a warning to others as a complement to her acting.

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Nic- Tucky, you’re one of the stars of Mark Poole’s new horror/comedy Dead Moon Rising. Can you tell us a little about your role in the film?

Tucky- I play Vix and she’s someone who does not fit into the normal world very well. She’s a strong female and as such she’s not accepted by our society. A lot of times women aren’t allowed to be themselves, and she is someone who is very much herself so she’s an outcast. Of course then zombies take over the world and all of a sudden they [society] need her to come in and save the day.

Nic- So do you think that a zombie apocalypse is what the world needs to help the women’s movement?

Tucky- (Stunned silence followed by laughter) NO! What we need are more people identifying themselves as feminists, including men. (Laughs again) An apocalypse is definitely not the answer. However, films like Dead Moon Rising that feature strong female characters who aren’t afraid to be themselves, that’s an excellent start.

Nic- Well I can’t argue with you there and your character, Vix, definitely qualifies as a strong female character. Changing gears a little bit, I understand that you are from Lexington, Kentucky. As an actress, what do you think of the opportunities available in this part of the country?

Tucky- (Laughing again) They’re not very good. That isn’t to say that there aren’t any out there, and they are improving in the Central Kentucky area, but right now they aren’t great. You have to be careful as well. When the opportunities do come along you have to make sure it’s a worthwhile project. I mean, you don’t want people to find your work sitting on a shelf fifty years from now where it’s been collecting dust and then they say “Oh my God! What is this?” I guess that’s an indirect answer to your question about opportunities for actors and actresses in this area.

Nic- What about working with Mark Poole on Dead Moon Rising? I was very impressed by the quality of his film and it was made here in Kentucky.

Tucky- Oh me too. I’m very proud of that film. Mark is just incredibly professional and he works with professional people. More importantly than anything though is that I feel respected as an artist when I’m working with Mark. People like Mark are the ones helping create the opportunities in Kentucky for filmmakers.

Nic- Speaking of professionals, that is exactly how Mark describes working with you.

Tucky- (Smiling) That’s a bit of a joke between us. He calls me a professional not just as a compliment, but also as a warning. When I’m on the set I stay in character and apparently that bothered some people (Laughs).

Nic- You being in character bothered some people?

Tucky- Well I think it was a combination of things, but in my costume I looked like this really pretty girl, cutesy and like I’m going to be really friendly. I’m quiet, reserved, I’m not chatty and I think it threw people. Also, there were a couple of confused individuals who thought they could say inappropriate things to me and I put them in their place and let them know how it was and that was kind of devastating for them (Laughs again). So calling me professional is Mark’s way of warning people that I take myself and my work seriously and that I’m not to be messed with.

Nic- What was one of the most challenging scenes for you to film in Dead Moon Rising?

Tucky- (Grinning slyly) I’ll tell you the truth, the hardest scene was one where this extra just wouldn’t stop smiling at the camera. This person was a zombie and they were supposed to be getting killed but we ended up shooting it over and over again. It was this really hot day and we were in this old garage that was lined with poison ivy so we couldn’t even sit down and lean against the walls or anything. We had to just keep waiting inside this uncomfortable place while she kept running by and getting killed and smiling the whole time! That was the only time I lost it. We were all so tired and so hot and someone couldn’t stop smiling at the camera.

You know though, yeah it was tough and it was intense work, but really everything I got to do was so much fun. I got to be on that great bike, I got to make out with Erica and that guy (laughing) and I had to that in front of my Mom! I never did ask him [actor Jason Crowe] about how he felt making out with me in front of my Mom because she was on the set that day. I mean how much did that have to suck for him. (Laughing more) Oh and she was right next to him too.

Nic- So no pressure for Jason at all then right?

Tucky- (Laughing) He did seem really nervous kissing me on set. He wasn’t showing it, but I got to know him and we hung out and I could tell he was nervous. I picked him up during that scene. Did you notice that?

Nic- Yeah I did, that was unexpected.

Tucky- I know (Laughing) it was great. I totally picked him up by his butt! He was very cool about it though and pretended not to mind.

Nic- So what was it like to work with some of the other actors in Dead Moon Rising.

Tucky- Mike [who played Nick] just blows me away. He’s a crazy fuck and I say that with the utmost affection. That is the only way to describe him. He is a real actor and it’s just tremendous to get to work with him. He just has this light coming off of him. I mean he walks into a room and everyone looks. He’s a movie star. On my myspace page there’s a picture of me with him and on the caption I put “Me with Harrison Ford” because that’s what it feels like to work him.

Then there’s Jason [Crowe]; he’s a sweetheart and I love him. (Tucky leans in and in a conspiratorial whisper continues) I heard that everyone thought that we were hooking up or something. Everyone acted like it was this horrible secret. We were affectionate and I consider him a friend, but he seemed to be the only one that understood that I was in character. I think he even went around telling people later that “she’s in character” so they’d leave me alone.

Nic- What about some of your other films? I know Vix isn’t the first character you’ve played.

Tucky- Well In Shadow of Light was my first film. I played Dana, the female lead. That one hasn’t come out yet. I also did a movie called Blink and I’m really proud of my work in that because I’m known for playing this really tough, butch character in Dead Moon Rising and in Blink I play this little married straight girl who’s really bubbly and talkative. I’m proud of that because when people see that they are surprised that my tone and demeanor can change so much. My Mom liked that role so much better too. (Laughs) I also did a pilot for a TV series. Oh, and I’m doing Dead Moon Rising 2.

Nic- I’d heard that was in the works. Can you tell us anything about Dead Moon Rising 2?

Tucky- I don’t know anything about it yet. I’m just waiting for Mark to call me in to act. That’s what I want to do is act. I don’t want to produce this thing and I definitely don’t want to direct it. I just want to act. I feel like so many people start out and act in one film and then they want to act and do something else, or as many things as they can at once on a film. I feel like when you do that too soon, the film suffers. So I’m very happy and proud to say that I don’t know anything about what’s going on from the whole business side of the film. I don’t have a clue about the pre-production. I’m just excited to show up and do my part.

Nic- Any idea when that will be?

Tucky- Nope and that’s kind of bad because I do need to know when to stop eating peanut butter pie and start training because I want to look good. I want to look even better than I did in the first film. So that’s why I want to know.

Nic- Well if I hear anything from Mark I’ll let you know.

Tucky- Yeah. (Laughing) Call me because I need about six weeks.

Nic- One thing I did hear is that Mark wants to make Dead Moon Rising 2 into a series or a serial so it will be more episodic in nature. Would you want to be involved in something more than just one more movie in the franchise?

Tucky- Oh absolutely. I want to keep working on good projects like Dead Moon Rising. Plus with a series you get more instant feedback on what people think. I also feel like it would work out really well for me because I think people like the Vix character and they’ll want to see more of her.

Nic- It’s obvious that you’re excited about the prospect of doing Dead Moon Rising 2. What other kinds of films would you be interested in doing?

Tucky- I think my goal as an actress is to work on good projects. So what I really want is to be reading a lot of screenplays and having the opportunity to make choices about the roles I take and be excited about them. Beyond working on something that I can feel proud of, there isn’t a specific genre or type of role that I’m interested in. I will say that I love doing different things. I like to stretch myself in the roles that I take.

Nic- Going back to Dead Moon Rising again for a minute… although it has a lot of humor worked into it, the film is essentially a horror film. I know that you enjoyed working on it, but at the same time there has been a trend lately in horror with films like Hostel, Touristas and some others that are being called “torture porn” for lack of a better phrase. I understand that you have some strong feelings about that type of film, is that correct?

Tucky- I do actually. I feel that in this culture [America] sexuality is too repressed and in fact it has become so repressed that sex itself has become a fetish. Even nudity has become a fetish which is absurd. It’s so weird and it just seems to be our little part of the world. I mean you go to just about any other place like Canada or Europe and it’s not like that. All of that repressed energy is getting funneled into these horribly violent films and it’s a really bad substitute.

I wouldn’t want to stop someone from making that kind of violent movie, but at the same time it’s ridiculous that you can have films like Hostel get an R rating and widespread distribution and all the big studio support with all of that violence and then have the a film like Dead Moon Rising that doesn’t have nearly the same level of violence, but it does show two women kissing and that’s put on the same level. It’s ridiculous! If Dead Moon Rising were rated it would get an R, not for the violence, but for the sexuality. So what you’re seeing is something beautiful like two girls kissing each other being treated the same as someone’s eye getting burned out with a blow torch. So it’s put this idea out there that sexuality is as bad as violence.

I’m not saying that I want that kind of film to go away. I just wish there wasn’t so much repressed energy that results in that sort of thing becoming part of mainstream entertainment. I think if we dealt with the way our society treats sexuality, then a lot of that repression would go away and you’d see torture porn become a much smaller market. It would be a niche or fetish instead of sex.

Nic- Those are some interesting thoughts on the subject, Tucky.

Tucky- Well I may be the wrong person to ask about all this, but that’s the way I feel.

Nic- So considering the relationship you see between the repression of sexuality and the portrayal of violence in popular media, how do you feel about nudity and sexual situations in films in general?

Tucky- About nude scenes… again I feel that the female body has been fetishized and that’s unfortunate for women and men. Now instead of seeing a female body as something beautiful, it’s seen as this sexualized thing. I certainly don’t like being sexualized. I don’t like people forcing a sexuality on to me.

Another thing that bothers me that I’ve read in some reviews and comments online is “Where were the tits in Dead Moon Rising?” I think it’s great to have that in a movie, don’t get me wrong. But that kind of thing makes me feel that some people’s attitude is that women exist just to entertain men and that’s not the case. It’s as absurd as saying men need to show their ass cheeks in a film to get women to go see it. I mean I guess that’s true with Russell Crowe or someone like that. (Laughs)  It’s a good thing and a positive thing that nudity can turn men and women on, but I want men to see that as a good thing, not as a fetish thing.

I don’t have a problem with my body, nudity or anything. But because of the way nudity has been turned into a fetish, I don’t want to get naked. So now someone’s going to look at it and go “OOOH she’s naked, she’s naked, she’s naked! I see her boobies!!” I mean it’s part of my being, I want to be seen as a person not a body part. I just want everyone  to be treated with respect.   

Nic- Let’s move away from the movie business and talk a little more about your work outside of entertainment. You’re a yoga instructor when you’re not in front of the camera, is that correct?

Tucky- Yes (Smiling broadly) I am. I love it. I’ve been studying yoga since I was thirteen and I’m now focusing on Vinyasa and Yin yoga. Really though I like to mix everything together though. It is just the best there is.

 Nic- Well you do seem to get a glow about you when you talk about it.

Tucky- I would think so, I just love it so much. Oh that’s another thing that I’ve noticed about this culture. People just can&rs
uo;t sit still. I mean some people can do it during class, but some people really have a hard time just being still. I look at their faces and it looks like they’re actually in pain because I’m making them sit still and be quiet for a few minutes and it drives them crazy. That’s one of the things I like about yoga, the stillness and the way it lets you take your mind in new directions.

Nic- Now tell us something about Tucky Williams that most people don’t know.

Tucky- (Laughing very hard)

Nic- Well you can’t say that you don’t like to laugh!

Tucky- That’s it, write “Huge Laugh” (Laughs again). I know. I’m a Libertarian! That’s something a lot of people don’t know. That means crazy person by the way.

Nic- So you’re a Libertarian. Well I’m an Aries…

Tucky- (Laughing again) Hey! So was my character in Dead Moon Rising.

Nic- Was that in the film, part of the back story, or did you just decide “Hey Vix is an Aries.”

Tucky- Oh it was in the film. At one point Jim says, “We’re both Aries”, but don’t worry you aren’t supposed to know the whole film. It is funny though, Mark didn’t write much of a back story for Vix and so I asked him to tell me one thing, was she mentally ill?  He said no. So the rest I just came up with. The way I saw her was that she was an ironist. Of all the characters she was the only one who was sort of aware that she was in a zombie movie. Instead of freaking out she just went with it. She said, “Well it’s a zombie movie so I’m going to go out and get a samurai sword and start chopping people’s heads off.”

Nic- So do you think that’s why she did so well coping with what happened in the film and surviving in that world?

Tucky- Definitely. She wasn’t holding on to the way things used to be. Society broke down and she could accept that and deal with the way things are not concentrate on the way they were. I mean most people, myself included, would just want things to go back to the way they were, but Vix didn’t care. She’s someone who says, “Fuck it. New world order.” She’s an Ubermensch. Really in your face and someone who thrives on overcoming obstacles. It’s the challenges. That’s what makes her so alive. She’s definitely not a Nihilist.

Nic- You know I said you got a glow about you earlier talking about yoga, well you’ve got it again now.

Tucky- Well I get that way when I talk about philosophy, that’s my thing. I mean I don’t understand it, nobody really understands it. But I love to talk about philosophy and Vix  embodies a lot of different aspects of that for me.

Nic- OK, last question. If I were to look on your bookshelf at your home, what are some of the books I’d find there?

Tucky-  “Anna Karenina” the best novel ever written. You’d see the entire Chuck Palahniuk collection [“Fight Club”]. Then you’d find about a million books on philosophy and pop culture because I’ve bought them all. (Laughs) I feel like these critiques or criticisms of philosophy help me get so much more from it than just reading essays and texts because they can be so mired in scholarly language that it is not really fun to read. I like stuff that’s fun to read.

Thinking about it, I just love Tolstoy, that’s a writer that I’ve just sort of latched onto. It is really important to get a good translation though. So if you’re looking for Tolstoy, research the translation, it’s devastatingly important.

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