Tammy Gillis is a Canadian actress who grew up in rural Manitoba. She got her start on the stage in her hometown and has since become a very successful and respected member of the entertainment industry. This exceptionally talented actress has a very diverse resume including guest spots on UpTV’s Ties That Bind, Hallmark’s Signed Sealed Delivered, CTV’s drama Motive, CW’s Supernatural, Syfy’s Continuum, Showcase’s Lost Girl and many more.
She has showcased her comedic side on the critically acclaimed award winning HBO Canada series Less Than Kind, CBC’s jPOD and SpikeTV’s Blue Mountain State. She is widely recognized for her multitude of film and television appearances. Her onscreen credits include roles in White Noise 2 , Shooter, No Men Beyond This Point, and The Pinnochio Project.
Tammy is currently filming the lead role in the feature film Menorca shooting in Winnipeg and Spain, as well as directing and producing the web series The Support Group. Tammy currently splits her time between Vancouver and Canada’s east coast and continues to travel to LA and around the world for projects.
FTN: Hi Tammy, thanks for chatting with us today. When did you first become interested in acting as a career?
TG: I started acting in my high school’s plays but never even thought about doing it as a career. Hollywood seemed like a whole world away. I was scouted to model in university and started auditioning for local commercials and really enjoyed it. But it wasn’t until I actually started working in the local film industry that I met some American actors that convinced me that I should pursue it.
I owe a big thank you to Chad Lowe, Kelly Rutherford and Sean Patrick Flanery for giving me some great advice and making me believe that I could do it. I’m still friends with Sean now. It’s interesting how the big world of the entertainment industry actually feels smaller once you are in it.
FTN: You have guest starred in quite a number of high profile television shows including Supernatural, Girfriend’s Guide to Divorce and Continuum. What was it like to appear as a guest on these shows and were the regular cast members able to offer you any hints or acting tips for their shows?
TG: Each show tends to have a bit of a different vibe but I’ve always found that the cast and crew are very welcoming and supportive on every show. Supernatural is a show that has become like a little family because they have been working together for so long now. It was a really loose and comfortable set. All of my scenes were with Jensen Ackles. He is a really great actor and it’s amazing to watch him work. He really knows and can feel where the camera is and how to use it. I learned a lot from watching him and have totally stolen some of his moves.
Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce was very fun. Very different than any set I’ve been on. They clap all the time on set, like for example, someone will set a light or fix a light and everyone will start clapping because they did it. It’s really unusual but totally hilarious and it keeps the energy up and happy. I never wanted to leave that show, it was so much fun.
Continuum was a blast to work on. I love doing sci-fi! I’d love to do more. The cast and crew were lovely. Luvia Peterson, in particular, really went out of her way to make me feel comfortable. I’ve known her for years now and was so happy to see her as a regular on the show. She is such a bad ass! I’d say more about other cast but I can’t give anything away!! I was so happy to finally work with Simon Barry, the creator and Executive Producer. He is a brilliant man. I have been lucky to work with Pat Williams, who is one of the Executive Producers as well as one of the directors, a couple of times now. He is such a lovely guy and a wonderful director.
Here’s a teaser for the new season. You can see me right at the start. I have blonde hair in this role. http://tvline.com/2015/07/30/continuum-final-season-trailer.
FTN: Aside from television, you have also appeared in a number of films including White Noise: The Light and Shooter. What were the main differences you encountered between film and television and also which have you preferred?
TG: For me, I don’t feel like there is much difference other than time and sometimes budget (can be way more or way less). With TV, you are moving at a quicker pace. With film, they take more time to set up shots and get different angles. I used to feel like film was a bit more internal, doing less with your acting but TV has changed so much in the last 5 years, that I feel like the acting is very similar now. I love doing both.
TG: We finished shooting the project over a year ago. I’m not sure where they are at with it right now, last I heard they were still in post. It’s a sci-fi thriller. There are some really cool elements to the film so it was challenging as an actor to keep certain ideas clear in my mind. But I can’t get into specifics without giving some things away story wise.
FTN: In The Pinocchio Project, you play the part of Marie Anderson. Can you tell us a little bit about your character and also how you came by the role?
TG: I play the wife of the lead character Dr. Anderson, played by David Lewis and mother to Brittany, played by Megan Charpentier. I was offered the role and it seemed like an interesting project.
FTN: Aside from The Pinocchio Project, you are also filming Menorca. Can you tell us a little bit about this, or is it very “hush hush”?
TG: Menorca is a drama about a hedonistic soccer mom that embarks on a strange journey of self-discovery and seeks to reconnect with her estranged son by returning his pet rock to the island of Menorca Spain. We shot for 3 weeks in Winnipeg MB Canada and are going to finish shooting it in Menorca Spain at the beginning of September. This is the third time I have worked with director John Barnard.
FTN: Can you tell us a little bit about your character, Claire?
TG: At the beginning of the movie, Claire is in a very dark place in her life. She is very unhappy. Her marriage is empty, her husband has stripped every responsibility from her, she is completely lost, she has no job, no real identity. I feel like if she didn’t take this journey, she might take her own life. The challenge for me was to try to ensure that the audience doesn’t hate her for the things she does.
FTN: With a title like Menorca, we at FTN are guessing that there would be some location shooting in Spain. Have you and the rest of the cast and crew been able to soak up some of the sun and nightlife or has the shooting schedule been very hectic?
TG: There will be shooting in Spain! It hasn’t happened yet. I am hoping for the chance to soak up some of the sun.
FTN: Aside from working on a number of films this year, you also have been working on a number of television series. Can you tell us about them?
TG: I have been lucky to be working on a number of projects back to back for the past couple of months. Each role is very different from the other so as an actor it was really fun and also very challenging. First up is the new UpTV series “Ties That Bind” on August 26. I play a former junkie and massage therapist, Carla is now happily married to a conservative guy she met on Christian Harmony; she’s got the house with the picket fence and has carefully Xed her sketchy side out of her resume. They have a really amazing regular cast on the show – Kelli Williams is a dream to work with. I was happy to share a couple of really lovely scenes with her. Jason Priestly was also guest starring on the episode. It was my first time working with him and he was amazing. I’m really excited to see the episode.
Next up is Continuum airing on September 4 on Showcase and then on September 11 on SyFy. I’ve talked a bit about that already and can’t really say much about the episode or my character.
After that is Signed Sealed Delivered: Truth be Told airing on September 13: The Postables are on a mission to deliver a soldier’s letter from Afghanistan to a teenager who’s being relentlessly bullied, while Oliver’s estranged father surprises him with news that shakes him to his core and then Signed Sealed Delivered: Impossible Dream airing on October 4. I am so excited to see these movies. I am really proud and honoured to be a part of the stories that Martha Williamson (Creator, Showrunner, Executive Producer) has written. It was a really challenging role – mentally and physically – and I loved every second of it.
Q10. 2015 so far has been a very busy year for you. Are there any other future projects you are working on?
Currently I am directing, producing and acting in a web series called “The Support Group”. It’s my first time directing and I am totally hooked. I will definitely be doing more directing. I am writing a comedic feature as well as a dramatic thriller that I hope to shoot in the next year. As far as acting goes, I am finishing up shooting “Menorca” at the beginning of September and then looking forward to what might come next.
Thanks so much for the interview!
FTN: It was our pleasure!
Ties That Bind - Episode 3 “Ghost” airing August 26, 2015 on UPtv
Photographer: TFG Productions & Photographer: Darryl Humphrey Photography