Tiffany Dupont Interview

Tiffany Dupont

CHRIS NEUMER: If you don’t mind dissecting this trailer park character scenario… Is there a better way to say it than that? TIFFANY DUPONT: Well, she literally lives in a trailer park, so it’s OK. CHRIS NEUMER: It’s like, ‘white [...]

by Chris Neumer

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CHRIS NEUMER: If you don’t mind dissecting this trailer park character scenario… Is there a better way to say it than that?

TIFFANY DUPONT: Well, she literally lives in a trailer park, so it’s OK.

CHRIS NEUMER: It’s like, ‘white trash’ is horrendous.

TIFFANY DUPONT: No, you can’t say that. There’s like nine or ten people in the town in Texas, it’s a different world.

CHRIS NEUMER: OK, so are you originally from here?

TIFFANY DUPONT: No, East Coast, Northern Virginia and DC.

CHRIS NEUMER: So you’re an LA transplant. You’re attractive, you’re partying, the world is yours.

TIFFANY DUPONT: Well, I wouldn’t exactly say partying.

CHRIS NEUMER: Well, you’re having a good time.

TIFFANY DUPONT: Yeah, I’m enjoying my life, sure.

CHRIS NEUMER: That’s what I’m saying.

TIFFANY DUPONT: There’s a difference.

CHRIS NEUMER: Granted. Getting into the mindset of someone who hates her husband, lives in a trailer park, has no money, they’re probably not playing up her looks. So, you find out about this, what’s your first thought about getting into the part?

TIFFANY DUPONT: My first thought is, how the hell am I going to do i?. You have to move past that fear, and start diving in.

CHRIS NEUMER: It sounds like that Austin Powers line, first I feel like soiling myself, then I’m going to regroup.

TIFFANY DUPONT: That’s true, it is true. I think it’s almost healthy to have that, “Oh God, how am I going to do this?” because it makes me work even harder.

CHRIS NEUMER: Was there a tick, or a style or something? Like you sit down and your foot starts tapping?

TIFFANY DUPONT: Oh sure, absolutely. My coach said she thought this character was a legs open kind of girl, and I said, okay. [leans back in her chair and opens her legs] She’s definitely not sitting up straight, she’s kind of slumped in the chair, and watching TV, whatever. Every single part of you has to sort of take on that person and somehow make it you.

CHRIS NEUMER: Was there anything that you came back to? Like you felt like you were slipping out of this, or you were going to start chewing on your nails? Something like that?

TIFFANY DUPONT: Yeah, definitely. I had just a look on my face, too, like I was just really, really unhappy with everything in my life, like everything is just not good.

CHRIS NEUMER: I’ve seen that look, can you do that look for me now?

TIFFANY DUPONT: I don’t know, I’d have to get into it a little bit. They’re not push buttons, you can’t just make them. Maybe I will someday.

CHRIS NEUMER: Maybe we’ll warm up to that.

TIFFANY DUPONT: But yeah, you just have all of these little mannerisms. I think the text is the most important thing, because the text has everything right there, and that could sound cliché, I know, but it’s really true. It’s a very simple approach, and I think it’s the best approach. Everything that I need to do and experience is right there waiting for me, on the page.

CHRIS NEUMER: Well, let me ask you this just to clarify. I asked you if there was a little tick or something that you went back to, and you said absolutely. Was there a specific tick that you went back to?

TIFFANY DUPONT: We had a thought, my coach and I. We came up with this opening theme, and it was “My lazy, little boy, drunk husband, who’s about to pull me back into some stupid bullshit,” was my opening theme, my thought while I was sitting there. Anytime you want to get back, that’s basically it. That was a very good backbone to this whole little scenario with these two characters.

CHRIS NEUMER: There’s something we talked about in periphery, and it’s if there’s one thing I’ve learned about actresses it’s that they’re all attractive. You don’t have someone who’s breaking onto the scene who’s 310 pounds and not that attractive. Yet it seems like one of the hardest things for these attractive people to do is to convince casting agents and people that they are actually able to act. It’s almost like there’s a, “You’re good looking, or else you can act.” I’m not saying this because I believe it to be true, I’m saying it because from the experiences I’ve had talking to different people it seems like one of the hardest things for an attractive young actress to do is to convince somebody that she can play ugly. Have you found this to be the case, or any variety of this to be true?

TIFFANY DUPONT: I haven’t experienced the “She’s either pretty or she can act,” so far. I think that most of my situations I’ve been challenged to have to perform and absolutely be a great actress regardless of how I look. But have I experienced not having to play — we’ve had a couple of roles like that so far, but it’s mainly just a matter of opinion of the casting director to say, “Do I want to present this girl to the producer or not based on what I see.” Yesterday I did something where it said the girl had downplayed natural beauty, so you go in with your hair in a pony tail and not a lot of makeup, or no makeup. I think it’s more just a matter of opinion. I think it may start to get more difficult when people start to know you with a certain look. For example, the show coming out for the WB, my character is very polished and put together, she’s pretty, that kind of good, clean cut girl. That’s great, but if I want to play something else, I have to convince them to see me that way. I think it’s more difficult later than it is at the start.

CHRIS NEUMER: I’m thinking of one particular girl who said she was turned down for a number of roles because they said she was too pretty.

TIFFANY DUPONT: It’s happened, sure.

CHRIS NEUMER: I thought to myself, the casting directors turning out girls who are too pretty for a role, is kind of like when guys look to buy a house, because we can’t really imagine different paint on the walls. We’re kind of like, yeah, it’s a great house. Yeah it has 5 bedrooms, is in Brentwood and it costs $1500, but that wallpaper in the dining room is terrible. People are like, you know you can change it, and I’m just like, I can’t see it, I can’t imagine it. Another girl said she hated it when they say, “We’re looking for a blond,” because she can dye her hair. Or, we’re looking for someone who can project a certain kind of liveliness, and she’s just like, “I can act.” So she tones it down, and she said, “You know I can do this, this is why they call it acting.” If you’re looking for someone who’s 5’4″ and I’m 5’5″, you know I can act like this. So then I’m trying to think, are there any roles for actresses under thirty, where they aren’t supposed to be pretty? Are there a lot of those?

TIFFANY DUPONT: I’m sure there are, of course, there’s tons of those. Well, not always, but there are the best friend roles, there are other ones also.

CHRIS NEUMER: I hear you. I know what you’re saying, Mike Rispoli, lovely guy, he had this whole thing that he went on about, there’s Handsome, and there’s Handsome’s best friend. I am Handsome’s best friend. He said, it’s not that I’m not good looking, I’m not great, this is me, this is what I do.

TIFFANY DUPONT: As to what you’re saying, I really believe that as individual as we all are, you can give one sentence to fifty different girls and they’re all going to be completely different on that one sentence, and it’s going to be about those producers who don’t really know what they want, and one of those people shows them what they want, or they know exactly what they want and one of those girls is that. It’s just that simple. You can’t really start going crazy about, “Is it how I look, I can do that I’m an actress, I can dye my hair,” if you’re right, you’re right, and you’ll get it.

CHRIS NEUMER: One of my favorite Jeremy Piven stories is how he got called onto an audition for a Jeremy Piven type, and didn’t get the part. And I thought to myself, that’s when I hang it up, that’s when I go crazy.

TIFFANY DUPONT: There’s no rhyme or reason, you have to know that before you start.

CHRIS NEUMER: Absolutely, but it’s dealing with the rationalization of that.

TIFFANY DUPONT: I realized that really early in the business, and maybe that’s part of my sane outlook.

CHRIS NEUMER: I think so, it comes through. You are sort of a more evolved person than I. I’m still getting angry at people and yelling at them. If there was a Chris Neumer role and I auditioned and didn’t get the part, there would be fire bombs.

TIFFANY DUPONT: I’m not going to say you don’t get upset from time to time, but you just have to take it in stride, and know that it’s all going to happen the way it’s supposed to. You’ve got to have faith.

CHRIS NEUMER: Let me ask you this, as you have been meeting with more and more success in your life and career, and things have been looking up as it in any way affected your personal relationships?

TIFFANY DUPONT: Not so far. I have a great group of friends, very solid. I lot of them are doing the same thing, or other things like it and are doing very well. So no, everybody’s awesome so far.

CHRIS NEUMER: Have any made the jump to the next level?

TIFFANY DUPONT: Yeah, a couple, and they don’t get treated differently. We’re all sort of having a good time. My group of friends, we’re not crazy but we do have a lot of fun, but we’re not partyers or ravers or those types of folks. We all get together at each other’s house, and we watch movies, have a good time. Very easy going crew. We like to bowl a lot, we go bowling all the time. But no, they’ve been amazing, very supportive and always very excited about everything that’s happened each step of the way. So far it’s been good. They’ve been great and I’ve been blessed, and if you asked me if I like LA, I never thought I would’ve said ‘yes’, but I love it, and it’s because of them a lot more than anything else, the friends I have here and not LA itself or what LA has to offer.

CHRIS NEUMER: Which is what, tar pits and little Ethiopia, if I understand correctly?

TIFFANY DUPONT: Traffic, smog, a lot of, uh, ‘interesting’ people walking around.

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