The idea for “Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid” is right out of the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction files.
Let me dish on Gatoroid.
As a born and bred and still-in-the-state Floridian, I am familiar with alligators. At least, I know enough to tell you that you never, ever, ever feed them. That “Lake Placid” movie should be taken as a cautionary tale.
Every year, as the weather begins to heat up for summer, newscasters tell us not to feed the alligators that come into canals behind our homes. As I live nowhere near a canal, this is not an issue for me. But were I to live near a canal, you would not find me feeding the gators.
Also every year, later in the summer or maybe not even later in the summer, we hear a news report about someone who has been bitten by an alligator that has come out of the canal to munch on a human because it had been fed by humans.
If you think gators run more slowly than humans, you are not right. Just ask my husband who came upon one while jogging one evening when we did live near water. It was coming toward him and most emphatically not in a lethargic manner, so he quickly turned back and hightailed it for home.
OK, you say that gators don’t get to be giants as they do in the movies. I’ll give you that one. But a full-sized gator is not small, and if it were hopped up on growth hormone or some new-fangled joy juice that the park ranger -- played by pop icon Tiffany -- in “Mega Python" gave it, it could do.
Now, let’s deal with Mega Python.
Here’s what our National Park Service has to say on the subject of pythons in the Everglades. “Efforts are underway to learn how best to control the python population in the Everglades and prevent new invasions in the future.” You can read more about the problem at Everglades National Park
Debbie Gibson portrays a well-intentioned but overzealous animal rights activist in the film, and she does what so many clueless activists do in films (and sometimes in real life — and don’t get me started on this) by releasing pythons into the Everglades so they can run free.
Our real-life pythons may not be the size of the ones in the movie, but you know, if you’ve ever met a python, you know the full-grown ones are pretty mega without any undue enhancement.
With the zoology lesson concluded, we can move on to the fantasy surrounding “Mega Python."
The fantasy is that its stars Tiffany and Debbie Gibson, who were -- and are -- rivals. As I suspected, the rivalry between these two pop divas is merely a fabrication used to get people excited. The truth is that even though there are girl fight elements to the film, Debbie and Tiffany never have been rivals, and now are forming a friendship.
It’s hard to have a rivalry with someone who is moving in a different direction than you are and whom you’ve never even known. Such was the case with these two ladies. When asked about the supposed rivalry in a recent media conference call, both had to laugh because the idea was always so silly to them.
They were both successful and there never was a reason for them to be in competition with each other.
They had barely met before “Mega Python.” During filming, they had time to get to know each other and now consider themselves to be friends.
When I spoke with Tiffany and Debbie Gibson during the conference call, I did as I usually do because, after all, this is a Fannish Life column, and asked about their fannish interests. Here's a quick, edited transcript of that conversation.
Ann Morris: Both of you have mentioned things about liking Syfy. I know, Debbie, you mentioned watching 'Land of the Lost,' and Tiffany you’ve been saying [you] love Syfy. So I'm really curious as to what kinds of science-fiction or fantasy books or programs you guys enjoy?
Deborah Gibson: Well to be honest I'll jump in first because my answer is probably shorter than Tiffany's. Other than like 'Land of the Lost' or whatever, I've not been as familiar with the genre. When I got called to do 'Mega Shark,' I even said, I'm not that overly familiar with Syfy, but let me read the script. And then I just fell in love with how over the top it was and how imaginative it was. So for me it's like this has been probably my biggest introduction to Syfy. And now I'm a fan. I feel like this kind of opened up a whole new world for me. So yes I didn't really grow up -- I grew up in a house full of girls and musical theater.
Tiffany: I've always been a tomboy and I've always loved like I mean, start out Star Wars -- big fan. So, I've always loved things with creatures and monsters. And then if they can be on a planet somewhere battling it out, that’s even better, like vampires and fate kind of thing. It's awesome.
Gibson: Oh God.
Tiffany: So, I'm a big fan of right now we were just having this conversation earlier and I love 'Being Human.' That's this new Syfy show.
Morris: Oh yes.
Tiffany: And I watched the British version of that.
Tiffany: But now to have it here in America ... I was talking about the change that they made with the ghost character how she didn't die tragically because in the British version she dies tragically. Her fiancé kills her. And this version here she just falls down a flight of stairs and dies. And I said I have to tell you guys though that is a little like close to home because I trip down my stairs all the time. So that’s one thing that freaked me out a little bit but I do like it wasn't so tragic.
And I was a huge 'Gattaca' fan. And then that's not there anymore so we won't talk about that bitter pill to swallow. But I've been promised other things to come from Syfy so I'm really excited. I love my ultimate favorite as far as like scary monsters or whatever are vampires. I know their ghoulish and kind of, not what we all aspire to be but there's a sex appeal to them as well.
Morris: Yes that's actually a well-known thing among science-fiction fans, you know, vampires are supposed to be kind of sexy and kind of scary at the same time.
I have another question. This is kind of a trivia question because I was looking on IMDb and reading about the movie. And I was looking at the full cast and crew credits. And I noticed Mickey Dolenz’s name in there.
Morris: Now is Mickey Dolenz really there? And is he going to be hard for us to spot? Is it going to be a where's Waldo for us?
Tiffany: No. There’s a whole event that revolves around him being the star. He's like the star of the show. So no it's not like a hidden cameo. He's right there. And they were looking for somebody to kind of be that person and brainstorming tons of names. And when that name came up we were all like yes.
He's a great guy. And he's another guy like, talk about being relevant, he's always out there doing his thing.
You see him in person you're like oh my God, it’s Mickey Dolenz. He’s incredibly cool.
Gibson: Yes, yes.
Morris: Well that's my generation. I'm actually old enough to be you guy's mom, my generation. One of my high school graduation presents was a ticket to see the Monkees in concert so ...
Tiffany: Oh you will love this. You'll love this then. One of my very first shows actually opened for him at, I think it was in Naples, Fla., at the -- I think at the zoo funny enough. We have an animal connection. But yes I opened for the Monkees and we still talk about that to this day. It’s so funny. So I credit him.
Morris: Yes it's a cool feeling?
Tiffany: So yes, yes it was great. And he is, he was wonderful to work with. And when his name came up it was like, a no brainer. I mean people still recognize him and he’s still very active and he’s such a nice guy that it just was a complete package.
Morris: Well that's really great to hear. I've always read and heard that he was a nice guy. And I wish you guys a lot of luck with this. I believe that I have one more little question. And would you guys be open to being in a science-fiction series?
Tiffany: Interesting ...
Gibson: Well I would.
Tiffany: I would, too. See like that's the type - kind of thing that comes up that you just don't expect. Oh that's a cool idea.
The great thing about this particular conference call was that it was very relaxed. There didn’t seem to be a time constraint and you could be conversational rather than adhering to a strict interviewing style. Both of the ladies were willing to be chatted up and it was a lot of fun.
So, are you going to be watching “Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid”? If so, you can know that we are together in spirit. Oh, and here’s a scoop for you: There is a scene involving banana cream pie that you don't want to miss.
Get a frosty beverage, some popcorn and have some fun with Syfy. See you there!
In the meantime, check out my boss Michael HInman's interview with Tiffany on the red carpet of the Entertainment Weekly/Syfy event at San Diego Comic-Con last summer talking about this movie before anyone else. You can find the complete video right here.
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