Deborah Gibson: Mega Starlet, Mega Shark, Mega Woman! By Brian Kirst
There are probably few people as unique as Deborah Gibson. As a teen, she wrote, composed and produced a wide range of top charting, unforgettable pop hits. Then refusing to accept the teeny bopping princess pigeonhole of a one faced music industry, Gibson slowly began to conquer the theatrical stage with a series of compelling appearances in popular Broadway shows and touring companies. Now, combining all of the above activities with her social activism (with particular concern given toward the security of female youth) and movie appearances (including roles in the horror-comedy Soulkeeper with such genre stalwarts as Brad Dourif and Karen Black and in the deliriously fun sci-fi scare epic Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus), Gibson is entering a new era of entertaining with a renewed enthusiasm and a grand sense of humor. Thankfully, Gibson recently took time out of her busy schedule to answer some electric questions for Horror Society. Rest assured that once you’re through reading, it is bloody well guaranteed that just like everyone else who encounters her, you’ll never be able to shake Deborah Gibson’s love!
Brian: Who were your first performance influences – Barbra Streisand commanding that there be no rain – David Bowie showing off his blue jeans – A trumpet playing, tap dancing aunt?
Deborah: Babs for sure! Hello gorgeous!
Brian: Oh, wow – – – were you talking to me? – Oh — well…So, as an actress do you approach a song the same ways as you do a role – i.e. create a character – or do different things apply due to circumstance?
Deborah: Great question! Sometimes I’m naturally going through something in my life that applies and emotions just flow. Other times, I get into character. It’s easier when I’m performing a theater role I’ve done 8 times a week because it’s like sense memory – I hear the intro and I’m back in the character’s shoes so to speak!
Brian: Naturally! – Having conquered so many different show business avenues, is there a type of character that you prefer to play – the waif, the strong determined ingénue, the woman of the world who can ultimately save the world from fang-hungry disaster?
Deborah: My fave was Sally in Cabaret! I love her for her bravery and for the fact that she is totally unapologetic. She is who she is and has no edit button, no filter. The common thread between all characters I love to play is spirit and spunk. Everyone from Belle to Eponine to Rizzo to Velma had sassiness!
Brian: Very true. – What has surprised you as being relatively easy to achieve in your career and what was something that took you aback because it was much more difficult than anticipated?
Deborah: The “transition” into theater came naturally to me. It wasn’t “easy” but, it was effortless in the sense that it was a part of my history. What I didn’t anticipate as being difficult is the politics of the music biz. For instance, after “Summertime”, New Kids had no radio hits off their current album. And, there are 4 other smashes on it…..but, radio play can be next to impossible. This has always surprised me – that the music being great is not always why a song gets played. And, the flip side – there’s plenty of mediocre music on the radio!
Brian: Don’t we know it! – Now onto the horror! When performing in Soulkeeper did you find yourself longing to branch out and play one of the nasty beasties as opposed to just playing yourself? Or did your enjoyably humorous take on yourself qualify as fun enough for you?
Deborah: That was fun enough! I love doing tongue in cheek kitschy stuff where I get to mock my own image!
Brian: You do have a great sense of humor! Therefore, having done several films now is there one set experience that stands out in your mind as being unique and special?
Deborah: Working with Dom DeLuise in what was once called “Wedding Band”. He was genius.
Brian: Love him! – How did you approach your role in Mega Shark? Did you spend a lot of time trying to get under the skin of your character or did you just decide to go for a very natural and honest approach without a lot of background work. (Both very legitimate options.)
Deborah: There was no time for background work! I got less than a week’s notice so; I just put tongue firmly in cheek and had fun!
Brian: Well, I think you did a great job! – What was the most unusual and/or enjoyable part of your time on the Mega Shark set?
Deborah: Working without ever seeing so much as a picture of the shark! Just reacting to nothing!
Brian: That’s definitely a tough one! – Now, do you find any fears you might have had of colossal bridge chomping beasts has been eased after your Mega Shark experience and due to the tremendous interest in the film (and great response to it) do you think you would return for a sequel or for a similar project? (Please, please, please say yes!!!)
Deborah: I’m now afraid more than ever to swim in the ocean! What if there’s a giant lobster? Seahorse? Speaking of…..I do hope there’s a sequel! Maybe I’ll go method this time and do some submarine training so I don’t look like I’m playing a video game when my hands are at the controls!
Brian: Deborah thanks again! It’s been a thrill!