You may recognize Tucky Williams as the charismatic heartbreaker, Evan Dever, from the realistic drama series Girl/Girl Scene. Tucky wrote and produced the series as well as starring in it. So Evan was Tucky’s creation from page to screen. And on screen, Tucky seemed the embodiment of Evan, but after three seasons of the sexy drama, the Kentucky actress wanted to apply her diverse talents in new directions. Her latest project Dagger Kiss is the antithesis of Girl/Girl Scene. Dagger Kiss weaves a fantasy tale about magic, danger, love, loss and self-discovery. The series features two women from different worlds, who find love while fighting a common enemy. Tucky chatted with me about Dagger Kiss, her inspirations for making the series, production challenges and living with epilepsy.
Delina: You’re well known for your web series Girl/Girl Scene, which is a very sexy, realistic lesbian drama. You recently wrote, produced, and starred in a new series though, called Dagger Kiss. Dagger Kiss is quite a departure from Girl/Girl Scene. Can you describe the plot of the series for us?
Tucky: Okay, Dagger Kiss is a fantasy, sci-fi adventure, and no one’s ever really done that the lesbian way. So in Dagger Kiss, you have two great female lead characters on this awesome fantasy adventure. My character, Arden, is from a medieval world full of magic, swords and daggers, corsets, and hair. Cursed with dark magic she accidentally causes the death of her true love. She leaves her home world to travel to modern day Earth, in pursuit of the evil sorcerer Zareth. There she convinces tough girl Katia to help her in her quest. Together, they set out to battle Zareth, and in the process find they can’t fight their attraction to each other.
Delina: Are you a big fan of the fantasy genre?
Tucky: Yeah, I have been a fan my entire life, which is one of the reasons I like Dagger Kiss. I think the reason I wanted to be an actress is because I love fantasy movies so much. I just love the fantasy genre. I love the science fiction genre. I’ve never seen a story with two ladies, and then I thought what if it’s two beautiful ladies in love? I’ve definitely never seen that. That’s what inspired me to make it.
Delina: Great. What are some of your favorite films?
Tucky: All the kids’ fantasy movies like NeverEnding Story and Labyrinth. There’s a lot of Labyrinth in Dagger Kiss. She-Ra, all those ladies with swords and I love Red Sonja, even though I was way too young to be watching that movie, and I love the old Conan the Barbarian movies.
Delina: Were you a big Xena fan?
Tucky: I never got into that. Now I’m glad because people are like, “Is it based on Xena?” And I can be like, “Nope, never saw it.”
Delina: Based on some of your other films, I think it’s safe to say you’re a big Shakespeare fan. Was Dagger Kiss influenced by any Shakespearean plays, too?
Tucky: No, I didn’t realize until after I had written it that it was influenced by my experiences with epilepsy. My character, Arden, has a normal life and she’s suddenly stricken with this thing, this magical ability that’s not so great. She can kill anyone she touches, but she often loses control. So she can’t touch people. She’s basically more of a pariah because no one wants to get close to her or near her, which is pretty much how I felt.
I was a really normal person, had a normal life. I was 24 years old and all of a sudden – bam. One minute you have a normal life, the next minute you’re someone with epilepsy. It’s not that people are afraid of it. It’s just that if you have a seizure, people totally freak out.
Delina: Yeah, so it was a metaphor for that experience?
Tucky: It is, but I didn’t realize it until after I wrote it. I wrote it and a week later I realized what it was based on.
Delina: Writing is funny like that.
Tucky: I know. Right?
Delina: Stuff just comes up out of your subconscious.
Tucky: Yeah. Yeah, it does.
Delina: In Dagger Kiss, how would you describe Arden, the character that you play? I know you talked a little bit about this power that she has that you think is an affliction. Other than that, how would you describe her overall?
Tucky: She is strong. She is very brave. She is determined to save her world and save our world, the future. So she’s this very brave character. When she is on Earth she doesn’t even know where she is; there is a lot of courage in that. It’s even worse than going to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language. She really doesn’t know what’s happening here. So when she’s kind of forced into the real world, it’s a very odd place. There’s a little bit of humor in that, but at the same time she was very brave to be doing it. And of course, she’s really traumatized by having accidentally killed her true love, Mia. She’s very, very, very traumatized by that and hasn’t forgiven herself for it, ever. So five years later she meets Katia and she starts to like her but that’s very, very scary. So as tough as she is, as strong as she is, she’s met someone and it’s a terrifying thing because she has these feelings and she really, strongly feels that it would almost be immoral to express them.
Delina: Okay, so …
Tucky: You know, I’m kind of realizing that’s kind of like being gay, too, isn’t it?
Delina: A little bit.
Tucky: Yeah, a little bit.
Delina: In a way it strikes me a little bit as a metaphor for love in general, because you can get into relationships and get hurt or accidentally hurt somebody even though you didn’t mean to. Then you’re kind of afraid to go out and try again.
Tucky: That’s true.
Delina: This woman that she meets on Earth, Katia, comparing your character to her character, Arden definitely is strong and brave but she also seems very open and naïve and trusting. Whereas Katia seems a little more of a jaded opportunist, if you will.
Tucky: Oh, I like that.
Delina: What do you think attracts them to each other, because they seem a little bit like an unlikely pair?
Tucky: Hell, that’s always what works, though, isn’t it? I think Arden can see straight through her and I think she finds it charming that Katia is putting up this little front, basically. Then Katia, of course, they’re not alike at all, but she’s someone who sees Arden and she doesn’t want to like Arden, but she does. She thinks Arden’s adorable.
Delina: It’s hard not to think Arden’s adorable.
Tucky: Thank you.
Delina: Amanda K. Morales plays Katia and you two seem to have a pretty good chemistry with each other. Had you worked together before or was this the first time?
Tucky: Never. We had never met each other before. I found her through a casting website, and she flew from New York to Kentucky. If you watch the last scene of the series, it was actually the first scene we’d ever filmed together.
Delina: Really? That’s fascinating. It must be hard doing things backwards like that.
Tucky: Yes. I wanted to do it that way, I wrote the schedule that way just to see what it would be like to do things that way. I wanted to know right away if Amanda and I were going to work as a couple or not. Yeah, so it was really important. I wanted to know the first day if it was going to work out. So that’s why we filmed the last scene first.
Delina: It seems like it worked pretty well.
Tucky: The love scene was filmed the second day I knew her.
Delina: So you just jumped right in.
Tucky: Yeah, that’s the way you have to do it.
Delina: Great. Well, something else I was thinking about when I was watching Dagger Kiss was that often times when you watch movies or you read literature that involves some kind of magic you will have light magic or white magic as being “good” and then you will have dark magic or black magic as being “evil” but in Dagger Kiss it’s different. Arden has this power that’s considered dark because she can kill with it, but she doesn’t use it for dark or evil purposes. She only uses it to protect herself or other people. Then you have Jenna, The Lightener, who can bring people back to life, but she does use it for evil purposes. I’m kind of curious. Why did you take this approach that turns the traditional definitions upside down?
Tucky: Because I wanted to do something radically different. It’s like what you said; everybody has these ideas of good and good, and bad and bad. What about the people who have so called bad things and are doing good things with it? Then that’s when I thought about Arden and then I thought of Jenna and I thought, oh, make it the opposite. The bad character can save people, she can bring them back to life, but she’s bad. Yeah, so I did want to flip it. I think it goes back to the gay thing. People think if you have it it’s bad. It’s actually really, really good. Then it’s like sometimes you feel sorry for straight people.
Delina: That’s interesting metaphor, too.
Delina: Evan, the character you play in Girl/Girl Scene and Arden in Dagger Kiss, are both very strong women but in different ways. Arden is a little more classically feminine, so which character do you feel like you relate to the most?
Tucky: Well, I think I kind of wanted credit as an actor because people pretty much assumed I was Evan. That was great and everything. But I’m sitting there and I’m going, okay, I want people to appreciate that I’m nothing like this. I would get asked that question a lot. “How much like Evan are you? How much like Evan are you?” I would just say, “Oh we’re similar in many ways,” because we believe pretty much exactly the same things, Evan and I do. Then I realized that people just wanted to know if I was a top. That’s what they cared about. They wanted to know if I was going to be like that, I think, in a relationship or in bed. I think that’s fucked up because I think you can be feminine and be a top and then holy shit, you can be butch and be a bottom … yeah, don’t we all know that.
I read this article and this man in New York said to this artist, she cut her hair off, he was like, “You’re so brave and courageous to cut off your hair.” I’m like, you know, God damn it, the bravest thing to do when you’re gay is to grow your hair long. That’s when you’re going to face some animosity. Why is it like this? People don’t like it that I’m not Evan anymore because they have this idea of me, and even though I’m exactly the same person, it’s like I’m perceived as different in such a radical way. I think real people can see past the hair, whether it’s blond or short and the voice too; [lowers voice] I don’t think you have to talk like this to be a top.
Delina: I think it’s a testament to your acting that people feel like you really embodied the character of Evan.
Tucky: Oh thank you.
Delina: It’s interesting because I’m sure that’s a problem for a lot of actors where they play someone on TV and people think that’s how they are in real life, but they’re not necessarily.
Tucky: It’s ruined a lot of careers too. They play one part really well and then they never get another part because everyone thinks that’s who they are.
Delina: I’m always curious about independent ventures like this and how they get produced. How did you get funding to make Dagger Kiss?
Tucky: I just got it together and if you knew the budget you’d be horrified that I even got anything made. People were very, very, extremely generous with their time and most people worked for free. The crew worked for free which is amazing, but that’s wonderful they believed in it that much.
Delina: That’s great. How many days did it take you to film?
Tucky: It was hard because it was an outdoor shoot, and don’t ever do that if you get into film making, don’t do exteriors and outdoor shoots. I had Amanda here for eight days but we only shot for six of them, because of rain. It was raining half the time so we filmed a lot of indoor stuff and then we ran out of indoor stuff to do. I remember one day we just had to stay at my house and watch a movie because there was nothing else we could shoot without being outdoors. Then in one day, we did all the bad guys stuff and then Stoya came, yay, and we shot for two days with Stoya. Even that was mostly one day of work. The one scene where she dies in the beginning and that was an entire day, like you wouldn’t believe that that one scene took an entire day, but then all the rest of her stuff took another day. Movies take a long time.
Delina: You filmed the Dagger Kiss in Kentucky, right?
Tucky: Yeah, we filmed everything, the outdoor stuff, all of it, very close to my house. Everything was basically at my house or walking distance from my house. I found this secret location nobody knew about.
Delina: I don’t want to give anything away but something a little bit unexpected happens at the end of Dagger Kiss so I was curious if you plan on doing a season 2 to explore the story further.
Tucky: Yeah, we’re going to film that in October.
Delina: Oh, cool.
Tucky: Don’t worry about giving anything away, it’s fine. I talked to some people who’ve watch the show and they don’t know Stoya shows up in the end. I’m like, “Did you watch the credits,” and they’re like, “No.” Go ahead and talk about it because I’m sure half the people who watched the series don’t know about that and then they’ll go back and take a look.
Delina: Yeah, most people don’t watch the credits.
Tucky: Good point.
Delina: Is there anything else in the works for you, like a season 4 of Girl/Girl Scene or something like that?
Tucky: That’s always a possibility I want to keep open. It would be really nice to make something indoors that doesn’t have to be in daylight. I mean it’s really great to make something where you’re not praying to the weather gods. I’m a meteorologist; I don’t know if you know that. October is the driest month of the year. Okay, so we shot it in October and then the hurricane came. I mean it hit the coast, it hit the Carolinas but we still felt it in Kentucky. It caused some rain and it’s like, gosh, it turned out October was the worst month. I’m hoping to film again in October because it’s suppose to be the driest month but there might be another hurricane.
Delina: Well, hopefully not while you’re filming anyway.
Tucky: Somebody said, “Oh, if we’d done this the week before the weather was perfect,” and I’m like, “Thanks, big help.”
Delina: I’ll just jump in my time machine and go back.
Tucky: Yeah, right. We’ll all jump in it. I’m producing it and I’m doing all the scheduling too, so it was crazy trying to fit it all in. Basically, I learned to pack in all the scenes with multiple people at the very front. Now I know that I’m good with Amanda, so I’m not worried about that anymore. Now when I do part 2 I’m going to do all the scenes that have more than one person first.
Delina: Sounds like a good plan. You’re a meteorologist. I actually did see that on your résumé. Why did you get into that? You got into that before acting, I’m assuming?
Tucky: Yeah, I wanted to do something fun and meteorology and being on TV is really fun to do. I did not want to be a reporter, that’s like a nightmare. I found a really good mentor and he mentored me in meteorology and it turned out I love the science of meteorology. I love working in television, that medium. Then I got to co-host on Good Morning Kentucky. I liked that a lot. I never anchored before and I realized that they didn’t know I never anchored before. So basically they just sat me down in front of the teleprompter and I just started reading. In hindsight, they never should have done that. They should have tested me. I could have been terrible.
Delina: Obviously it worked out okay, though.
Tucky: It did. I decided I wanted to do movies instead.
Delina: You had mentioned your epilepsy a little bit earlier. I know in reading about you that you’ve sort of become an advocate for epilepsy awareness. What made you decide to open up and discuss it publicly?
Tucky: It was never a decision not to. I started having seizures right before I started filming the first episode of Girl/Girl Scene, so it was my life. I was talking about it. It was still happening up until episode 3, during episode 2 and the diner scene. I had a seizure and I had made it very clear to all of the crew that if anyone called 911 they were going to be in big fucking trouble. So they just let me lie on the floor, and they shot other scenes and then I came around and I did all my scenes. I worked the rest of the day.
Delina: That’s intense.
Tucky: Oh my gosh, I saw Greg Grunberg. He’s in Star Wars and the upcoming Star Trek. He got famous for being on Heroes. I saw him and I thought, well I’ll just go and say hi because his son has epilepsy. I wanted to say hi and tell him how much what he’s done has meant to me and tell him everything he’s done that’s changed my life. Oh my God, he sat and talked to me for so long, he was so happy. I don’t think a lot of people come up to him and say, hey, what you’ve done, it’s something … I don’t think people are aware of how common epilepsy is, a lot of people are going to have a seizure in their life. I talked to a lot of people who say, “I had this thing happen where I fell down” and I’m like, “Dude, you just had a seizure,” and they’re like, “No I didn’t.” I’m like, “Yeah, you fell down for no reason. It sounds like you had a seizure.” No, no, no, you know, tremendous denial, but I think most people are going to have one in their life and just don’t know it.
Delina: Interesting. Do you find there’s still a lot of stigma surrounding the illness?
Tucky: For me it was only the ambulance calling. But when somebody makes a joke about epilepsy on TV it’s like, it’s not funny, because calling somebody epileptic is actually really sensitive. If the person has epilepsy, it’s just like a knife to the gut when someone says that. God, what’s it like, it’s like saying someone is retarded, and people say that all the time. That’s way worse. Well, they’re all bad, but I think people really just need to be careful about what they say. And not call an ambulance around me. I watched a movie where this girl was like, “Every time something good happens in my life some fucker calls an ambulance.”
Delina: Is there anything else that you want to mention about Dagger Kiss or anything else?
Tucky: I think you ask some really good questions.
Delina: Well, thanks.
Tucky: I’m glad you did. I’m glad I got to talk about the whole Evan and Arden difference, and I hadn’t realized it, but this turned into a femme visibility show, which trust me, was not my intention. I just wanted to make a show with girls hanging around having fun, but all of a sudden people are like, “oh femme visibility”. It wasn’t like that. I don’t consider myself femme at all, and so it’s kind of like, what, that word, no.
I also wanted to write a show that was family friendly. It’s really important to me that everybody is able to watch this with the kids, whether you’re gay or straight or you have a kid that’s gay. Then sometimes you just want your kids to know that being gay is okay so you can put this on and be like, here, watch this show. Then the kids see the gay princesses and they don’t really think anything about it. I am in Elsa’s blue dress and I am gay and I beat her to being gay. They do notice the blue dress, but everybody thought it was Elsa’s from Frozen. I’m the gay Elsa.
Delina: Yeah, I saw that little social media meme where people were asking for Elsa to be gay.
Delina: That would be awesome.
Tucky: If they want that they can watch this, that’s gay Elsa. Working with Stoya was great and she was tremendous fun and I love that and love working with Amanda. This was just the best cast. Thank you for asking about it. This is my favorite project that I’ve done so far. I’m really glad my career has come to this point. I feel like it’s just the peak and this is what I’ve always wanted to be doing.
Delina: Great, it must be a good feeling.
Tucky: It’s a very good feeling. I get to make more of it. Yes!
Delina: Yeah, awesome. We’ll be looking forward to when Dagger Kiss season 2 comes out. I know you’re filming in October, which probably means it’ll be a few months after before it’s actually done.
Tucky: Oh, yeah, it’ll be a while. It’ll definitely be 2017 before it comes out. It’s a lot of hard work.
Delina: Oh, I imagine. All right well, awesome, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me.
Tucky: Thank you, you’re fun to talk to.