Robin talks to Cosmopolitan about what her most iconic characters are up to now.
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Robin Tunney, star of such iconic '90s teen movies as Empire Records and The Craft, makes her stage debut this month in the off-Broadway production of Smokefall. She's great in it, by the way, and if you happen to find yourself in New York any time soon, you should definitely check it out. Enough about that though! Cosmopolitan.com sat down with Tunney at Smokefall's opening night after-party to talk about other things. Things like masturbation and whatever happened to Debra from Empire Records.
Are we going to talk about orgasms?
If you would like.
They said you're from Cosmopolitan.com.
I am. Yes.
You know, as a little girl growing up in Chicago, even the cover was so dirty to me. I just remember it being the dirtiest thing I had ever seen.
Are you kidding?
I swear to god! I was raised Catholic, so it was filthy. It was amazing.
Do you remember your first Cosmo?
I think that we used to steal them from aunts, and there were things about like masturbation, and it was thrilling.
This is not the line of questioning I was expecting. [Laughs.] I was just planning to ask you about some of your most popular characters.
OK, we can talk about that.
OK. Let's start with Teresa Lisbon from your show The Mentalist. I know that show only ended last year, but after playing her for seven seasons, you must have a pretty good idea of what she is up to now. Or, would be up to if she were real.
I'm thinking that she retired to have the baby, and [she and Patrick] were at home and got bored after, like, five months. I think they would have to get back to work. Maybe they'll open a private detective agency or be like The Thin Man couple and drink a lot and take glamorous trips and solve crimes.
With the baby in tow?
With the baby in tow. I think the couple in The Thin Man eventually got a baby.
What about Sarah Bailey from The Craft? Where is she now?
I think Sarah Bailey is trying and failing to blend in in a suburb with a family somewhere, and I think witchcraft is sort of leaking out, but mostly it's like getting back at bullies at school for her kids and stuff. You know what I mean? Like, she's still doing it. But her husband gets angry and she tries not to. It's kind of like Bewitched but it's not funny; it's darker.
Speaking of darker, what's Debra from Empire Records up to these days?
I'm a little worried about what Debra's tattoos look like now.
Has she got full sleeves these days?
Yeah, but also that stuff doesn't get prettier as you get older. I mean, I'm a 43-year-old woman. They're wrinkled and faded, so Deb has to wear long sleeves now. But I think Deb's doing all right. Deb was cool, I liked her. I think she's really upset about the record industry and the state of music. There's just no good live bands to see anymore and you can't go to a record store. I think that's been really hard on Deb.
What does she do for work?
I feel like Deb could work at like a satellite radio station. I think she was really passionate about music.
Is Deb still with Berko?
No. It didn't work out. I think he would have left her for somebody a little bit…
Yeah. Deb's a handful.
She's worth it though.
Do people still recognize you from those roles?
Yes, all the time. I can kind of tell, somebody from 10 feet away as they're walking up, like, that's a Mentalist fan, or that person is all about The Craft. That one appealed to a certain age group. I think it became something that people watched at sleepovers, so I still get recognized from The Craft a lot. In a really enthusiastic way though! People genuinely love that movie.
I loved The Craft when I was a kid. It's a pretty dark movie though. Your character in Empire Records is pretty dark too. Were you a dark kid?
I think those characters just seemed more interesting to me when I read the scripts. You know, I didn't want to play the lead in The Craft. I wanted Fairuza [Balk]'s part or Neve [Campbell]'s part. I was like, Sarah's the good one. You're going to want to stuff her in a locker and tell her to stop crying. I think they just seemed like those characters were more colorful to play, and I don't really know if I identified with people who felt incredibly confident about themselves. I felt more attuned to those sort of characters.
What about when you had to shave your head in Empire Records?
That was really fun.
Yeah? I can't imagine.
Yeah! It was super liberating. I was a child actor and my mother never let me do anything fun to my hair. I couldn't get crazy haircuts or get pierced or whatever, so it was like going to town. It was so much fun and I loved having an abhorrent hairdo. I think for the first month or six weeks, I loved it, brut then they kept on shaving it every day and I started wearing too much makeup by the end and, like, big earrings because people were saying, "Excuse me, sir," on the street. But I'm so glad I did it. I love the pictures now too. It was such a good look. It was kind of the best hairdo I ever had.