The intense, dark-eyed Gina Philips, known for her role as the reproachful Jenna Miller on Boston Public, was born Gina Consolo on May 10, 1975. She was born in Miami Beach, FL, and attended the University of Pennsylvania for a few years before dropping out in pursuit of a career in acting. In addition to her full-time role on Boston Public, Philips made numerous other television appearances on shows like Ally McBeal, Sliders, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. In Born Into Exile (1997), a made-for-TV movie about two lovers who together seek solace from their grievances, Philips starred as Holly Nolan. Complementing her TV career, she was also featured in several major motion pictures. In 1994, she played Lorri in an independent musical called Rave, Dancing to a Different Beat, in which the characters attempted to test the limits of their lives. She made numerous small appearances in addition to the films in which she played larger parts through the 1990s. An adaptation of the Danielle Steel novel of the same name, No Greater Love featured an appearance by Philips as Alexis, in 1996. She starred in Jeff Bleckner's The Advocate's Devil one year later. Victor Salva's 2001 horror film Jeepers Creepers earned much attention as one of the more truly frightening films of the few years preceding it. In it, Philips co-starred with Justin Long, and the film's major notice gave Philips an increase in public attention as well. The following year, she shifted from the thriller genre to the less horrific Anarchist Cookbook, a funny drama about a young man's fascination with anarchism, starring Philips, Devon Gummersal, and Dylan Bruno. Philips continues to split her time between TV and movies. She has now segued into producing as well. She will next be seen in "Thanks To Gravity" alongside Sean Astin, which she both produced and starred in.
More fun facts about Gina Philips
Dropped out of the University of Pennsylvania half way through her senior year, in order to pursue acting only one class away from her degree. They allowed her to walk through graduation with the rest of her graduating class since she was only one class shy.
Dated Johnny Whitworth (1996-1999)
Declined offers to reprise her role as Trish Jenner for Jeepers Creepers II (2003).
Produced two movies in 2003 Something More and Sam & Joe (co-produced).
Is 5'3" tall.
Jeepers gave two young stars a bad case of the creeps
Rising stars Gina Philips and Justin Long spent a couple of months in rural Florida playing a brother and sister who must elude an evil force in the supernatural horror movie Jeepers Creepers. Shooting mostly at night, the actors found themselves isolated and out of sync with the rest of the world—adding to the film's real creepiness and also requiring them to come up with creative ways to avoid boredom between takes.
Months later, the actors can now laugh about the experience of being trapped in the production. Long—who is best known to SF fans as the geeky Brandon in 1999's Galaxy Quest—and Philips spent many hours at the local Wal-Mart, the only place open on their days off. And they weren't even allowed to hang out with their other co-star, Jonathan Breck, who under layers of special makeup plays a character called The Creeper. Director Victor Salva (Powder) wanted Long and Philips to be genuinely creeped out by Breck when they first saw him—on camera.
Long and Philips took a few moments recently to talk with Science Fiction Weekly and other reporters about the movie, which opened Aug. 31.
Gina Philips, your character isn't the usual screaming bimbo in this movie.
Philips: It was one of my first attractions to it. ... I read it, and I said, "OK, typical male hero [but] she's a female. I love it." She's rational. She's the one who calms him down. Even when she's really upset, she keeps it in check so he doesn't lose it and is more worried about him. Yeah, I love it. I thought she was really ballsy and strong, and yet, you know, she's capable of emotion. But I love that her biggest fear wasn't fear for herself, but it was fear for him, of something bad happening to him.
Are you a horror fan?
Philips: I'm such a horror fan. My dad is a huge horror movie fanatic, and my mother and my brother are not. Therefore, from the age of 4 years old, I was stuck in front of the television with him, watching, like, every creepy movie possible. And I grew up on them. And I love them.
What's your favorite?
Philips: I have different favorites for different reasons. I have one that's one of my favorites, even though now when I watch it, it's not so scary. It just haunts me forever. And that's Amityville Horror. There's a moment in there that will forever haunt me, till this day, it creeps me out. [And] The Omen. It's one of the scariest movies ever.
Why were you attracted to doing a monster movie?
Philips: Well, first of all, I loved the story. I loved the characters. I love the dynamic between the brother and sister. ... And I've always wanted to do a really good horror movie, but I hadn't read anything that was, like, my type of horror movie. I read a lot [of scripts]. There's a lot of these teen horror movies, which I think are fun, and I love watching them, and I love going to Scream, and I love them and they're fun. But it wasn't that kind of horror movie that I grew up on. ... So I thought, "Ohmigod, it's old school. My dad would love this. He would be so proud."
And it turned into a little more of a monster movie along the way of filming, actually. In the beginning, it was supposed to be that [the Creeper] was a little more in shadow, you never quite knew what it was. And then the effects guys did such a great job with it, they were like, "You know what? We can't not go with this." So it turned into a little more of a sci-fi movie on the way. It didn't start out that way.
What was the monster meant to symbolize?
Philips: He's the bogeyman. He's dark. He's evil. He's the devil. It's some version of evil and the devil, just darkness in the world. ... I love at the end that Victor used a children's song, The Boogeyman. ... To use a children's song is the creepiest thing ever.
Did the movie scare you?
Philips: I didn't think I would be [scared], because when I'm looking at it, like, the first few scenes, I'm like, "Oh God, that was the day when it was 105 degrees, and that was the day I decided that I wasn't wearing makeup in the movie," because we attempted to in the beginning, and it was dripping. And I went and said, "OK, you know what? I'm being no-glam girl. No makeup for this whole movie because of that." But somehow, along the way, even though it was me [on the screen], I still, like, jumped. ... And maybe it's because I hadn't seen the way Victor put it together and the way he cut it. But I was still scared.
Justin said you guys spent a lot of time at Wal-Mart on the location?
Philips: We did spend a lot of time at Wal-Mart. There's not a lot open at night. Because we were on night shoots, so then on weekends, we had to stay on that schedule. So we're up at silly hours, and there's nothing open. And we're at Lady Lake, Florida, which more or less means there's nothing there. At night, life is either you go to Perkins or Appleby's. Or Denny's. So we would go to Wal-Mart and buy really stupid things all night long. ... We bought, like, "Ooh, let's try to get into tai chi." There's a tai chi video at 3 in the morning, we're buying it and coming home and trying it, because there's nothing else to do. We own a lot of weird things, a lot of weird exercise equipment, like the Ab-Roller. ... We got really batty.
By the end, we were playing practical jokes nonstop. We were torturing everyone on the set, just to keep ourselves amused. I'll tell you a few. I got down, by the end, to being just the most immature human in the world and actually was toilet-papering people's, like, trailers and cars. Our poor makeup and hair guys would come out and their cars were toilet-papered. We would do this thing, which was kind of mean, where I would have a water bottle, like an Evian bottle, and we poke a hole in it. And then we'd sit and talk to someone and being having a conversation while we're squeezing it, and so by the end—and no one would notice it—Justin and I are walking around and giggling, because everyone has these big wet spots on their crotches [laughs]. ... That's what you do after two and a half months of night shoots! You get a little crazy!
Justin said he tried to maintain a high level of fear between takes?
Philips: We worked a little differently, as every actor works in different ways. I do to a degree. I also like to leave it. It's important to me, that even when I'm playing a miserable role, I'm not, like, the most miserable human in the world. I did that for a while. I spent a few years playing tortured teens, and I would always stay there. And then I realized I was way too angst-ridden, and I was going end up, like, slitting my wrists one day. ... There's only, like, so much Lilith Fair music you can listen to, and then you realize you've got to put an end to it [laughs].
Certain scenes ... I would just say to Victor, "Before we go, when we're getting ready, tell me that we're a minute away." And then I would go in a corner by myself and refocus. Because I needed to lighten it in between, or I was just going to go nuts.
Your characters have a kind of sibling love/hate relationship?
Philips: I have a brother who's a year younger, and we have that same kind [of relationship]. ... Now we get along. We don't have much of the hate part. He also lives in a different state, which makes it much easier. And we're a little older. But when I was 16, like, we were just, yeah, it was that. I loved him. I cared about him. If anyone else said a bad word about him, I'd knock 'em out. But, you know, me and my brother, we're constantly bickering, and back and forth, and one-upping each other. So it was a really natural thing for me.
Did you improv a lot on the set to get that rapport?
Philips: The one thing was, I was cast before the guy was in the film, so I had to read with a few different men that they were interested in for the role. And when Justin walked into that room, it was the weirdest thing. It was like, instant brother-sister. That chemistry was instantly there. Which was strange, because it's not a romantic [thing]. ... You know, sometimes that sexual interest happens right away, where's there's that charge. And it was a totally different kind of thing, where right away, we fell into that. And then we did develop it more, and improv a lot, and actually, the end of the movie, with the creature, that whole scene, a lot of that was just improv.
You drive the car in a lot of the scenes.
Philips: If I ever see that car again ... I showed up to a photo shoot a few months ago. ... And they decided they were going to use a car, and that was the car! And they hadn't seen the movie, and they had no idea. And it was a light blue Chevy Impala. And I went, "No! No! Make it go away!" It was so mean. ... I didn't know how to drive a stick shift before this movie, I have to admit. And I went to, like, ... I went around in this student driver car, which was really mortifying. Not only that, I was the annoying girl that was stalling in the middle while people are beeping at you. But I learned. And then, for some reason now, nothing [else] feels like driving.