Earlier today I had the opportunity to sit and chat with the Men of Chucky- Don Mancini (Directer/Writer), Brad Dourif (Voice of Chucky), and Alex Vincent (The original Andy)- about their latest effort, “Curse of Chucky.” Prior to meeting with them at a hotel in midtown Manhattan, I’d been told by my colleagues that they were absolutely charming and a breeze to speak to because of their inherent love of all things Chucky. And they were right on the money. These guys seem like they have a great time together and, after building so many years of history and Chucky lore together. I can imagine that was a fun set to be on.
I directed my first question to Vincent, who played Andy- Chucky’s intended victim- for the first two films of the franchise, because his return to “Child’s Play” was a fan-favorite decision made for the new film. When I asked how his return had come about, and how he’d reconnected with the Chucky crew after all these years, he and Don explained how they’d reconnected via Facebook a few years back. “It was crazy to see that he’d grown into this cool, smart man. We liked the same taste in music, and had similar interests,” said Mancini. “So we reconnected as friends because- it’s not like I was that old when we worked on the first one, only in my twenties, but he was this kid. And so we became friends. And then I was putting together this new one, and I knew the fans really wanted him back so-” and then Vincent cut in with, “I don’t know who was more excited about that phone call. Me or Don. I was so ready to dive back in.” But secrecy was a top priority for Mancini, who knew that Vincent’s involvement would be a great surprise. “I told him he couldn’t say a word. The movie was still two years out, and we were still getting everything in place. So he had to keep this a secret. I wanted it, he wanted it, and- most importantly- the fans wanted it.”
With Vincent secured, and the production slowly coming together, Dourif described what seemed like a very long wait to get this film off the ground. He was ready to reprise the iconic role, but it wasn’t an easy road to a green light. About 2004’s “Seed of Chucky,” Mancini said the film “didn’t do so well. So that made it a little harder this time. We tried the comedic stuff, and now it was time for a return to horror. That’s the great thing about the Chucky character. He’s so versatile. We can put him in all of these scenarios. But we’d never done something that was more gothic, and that’s what ‘Curse’ is.”
On the sequel/reboot, Dourif offered this insight: “For any sequel to work, it has to have certain things that are exactly the same and other things that are completely different. Every sequel should be a reboot, essentially.” And Mancini is incredibly grateful to still have the reins of the franchise, despite the new fresh take. I was quick to point out that studios usually throw out the baby with the bath water when they’re thinking of remaking or reintroducing an old franchise- like the millennial reboots of “Halloween” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” “Oh, I know. And I owe it all to David Kirschner, the producer who’s been with us since the beginning. He stuck with me. Screenwriters get fired all the time, but he kept me on. And, if I’m a studio, and I’m financing a film, I think you want to hire the guy who knows the characters, has a passion for them, and can navigate through the web of Chucky mythology that we’ve built for the last 25 years. I’m incredibly grateful to David.”
So Mancini had Dourif, Vincent, and now he needed his female protagonist. The character of Nica was a tricky part. Very intense. He called Dourif and said he was on the hunt for an “edgy” actress and asked him if he knew anyone. “Oh yeah, I know someone all right,” said Dourif, and he suggested his daughter Fiona. “By that point she’d gotten really good, and I told him he should give her a look.”
“I saw she’d done ‘The Master’ with Paul Thomas Anderson and I thought, ‘Okay, well that’s impressive.’ And I’d seen her ‘True Blood,’ playing a witch so I called her in for an audition. And she nailed it. She reminds of Amy Irving in the 70s, with ‘Carrie’ and ‘The Fury.’ You can really believe that something supernatural is happening to her. With some actresses, they can be great, but they’re so naturalistic that you wouldn’t be able to buy that they were in these scenarios. But she came in and blew us away. I was resistant at first, you know? It felt too easy; to find our lead in our own backyard. But she was just right. So when I made the decision it was exciting. Brad was the first call I made.”
I then pointed out that she was only a little girl when “Child’s Play” was released and asked if he even let her watch the film at the time. “No. Absolutely not. She came in once, and I was doing a scene- recording the audio- for the scene where Chucky is set on fire, and she walks in and I’m screaming in agony. I was in such pain. And she was terrified. She ran out of the room and I had to run out and comfort her.” Mancini then interjected, “Did you think you’d be able to say, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll get to do this too’?” Dourif laughed at the thought before adding, “Yeah. ‘Don’t worry, honey. One day you’ll get to kill daddy.'”
When asked what it feels like to be such integral parts in creating one of Hollywood’s immortal monsters, Chucky, who stands alongside such heavy-hitters as Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers, all three men agreed it was a very humbling experience.
“It’s thrilling, to be part of this. Just thrilling. The fans are so passionate,” said Mancini. Vincent was quick to add, “My mom called me up once because she’d just seen a picture of a guy with a Chucky and Andy tattoo on his arm. The guy had my 6-year-old self tattooed on his arm,” as he smiled with excited disbelief. Dourif then said, “It’s really something. I was doing this play. It just wrapped, actually. And- to show you how different it is- it was a Tennesee Williams play. Very serious stuff. But every night, when I walked through that stage door, people were waiting out there for me to sign Chucky dolls.”
Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, fellas. And thanks even more for giving us Chucky. If you haven’t seen “Curse of Chucky” yet, I recommend it. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what new wrinkles these guys can put on a franchise that’s been going on for 25