'Child's Play' Creator and Stars on Reuniting for a 'Chucky' Series (Exclusive)
By Stacy Lambe
Over 30 years after Child’s Play first introduced the horrifyingly evil “Good Guy” doll who is possessed by a serial killer, the franchise is back with its first TV series, aptly titled Chucky. Created by Don Mancini, the man behind the original films, the newest installment picks up after the seventh sequel, Cult of Chucky, as it follows residents of a small, idyllic town whose lives are upended and secrets are exposed after a series of murders take place.
While the series introduces several newcomers to the franchise, including Devon Sawa as Logan Wheeler and Zackary Arthur as Logan’s nephew, Jake, it most notably reunites Brad Dourif, the longtime voice of Chucky, with Jennifer Tilly as the doll’s lover and partner in crime, Tiffany Valentine. With the series finally premiering on SYFY and USA, Mancini, Dourif and Tilly open up to ET about bringing the Child’s Play franchise back to life.
“I certainly did not expect that it would be going strong 30-something years later,” Mancini says. “I dreamed of it, of course. But even back then, the dream was a bit different because television wasn’t such a big thing then, or at least it wasn’t on my radar as much.”
“So, the first dream I never imagined would happen was that it would become a franchise and that the character would become iconic. That has been a wonderful gift that we have gotten from the fans,” he continues, adding that nearly 40 years after first writing the script for Child’s Play while still a student at UCLA, he never expected Chucky would be the star of his own series. “It’s been quite a ride.”
Part of keeping that magic alive, especially after so many sequels, has been Dourif’s presence as Chucky. While he only provides the voice, he’s responsible for bringing the demented doll to life onscreen. And later, with the addition of Tiffany in Bride of Chucky, the character’s universe and potential only expanded.
“When we first put them together in Bride of Chucky, we knew that that they just had the most extraordinary chemistry,” Mancini says, revealing that he wrote the role of Tiffany for Tilly. “I hadn’t met her at the time but I knew she was the perfect person to play her partly because she had such a distinctive voice and that’s something that you need for a voiceover character.”
“And when we put them together in the sound booth and were recording their dialogue, I think Brad especially loved having the new character along for the ride because for the first time he got to play off of someone,” the creator explains. “Previous to that, he was just by himself recording Chucky’s dialogue in isolation... [And] I think it’s much easier for an actor to have another actor to play off. So, introducing Jennifer into the mix was good for Chucky, good for the franchise, good for all of us.”
Sharing that sentiment, Tilly says, “I love being in the recording studio with Brad.”
Admittedly, she wasn’t sure if she would have much of a part in the series. “I kind of reconciled myself that I’m to have to pass the baton sooner or later,” the actress says. But when she got the script, she saw that Mancini had written Tiffany in. “I was just so happy and grateful. Like, Tiffany lives! She’s back and she’s badder than ever... [Don] really wrote some amazing scenes for me.”
Tilly goes on to explain why Tiffany is so much fun to play. “She’s not only a maniacal killer and a doll and sexy, but she also has all her hopes and fears and she wants to be loved like everybody else,” she says. And because of that, “you're actually pulling for her.”
That said, “We’re both so happy to continue the Chucky and Tiffany legacy,” the actress continues, referring to Dourif.
When it comes to embodying Chucky, it’s been a few years. But that wasn’t an issue for the actor, who says voicing Chucky is like muscle memory at this point. “I’ve done it so much,” he says, adding that there are some things that still remain true about Chucky. “Number one, he is terrified of oblivion. He does not want to die and is very serious about that. Second is he loves his job, which is killing people.... Once I have my handle on those two things, it works.”
And in addition to Tilly and Dourif, the series also sees the return of his daughter, Fiona, as Nica Pierce, a paraplegic woman who becomes possessed by Chucky. When it comes to her role, they can’t say much except that the story will pick up after where things ended in the sequels. “But Fiona’s amazing. She definitely inherited her dad’s talents,” Tilly gushes.
In fact, Chucky also sees the return of Alex Vincent as Andy Barclay, and is full of Easter eggs. “The [episodes] are just dense with detail,” Tilly says, adding that the series is “really scary... There are a lot of F-words and it’s very, very bloody. It starts out kind of quiet and then all mayhem breaks loose.”
Chucky premieres Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on USA Network and SYFY. Devon Sawa will be guest co-hosting ET on Friday, Oct. 29 as part of ET’s Universal Halloween Horror Nights week.