Chucky is back and this time the possessed killer doll is coming right into your living room.
Child’s Play franchise creator Don Mancini is bringing his continuing stories about a cute child’s doll inhabited by the spirit of serial killer Charles Lee Ray to television with the launch of Chucky on on the USA and SyFy Networks next week. And Mancini was joined by franchise regular Jennifer Tilly at New York Comic Con yesterday to screen the show’s first episode and let fans know what is in store for future episodes of the series.
“I started thinking about it while working on the TV show Hannibal,” explained Mancini. “I was so amazed by the process of the writer’s room. ‘Wait a minute? We come to a room everyday with seven or eight other people and talk about Hannibal all day?’ It didn’t feel like work for me. What if I could do that with Chucky? I just thought the idea of inviting more very talented people into the process I knew it could elevate our franchise the way that Brian Fuller was able to elevate Hannibal. I was really excited to have eight hours of story to tell because that would allow us to focus on character and relationships to a degree that we have never been able to before. Also we would be able to go down several storytelling avenues such as the original story of Charles Lee Ray which fans have been asking for.”
The new series opens with teenager Jake (Zackary Arthur) buying a vintage Chucky Good Guys doll at a yard sale with the intent of using it in an art project. Jake has a bad home life. His father is an alcoholic who hasn’t recovered from the death of his wife, Jake’s mom. Jake’s school life isn’t much better as he doesn’t have much in the way of friends and he feels isolated being the only out gay student. When Chucky sees how miserable Jake’s life is, he decides to step in and remove a few of the hardships in Jake’s life.
For Mancini, the teenaged protagonist and junior high school setting were important for a couple of reasons.
“I wanted to bring the franchise back to its Child’s Play roots and we hadn’t focused substantially on kids in a while,” he stated. “But having done little kids already I thought fourteen and fifteen year olds would be really interesting because people are at a really interesting time in their lives then, they’re finding themselves. I thought introducing Chucky into that mix would be really interesting.”
Mancini also has a personal reason for wanting to bring Chucky to junior high.
“There is more autobiography in the show than I have done before,” Mancini explains. “As you know I started injecting LGBTQ content into the franchise starting with Bride [Of Chucky]. That seemed to go well, so we kept moving forward with that. I thought that it was a great opportunity to give young gay fans representation and to see themselves on screen in a way I wasn’t able to when I was fourteen or fifteen years old. Also, write what you know, so a lot of what Jake is going through in the show is stuff that I’ve experienced and a lot of gay guys have experienced. Hopefully it’s a little better now but we still have a ways to go. I just wanted to normalize the notion of gay and gay romance, but also make it cool.”
Chucky debuts on the USA and SyFy Networks on Tuesday October 12 at 10pm.