Yesterday, I had the chance to check out the brand new trailer and a scene from the upcoming 2019 version of CHILD’S PLAY. Afterwards, I got to sit down with the film’s director Lars Klevberg to find out a little bit more about his take on the 80’s horror classic.
What attracted you to the horror genre?
Lars Klevberg: When I think about the films that left an impression on me when I was younger, they were all horror movies. They just seemed to connect with me in a deeper, more emotional way than other genres. I think that’s why so many legendary filmmakers have been a part of the horror genre from Kubrick to Spielberg. I don’t necessarily see myself as a horror director though, I just think it’s an interesting space to tell stories in.
How did the decision come about to make this new version of CHILD’S PLAY be about the dangers of technology?
Lars Klevberg: I think that every good horror movie connects to its generation. Right now, we all trust devices like Alexa to control all the electronics in our homes and to help organize our life. But what if that device took on a human form and could walk around? Then it would be something completely different and our film is just taking that concept to another level. What I like most about using artificial intelligence in the film is that it allows me to create Chucky’s character with a clean slate. Instead of dealing with voodoo, the film deals with a character that sees the world for the first time. How he adapts to his surroundings to find meaning and motivation for his goals is based on how he looks at humans and I thought that was a very interesting subject to explore. Chucky’s arc throughout the film is very interesting to me because everything he does is understandable but it’s morally wrong. That creates a great antagonist, you understand his motivation but you don’t agree with what he is doing.
How did Mark Hamill end up taking on the iconic voice of Chucky?
Lars Klevberg: What I was looking for was not only someone who could pull it off but also someone people can relate to and respect. I knew Mark Hamill’s career as an actor but I was really impressed with his career as a voice actor, particularly his take on the Joke from the animated series and video games. I pitched him to the producers and everyone was on board. We reached out to him and sent him the script and he loved it. Before he recorded his lines he prepared by watching all of the Child’s Play movies back to back. He was very excited and up for the challenge and wanted to create a great character. He wanted to pay homage and be respectful to what Brad Dourif did, but he also wanted to do his own thing.
The announcement of Mark Hamill voicing Chucky took place during the CHILD’S PLAY panel at this year’s WonderCon, much to the surprise of the whole world, including the cast! What was happening on set while you were filming which made it so that the cast didn’t know who Chucky’s voice was?
Lars Klevberg: Chucky is an actual animatronic who’s movements are controlled by several people via remote control. There is a lead puppeteer who portrays the character and says his lines. They are almost like an actor but also are very skillful puppeteers. While the actor was puppeteering he was speaking as well, and that meant that we would improvise on set. The puppeteer was a huge Chucky fan so he would randomly say “dirty” lines from the original film that would make us all laugh. Doing Chucky this way was fun because you don’t want the performance to be too mechanical, you want to put the heart and soul into Chucky’s body so that it comes across on the screen.
CHILD’S PLAY hits theaters June 21, 2019 from Orion Pictures.