Chucky Season 3’s White House Storyline Expands the Mythology in Big Ways

Thứ sáu - 17/05/2024 22:24
Don Mancini on getting to tell a haunted house story in the White House, dealing with Chucky's voodoo backstory, and potential returning characters.

35 years since we first met him, Chucky is showing no signs of slowing down. The iconic killer doll returned last week, as Chucky Season 3 kicked off on USA and Syfy, continuing an ongoing story that has been playing out since 1988’s Child’s Play, with the series still maintaining the same continuity since that first film in a way that few other franchises can boast after so long. Perhaps even more amazing is that the same person, Don Mancini, has been guiding the series since the start, from conceiving of the concept and writing the original screenplay for Child’s Play to writing every single film in the series afterwards (and directing several installments) to now serving as showrunner for the TV series.

Because of the WGA strike, Mancini wasn’t originally able to promote Chucky Season 3, but with the strike now over, I was able to speak to him about the new season the morning after the season premiere episode, “Murder at 1600”, aired. Season 3 is airing in two four-episode halves and Mancini confirmed to me that the final episodes have not completed production yet due to the still ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, so hopefully the AMPTP offers a fair deal on that front soon as well, so the wait won’t be too long for fans once we reach the mid-season break.

Call me, maybe? Chucky (voiced by Brad Dourif) in Chucky Season 3

In the meantime, Mancini spoke about this season’s big and bold move of putting Chucky into the White House – as he’s posing as “Joseph,” a Good Guy doll who belongs to Henry Collins (Callum Vinson), the young son of President James Collins (Devon Sawa) – and why he brought the series to this unexpected setting. We also discussed Sawa and other cast members from the past returning in new roles after their previous characters were killed off, the evolving use of Chucky’s voodoo connections in the story, and what legacy characters could be coming back, on a series that has already brought in several familiar faces from the films. While Mancini didn’t promise or confirm anything, fans of Child’s Play 3 should take note that it certainly feels like there’s a good chance we could be seeing Andy Barclay’s teenage love interest, Kristen De Silva, again at some point…

Fandom: In the first season, you had a high school setting, and then in Season 2, a Catholic boarding school. But you’ve really elevated things here with the White House. Where did the inspiration come from? Was part of it a ‘This is so crazy, it can work’ approach? 

Don Mancini: Yeah, but it wasn’t just that. We always want to find some semi-radical way of reinventing every season or movie that we do, so we knew going in we needed to do that. We’d done the suburban family thing in Season 1, and in a couple of the movies, and then we did the boarding school. So, we needed to mix that up. And I also needed to put some obstacles in the way of our three teens, between them and their goal, which is Chucky. So, having to find a way to get into the most secure house in the world was an interesting goal to give them. But I have long been interested in the lore surrounding the White House being haunted. I’ve long wanted to write something about that. And I also just saw the possibilities of putting Chucky there, in the seat of absolute power, was both daunting for the world but also hilarious in a new way. And it also allowed us a chance to expand on the mythology, and you’ve only really getting a taste of that in the first four episodes. But I think you see that there’s more going on here than just Chucky in the White House, and that really pays off in the back half of the season. So that was really fun, also, just to play with all that.

Better get used to these funerals! Callum Vinson as Henry Collins, Jackson Kelly as Grant Collins, Lara Jean Chorostecki as Charlotte Collins, and Devon Sawa as James Collins are joined by a familiar Good Guy in Chucky Season 3

Fandom: Watching the screeners for the episodes, I did think about how there’s not that many horror shows and movies that have dealt with the White House. I love that it’s Chucky doing it, but it sounds like you wanted to play in that arena in a horror setting beyond that? 

Don Mancini: Absolutely, yeah. In fact, years ago, I was working on a pilot for a haunted White House story and I pitched it a couple of places. And it’s just something I’ve done a lot of research about and was very excited about. I love haunted house stories and you’re always looking for a way to make that original, and as you say, it’s odd [the White House] hasn’t really been delved into at all. So I just thought, ‘Well, we can do that. Let’s do that!’ Because Chucky, in a way, is a ghost. He’s a spirit that’s animating a plastic vessel, but as he himself, along with the other characters, discover, there are other spirits lingering there that may also be interested in his sort of goal.

(L-R) Devon Sawa as Lucas Wheeler and Logan Wheeler in Chucky Season 1 (2021), Father Bryce in Chucky Season 2 (2022), and President James Collins in Chucky Season 3 (2023)

Fandom: I’ve loved the revolving door of Devon Sawa characters. This season, you expand on that because you have several people coming back from previous seasons in new roles. Now that you’ve established with Devon the same actor can play someone, did you just figure hey, why not also bring back these other talented folks too? 

Don Mancini: I love working with actors and I tend to bond with them. I like to work with them over and over and it can be really fun to write roles specific to a specific actor, but it’s something I’ve done even before the show. Not just in the obvious way with Jennifer Tilly playing Jennifer and Tiffany, but in Curse of Chucky and Cult of Chucky, an actor named Adam Hurtig played one role in Curse and another role in Cult. An actress named Ali Tataryn, same thing, played a role in Curse, then [another role] in Cult. Michael Therriault played the evil Dr. Foley in Cult of Chucky, so this season is his third role in Chucky.

(L-R) Michael Therriault as Dr. Foley in Cult of Chucky (2017), Nathan Cross in Chucky Season 1 (2021), and Vice President Spence in Chucky Season 3 (2023)

Fandom: That’s right! 

Don Mancini: He played Lexy’s ill-fated dad in Season 1 and he’s playing the Vice President in Season 3. Devon played two roles in Season 1, he played the priest in Season 2, and now he’s playing the president. And that pays off in really unexpected ways you’ll see in the back half of the season. And Lara Jean Chorostecki I first met when I worked on Hannibal. I had wanted to work with her again for a long time and we’d been talking about it for years. So it was great to be able to bring her in. She played the evil nun from last year but Lara Jean is a very versatile actress and she has this very glamorous side. We saw it in Hannibal, of course, but not so much in Season 2 of Chucky. So I knew she would be a great first lady. So yeah, it’s really, really fun to do that.

(L-R) Lara Jean Chorostecki as Sister Ruth in Chucky Season 2 (2022) and First Lady Charlotte Collins in Chucky Season 3 (2023)

Fandom: So the way my mind works is I thought ‘White House… government… military…?’ and then I thought ‘Could this lead to De Silva??’ And it might not at all, I realize. But last season, you brought together all of your established legacy characters in the same room. This season, we see a couple of those characters in the first four episodes, but there are some that we still haven’t seen on the show yet, so is everything still on the table as possibilities?

Don Mancini: Yeah, I don’t want to say too much, other than one specific that you brought up. I love Perrey Reeves. I thought she was great as De Silva. And… stay tuned! I’m not confirming or denying either way but it’s something that I have thought about and talked to her about. We’ll see.

Fandom: My fingers are crossed. 

Will Kristen De Silva (Perrey Reeves), last seen in 1991's Child's Play 3, meet Chucky again?

Don Mancini: I really love her. As a writer, director, whatever, you get attached to people sometimes, so that when she became Mrs. Ari on Entourage, I was weirdly proud. I had nothing to do with it but it’s like ‘Oh, she’s doing so well! That’s great!’

Fandom: There’s been several kid characters in this franchise, but they’re usually either would-be victims or would-be vessels for Chucky or being manipulated by him. Caroline is the first time we’re seeing a kid who is much more of a willing participant. Did you like the angle of mixing up the dynamic with a kid and Chucky?

Don Mancini: Yeah, it was just as you said. So far in this franchise, the children have been dupes for the most part. Dupes and then they come around and then they’re instrumental in defeating Chucky. But in Season 1, having given Chucky the specific goal of corrupting an innocent, I think Chucky found that a very interesting process at the same time. He’s a little disappointed in his own kid, GG, who decided to walk a more straight and narrow path. Well, that’s actually the very wrong way to ID that character. [Laughs] Not the straight and narrow path but the non-serial killing path. Caroline is what he had hoped GG to be, so that’s what he’s trying to do there. And also, Carina [Battrick] is just such a great actor, and almost scarily versatile. In Season 1, she’s just playing a sweet innocent kid, but I knew she had it in her to walk that path as an actor. And being a longtime Damien fan and The Omen fan, the creepy kid subgenre is something I love. And so I saw an opportunity with Carina to explore that.

(L-R) Carina Battrick as Caroline Cross, Chucky, and guest star Kenan Thompson in Chucky Season 3

Fandom: You’ve been open before about the fact that if you’d stayed with the first movie start to finish, you never would have put in the voodoo element. You’ve dealt with it since in a lot of amusing ways. But this season, in some ways you embrace it the most. Is that just something where you’re just like, ‘Alright, the voodoo is already part of the lore. Let’s really dive in here’?

Don Mancini: Oh, absolutely. And my own feelings about it notwithstanding, fans seem to love that. And you know, all credit to [Child’s Play director] Tom Holland for bringing that to the franchise. Even though I didn’t like it, lots of people do. But we are stuck with it in a way. It’s just part of the lore, so we’ve expanded it in all kinds of ways, like you said, this season. Wait until you see the back half of the season because you get way more into the mythology of Damballa.

(L-R) Bjorgvin Arnarson as Devon Evans, Zachary Arthur as Jake Wheeler, Alyvia Alyn Lind as Lexy Cross in Chucky Season 3

Fandom: I know we’re about out of time, so I need to ask, have you shot all of this season? 

Don Mancini: No. We were shut down by the strike. So we’re hoping that the SAG strike will be settled soon and we’ll be heading back to Toronto to finish.

Fandom: Hopefully that can happen soon. Well, thanks for talking, Don. I’m going back to Halloween Horror Nights tonight, so I’ll be seeing their great Chucky house again. 

Don Mancini: I haven’t been yet.

Fandom: You’ve gotta get over there!

Don Mancini: [Universal Studios Hollywood’s] John Murdy and [Universal Orlando Resorts’] Michael Aiello were really nice in involving me early on, like a year ago, in talks about it and what they did was incredible from what I’ve seen and heard.

New episodes of Chucky debut Wednesdays at 9:00pm PT / ET on USA and Syfy and are available on Peacock the following day. 

Click below to read more about the new Chucky house at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights.

Total notes of this article: 0 in 0 rating

Click on stars to rate this article