‘Chucky’: Don Mancini & Jennifer Tilly On Why Series Tells Charles Lee Ray’s Origin Story & How 2019 Movie Thew “Crimp In Things”

The classic Chucky film horror franchise is making the leap to television with the upcoming USA/Syfy series from Child’s Play creator Don Mancini and Channel Zero creator Nick Antosca, with Brad Dourif returning as the voice of Chucky alongside the movies’ Jennifer Tilly.

In the eight-episode series, which premieres Oct. 12 for a Halloween run, after a vintage Chucky doll turns up at a suburban yard sale, an idyllic American town is thrown into chaos as a series of horrifying murders begin to expose the town’s hypocrisies and secrets. Meanwhile, the arrival of enemies — and allies — from Chucky’s past threatens to expose the truth behind the killings, as well as the demon doll’s untold origins, as a seemingly ordinary child who somehow became this notorious monster.

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During a TCA panel for the series Monday, Mancini explained while the franchise is finally tackling the origin story of the title character after so many movies.

“Exploring Charles Lee Ray’s origins has been something that the fans have wanted to see and have been asking for literally for decades now,” he said. “And one of the reasons I was excited about taking the franchise into the medium of television was because having so much storytelling real estate, eight hours of Chucky, that provided such a great opportunity for exploring that stuff, among other stuff. But, yeah, so one of the things I was most excited about doing with the show was exploring Charles Lee Ray’s origin.”

The series was already in the works when the 2019 movie Child’s Play from a different creative team came out.

“It did throw a crimp in things a little bit because we were kind of like, ‘Well, now, where do we belong in the Chucky universe?’,” said Tilly, who, along with Mancini and Dourif, were not involved in the feature. “And apparently the film was very good and very well reviewed. But the fans, I don’t know.  Remember they came out with New Coke and everyone liked Coke Classic better, so they brought back the old Coke and now they call it Coke Classic.  I think this is a similar thing.  I mean, people, they love the original Chucky with the voice of Brad Dourif.”

The series will stay true to the characters, style and other key elements of the movies.

“One of the things that was important to me, that we’d be able to retain all of the aspects of the franchise that the fans love, one of which is the gore, the other of which, of course, is Chucky’s propensity for dropping f‑bombs,” Mancini said. “We also have a habit of bringing actors back in different roles from movie to movie.  We were doing that before Ryan Murphy started doing that with the repertoire company he put together on American Horror Story.  So even if someone dies, they can come back in another role.  I started doing that with Jennifer back in the ’90s.”

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