An iconic mainstay of horror since the 1980s, the Good Guy doll was first introduced in Child’s play had been redesigned for the next generation of fans. The new SYFY series Chucky, which debuted Oct. 12 on SYFY and USA, serves as a sequel to the original franchise and follows the havoc that a toy makes in a small suburban town.
Stars Zackary Arthur and Teo Briones spoke Screen cry about their characters and what they hope to add to the legend of Chucky.
Screen Rant: Can you tell me a bit about your characters?
Zackary Arthur: I play Jake on the show. Jake is misunderstood simply because he is more creative. He is also a loner and his father does not accept him because he is different and he enters into his sexuality. Everyone is harassing him because of it. I mean, that’s it for Jake.
Teo Briones: Junior is actually not much different from Jake, as they both have rather difficult family lives, although Junior’s side of the family is much better off. Junior has the pressure from his father to be a good runner and he has the pressure to be the popular kid in school. And his girlfriend, Lexy [Alyvia Alyn Lind], the other most popular kid in school is pretty awful to him and everyone around her. He’s definitely a little flustered and he lashes out at Jake and bullies him for being different.
When you first read the script, can you tell me about some of the themes that immediately jumped out at you?
Teo Briones: From the start, I loved how funny the show was. I remember when I was sent the first script, I was reading it with my mom and we were laughing the whole way. It was so funny. Especially as the show progressed, because it gets really scary.
The characters are so different from most other horror movies, especially with Chucky, it’s very different from before. Because with Chucky previously only in movie format, most of the time was spent killing, right? But now we have eight hours to not only have a lot of fun with death and gore, but also to develop our characters and the relationships between our characters and the stories. These are the things that initially attracted me to the show, and I was very excited to be able to be a part of it.
Don Mancini has been there from the start and we’ve seen this franchise evolve over time with audiences. So, can you tell us a bit about the process of working with Don?
Zackary Arthur: Don is such a great director and he’s always been very open to our ideas and that has really helped us as actors to develop our characters and basically understand them better and represent them better.
Speaking of your characters, what did you want to bring to the roles of Junior and Jake that were not necessarily up to date?
Zackary Arthur: Well, what was not necessarily on the page is the incredible tension that the two characters have. As you know, Teo said, we’re not really different in terms of situations. But we don’t confide because of that. We, I guess, hate it for it on the show, of course.
Teo Briones: I don’t think the page was missing much because it was so beautifully written. But something I felt I could bring out a bit more was his less mean side and show that deep down Junior knows that everything he does, everything Lexy does, all this bullying is wrong.
He doesn’t really want to, but it’s because of the circumstances that he feels he has to. So what I wanted to emphasize more was the good side of Junior and the human side, so people – although in the first few episodes in particular, he’s not the bigger person – they’re still going to feel the character. Hope I did a good job, especially in the last few episodes.
What does the series add to Chucky’s legacy? And what will excite for a long time Child’s play and Chucky fans to get involved in the series?
Zackary Arthur: We can actually see the origin story of Chucky. His first murders, how he became the murderer that he is. As a longtime Chucky fan, I think they’ll be really, really excited to have everyone come back. Christine Elise and Andy Barclay, everyone is coming back.
You said Chucky was actually pretty much done. Can you tell me about how Don wanted to implement the practical effects to really give him the Chucky atmosphere and aesthetics if you will?
Teo Briones: He absolutely wanted to use as little CGI as possible. He wanted everything to be real because a lot of times when it’s CGI it can look good and it can be executed well but you know it’s CGI and it just doesn’t feel the same. Above all, he was also very adamant about being all practical for his actors. It’s something I love about Don, he was very caring and understanding for his actors, and he knows how difficult it is to act with something that isn’t there.
The fact that everything was practical really helped everyone to be in the scene and feel like they were acting with Chucky, not with an item that isn’t actually there. I know for sure when I was doing scenes with him, I didn’t think, “Oh, this is a doll that is controlled by a group of puppeteers.” I felt like it was a killer doll that I was making a scene with. And it was an amazing experience and I’m really very, very happy that they decided to go for the practice.
Can you tell me about the theme of harassment that we see appearing in the series?
Zackary Arthur: One thing I like to mention is that this series really shows the issues that happen every day. Regarding bullying and people not accepting people who go into their sexuality, and hopefully people will sympathize with that.
I don’t think this show works really well, is that we get to see why bullies are bullets. And of course with Chucky, there’s really no explanation. He’s just a bad guy. Especially with the character Junior and the character Lexy, you can see why the characters are the way they are. And of course you can see the wonderful story of Chucky and how he became a murderer.
Next: Who Was Jake’s Mysterious Caller In Chucky Episode 1?
New episodes of Chucky premieres Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on USA & SYFY.
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