Remaking classic movies is always a minefield, and for the producer of the new Child’s Play reboot, Seth Grahame-Smith, distinguishing the film from its source material was key to creating this year’s R-rated remake of the 1988 cult classic.
During a chat with a small group of journalists at the MGM screening room, Grahame-Smith explained that, for the creative team behind the film, there needed to be a reason to make Child’s Play in 2019. “The first thing that was important to get across is the ‘why’… and so we leaned into more of the A.I. Kaslan story and the fact that our Chucky is driven by something different than he is in the original series when he’s Charles Lee Ray and he’s just a truly a psychopath killer in the body of a doll.”
From what Grahame-Smith told us and what we saw in the screening, it’s truly a different beast. First, we were treated to the trailer, which you can watch here. It establishes Chucky as an A.I. doll constructed to connect with a specific smart home system made by a corporation known as Kaslan. This is worlds away from the doll’s original origin, which saw him possessed by the spirit of a serial killer known as Charles Lee Ray. Grahame-Smith confirmed that part of Chucky’s story would not be heading to the screen later this year. “I wanted us to have our own version of this character that had his own reason to exist instead of doing Charles Lee Ray again, which I think would have just been an insanely bad idea,” he said.
Next, we saw a clip that began with Chucky and Andy as close friends, playing a game together. Grahame-Smith explained that the pair have both “been rejected” and that they find something special when they come together… at first. “It starts off very sweet and Andy is certainly in need of a friend and finds one in Chucky,” Grahame-Smith said. “We wanted to lean into the fact that this is a relationship that’s genuine and goes off the rails in a big way, but it’s not just brooding and sinister from the get-go.”
Despite their sweet beginnings, the end of the sequence gave us an insight into Chucky’s mind. When Andy is scratched by his pet cat, the doll tries to kill the animal. Of course, Andy is less than happy and attempts to explain to Chucky why that’s not an okay thing to do. For the producer, this is a vital insight into what drives the demonic doll this time around. It’s not that he’s a cold-blooded killer, it’s just that he’ll just do anything to make the child he loves happy. “It’s all about this one kid, and whatever he does is all in relation to his relationship with Andy,” Grahame-Smith said. “The violence, the gore, the kills, the mania, the massacre. All of it is in service of that singular goal, and it’s just taken to the extreme.”
Child’s Play hits screens on June 21.
Images: MGM, Orion