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Don Mancini Thinks Bride of Chucky Is What Really Cemented the "Personality of Chucky"
"It was an opportunity to get more in his head."
After three Child's Play movies involving the trials and tribulations of young Andy Barclay, writer Don Mancini had a desire to switch up the formula by bringing Charles Lee Ray (voiced by the always-dependable Brad Dourif) to the forefront of the franchise.
To that end, he dropped the "Child's Play" title while writing the fourth, feature-length installment — 1998's Bride of Chucky — and made the titular doll the central focus of the story. The film also introduced fan favorite Tiffany Valentine (Jennifer Tilly) to the onscreen canon, while establishing a much lighter tone the series has carried on for the last quarter of a century.
How Bride of Chucky cemented the killer doll's personality
"As I worked with Brad Dourif over the years, we took a big step towards cementing the personality of Chucky," Mancini told Empire for the magazine's Summer 2023 issue (now on sale). "Bride of Chucky was the movie that really brought him front and center as a character. It was an opportunity to get more in his head. We find out that he has loves and relationships and complications and a family. That movie came about directly in the wake of Scream. One of its hallmarks was meta, self-aware humor, and I loved that. The idea of doing a farcical comedy, which is really what Bride of Chucky is, was really appealing. It's a slamming-door romantic farce with two star-crossed couples, one of whom happens to be possessed killer dolls."
Mancini had lobbied for the job of director on Bride, but found himself denied by Universal and producer David Kirschner — both of whom thought he was too inexperienced at the time. Ronny Yu (Freddy vs. Jason) landed the gig instead, though Mancini was able to lead the project's second unit in addition to writing the screenplay. This, combined with Bride's $50 million box office gross, proved him worthy of a directorial debut several years later with Seed of Chucky.
"It was scary in a lot of ways. You're talking about having three puppets who are the leads," Mancini confessed, referring to Chucky, Tiffany, and Glen/Glenda (Billy Boyd). "So shooting what may seem like a simple dialogue scene is way, way more complicated than it might appear on paper. And my biggest mandate is that I wanted to bring Jennifer back in an even bigger way. So I thought, 'We'll set it in Hollywood and have Tiffany come and visit Jennifer Tilly, her favorite actress, and try to impregnate her.' Sometimes to this day, Jennifer and I will talk about it and go, 'I can't believe they gave us $10 million to do that.'"
The first two seasons of SYFY and USA Network's hit Chucky series — which holds a fresh 91 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes — are now streaming on Peacock. A third season was officially green-lit by SYFY and USA Network earlier this year.