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We live in a time when all kids want for Christmas are toys that require you to look at some sort of screen. Whether it’s a TV, a tablet, or a phone, we certainly live in the digital age of children’s entertainment. Well, one toy is going to try and change all that, or kill you trying. The cast and crew of the 2019 reimagining of Child’s Play arrived at WonderCon and discussed what this new version of Chucky brings to the table.
Moderator Clark Collis from Entertainment Weekly brought out the panel, which consisted of producers David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith, screenwriter Tyler Burton Smith, director Lars Klevburg, and stars Aubrey Plaza (Karen) and Gabriel Bateman (Andy).
Fans in attendance were shown a sizzle reel of what to expect from this re-imagining of the Chucky story. That was awesome in itself, but what followed was even more so. An old friend dropped by with a video message.
The panel discussion began with understanding why 2019 was a good time to modernize the story of Child's Play. Grahame-Smith said, "That was the first question we asked ourselves. Why now?" The answer was simple: technology. Not in the respect of new "movie magic" technology, but in the general sense. They are now able to use this story to not only take on a classic, but also as a commentary on how technology is used today. Aubrey Plaza added, "I am one of those people who are skeptical about reboots, but this script surprised me with how it talks about the world of today."
Plaza then went on to talk about what drew her to this particular character. "I related to the aspect of a super-young mom. My mom and I are the same age difference as Karen and Andy, so I really connected with that."
Speaking of Andy, Gabriel Bateman discussed why his character would be drawn to a toy doll when this version of Andy is significantly older than the previous incarnation. "Andy is very introverted, so when his mom gives him Chucky, he becomes Andy's first real friend besides his mom. He grows a real strong emotional attachment to Chucky."
The discussion then moved to the script for the movie. Tyler Burton Smith talked about how to make what's old new again: "You want to have certain beats from the first one, but you also don't want to make a shot-for-shot remake. You need to make it modern and relevant." Even with the commentary about electronics in 2019, Burton Smith emphasized that the core of the movie was the "relationship between Andy and Chucky."
One of the major things that were kept from the original to the new version was the use of practical effects. "We used animatronics and practical effects whenever possible," said Grahame-Smith. Director Lars Klevberg added that at times it was "challenging, but worth it."
If you are going to do a reboot, it's important that it has something new to say, otherwise what is the point? With the evolution of technology between 1988 (the year of the original release) and today, there is certainly something to be said about how far we've come, or in the case of Child's Play and Chucky the killer doll, how far we've fallen.
Child’s Play opens in theaters everywhere June 21, 2019.