Child’s Play creator, Don Mancini, opens up about how his work on NBC’s Hannibal inspired his creation and development of his upcoming Chucky series.
Child’s Play creator Don Mancini opens up about how his work on NBC’s Hannibal inspired his creation and development of his upcoming Chucky series. Developed by Bryan Fuller, the psychological thriller series combined characters and elements from Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter novels, namely Red Dragon. The story explored the complicated relationship between troubled FBI special investigator, Will Graham, and his titular forensic psychiatrist who would become his greatest enemy with his cannibalistic extracurricular activities.
Mancini began development on Chucky shortly before the release of the Mark Hamill-starring Child’s Play reboot and ramped up his work due to his disappointment with the project. The series will see the returns of franchise vets Brad Dourif as the titular killer doll, Jennifer Tilly as his lover Tiffany Valentine, Alex Vincent as original protagonist Andy Barclay, Christine Elise McCarthy as Child’s Play 2‘s Kyle and Fiona Dourif as recent lead, Nica Pierce. After delays from the COVID-19 pandemic, production is nearing its conclusion and anticipation is building for the series.
Ahead of the first trailer’s premiere at this week’s Comic-Con@Home, Mancini caught up with Entertainment Weekly to discuss development on Chucky and how his time working in the writers room for Hannibal inspired the horror series. Having learned a lot from Fuller and being blown away by the show, Mancini found one of its biggest successes to be its “fanciful imagining” of its source material and that it was essentially “fan fiction written by experts.” See what Mancini had to say below:
That’s when I started imagining doing the same thing with Chucky, having eight hours of narrative to play with and doing it with a bunch of like-minded horror geeks and legit Chucky fanatics. I’ve been around for quite a while now, and I meet a lot of younger people who love the franchise and who grew up on it, and so I felt, wow, if I can cultivate the excitement that they have for Chucky, in the same way I felt Bryan Fuller was able to cultivate my and the other writers’ excitement for Hannibal, we could have something really special. At the same time, one of the things I’ve always tried to do with the franchise over the years is find ways of reinventing it. I realized that taking it into the medium of television would change the lens through which we view the characters in the franchise in a potentially really fruitful way. Just having eight hours of story to deal with necessarily puts you in a position where you’re dealing much more with characters and relationships than you can in any single 90-minute movie.
Mancini was certainly not the only person to be skeptical about Hannibal coming to the small screen at NBC and similarly wasn’t the only one to be surprised at how phenomenal it turned out to be. The Child’s Play creator’s description of Fuller’s series is actually one of the more accurate for it, as its approach to primarily adapting Red Dragon while borrowing elements from Harris’ other novels proved to be a delight for fans of the source works, as well as newcomers. Hearing Mancini describe this approach as his biggest inspiration for Chucky is certainly an interesting take for the series.
Given it is set after 2017’s Cult of Chucky, it may not be able to blend story elements from previous Child’s Play outings as Hannibal did, but the roster of characters set to appear does point towards an intriguing implementation of the formula. With Tiffany, Andy, Kyle and Nica all slated to return, it does create a sense of curiosity as to how Chucky will bring the film’s mythology to television. Only time will tell when the series arrives on SYFY and USA Network on October 12.
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