Chucky’s Don Mancini on Returning Glen/Glenda, Dragging Even Further From Remake (Exclusive)
ComicBook.com: This was the shortest time you’ve had between chapters and the franchise since Child’s Play 2 and Child’s Play 3. Is there anything about this quick turnaround that really benefited you? ?
Don Mancini: Absolutely, yes. All of us, and I think the writers, the directors and especially the puppeteers, we all felt fit, almost like athletes. By the end of the first season, we were really in a groove. And so it was really great that we didn’t have to wait a few years to come back, that we could just go back. And I think that really helped the show because we all just felt, it seems too self-aggrandizing, at the top of our game, but we just felt fit. And so I love that aspect of coming back so quickly.
CB: Now with the first season, I’m sure there were some growing pains just because it’s a different kind of schedule and the way things are structured with television. What do you think was your biggest conclusion?
Maybe something isn’t going the way you thought with Season 1 that you used to your advantage in Season 2?
DM: Oh my god, it’s hard. I mean, the first thing that comes to mind is just the pandemic. And so the first season, we weren’t at the start of the pandemic, but it was a relatively early production to shoot in those conditions. And so it was quite a trial by fire for me as a first-time showrunner to do this under those conditions. And so I think I was kind of freaking out about that going into the first season. I was just like, “Oh my God, how are we going to do this?” But it’s interesting, it was ultimately a bonding experience for the cast and crew because we literally have to support each other. We wear masks and shields and test every day or every other day or whatever. And it’s also that we can protect each other so that we can continue to work.
And I think we all realize how lucky we were to be able to do that, because so many people in various companies were cut because of it. And so I think once we get into the rhythm of that, we’re like, “Okay, we can do this. We can do this as long as we work together.” And so I think going into season two, and we were filming under similar circumstances. I mean, Toronto wasn’t shut down like it was when we got there for the first season, but we were still… The pandemic was still there. And actually our production was hit a lot harder than in the first season, I think partly just because restrictions were eased outside of the world.
BC: Of course.
DM: I mean, people weren’t wearing masks in the world, but we were, and we were observing all these protocols while we were filming. So I think that aspect of season two, it was a direct result of our experience in what we learned in season one.
CB: “In some marketing material, a few people have noticed that the show now bears your name, it’s Don Mancini’s Chucky. How important was it for you to put this on marketing?
DM: Well, it’s incredibly flattering and I’d be lying if I said I don’t like it. Last year, for the first season, it was written above the title, “From Don Mancini”, or something like that. And I didn’t have that in my contract or anything. Normally, I think these things are provided for by contract.
DM: And it wasn’t in this case, it was just something the studio did. And I guess that was because they wanted to emphasize that it was OG Chucky as opposed to the remake that came out in 2019 or whatever. So I think that was probably their intention there. But from my perspective, it was like, “Oh my god, that’s so cool.” Then I thought, “Well, there’s no going back now. I can’t not have my… I thought, ‘I’ve gotten too used to it.’ is like once you fly business class, it’s like, “Oh, I can’t go back. So it’s really a gift from the studio, honestly, and the networks that they’re doing this. And I am incredibly grateful and my ego is very happy with it.
CB: I want to jump on the fact that you’re bringing Glen and Glenda back as characters on the show, and it’s been a while since we last saw them.
So how long have you known what you wanted to do with them, and was the gap between their appearances part of it? Or was it just some kind of necessity?
DM: It was really more necessary because initially Seed of Chucky, when it came out in 2004, didn’t do well. And so for a while in the franchise, when we did Curse of Chucky and Cult of Chucky, even though I wanted to allude to those characters, the people we were working with at the time wouldn’t allow me to.
Besides. I’m not trying to vilify them at all. They were great, very supportive of making these movies. But I think their thinking was, “Okay, people didn’t like Seed of Chucky, so we want to stay away from anything that reminds them of that.” I mean, that’s not how I felt. I think that was their reasoning. And if I can be objective about it, it’s like, “Okay, I can see that.” But then when we moved into television, we work with a whole new group of people at UCP, who I had worked with when I was working on Channel Zero for Nick Antosca, who was the showrunner of that show. So I got to know some of the executives from UCP and Syfy, and Nick is another executive producer on the show. So they were completely open to that.
I mean, I think it’s partly because I’ve been doing this for a long time now, and so all these executives now, they grew up with Chucky. They are all, that’s not all, but many of them are young enough to be my children. And the good thing is, they grew up with it and they’re real fans, not just of Chucky, but of the horror genre in general. And I also think that in general, in our profession, the horror genre is much more respected now than it was when I started. It was more like the bastard son-in-law and people would be vaguely, sometimes vaguely embarrassed by it or sometimes… Not bothered by it. It’s just not their thing.
DM: The leaders are again very supportive, smart and helpful, but it’s not necessarily something they would monitor themselves. It’s very different now because all of our executives that we work with at the studio and the network, they’re huge horror fans and fans of the Chucky franchise. So to answer your question, they were very open to bringing those characters back. And of course, thankfully, the world has evolved to a point where it’s more welcoming to this kind of hardware. So I knew that on top of that, having eight hours of story at our disposal to tell was the perfect opportunity to start walking these different avenues and exploring these characters from the franchise’s past that people have wondered about. over the years. And so here we are doing it now.
New episodes of Chucky air Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on SYFY and USA Network.