The Child's Play reboot injects a surprising amount of character drama into a film about a murderous doll. Combining the two outwardly disapparate tones was undoubtedly a challenge, but one director Lars Klevberg accepted with gusto.
Klevberg was intrigued less by the prospect of just doing a Child's Play movie than with making an interesting film.
"I wanted to make the movie as good as possible but make it my way," he told CBR. "I didn't want to shy away from doing things differently. Not because I just wanted to do things differently but because the story demanded it."
However, he also wanted to make sure they honored the filmmakers that came before.
"It's like we've been saying, this is our rated-R movie," Klevberg explained. "And we think it was a good choice. For me, it was important that we pay homage, to keep some consistency with the Child's Play universe. If [Orion Pictures] had wanted, say, a PG-13 cash grab, that wouldn't make sense to me. It feels good, that the violence and the gore feel integrated with the story. It's added there to say something. I think it worked out pretty good. ... As a director, you never get to see a movie with fresh eyes. I know for sure the moment [someone] breaks their legs, audiences will go 'oooooooh!' It's part of the fun of making a Child's Play movie. You can create some fun visual gadgets and scenes with Chucky. It pays off if it's interesting and funny."
Klevberg admitted that melding the character drama with the goofy gore of Child's Play was one of the challenges he loved about making the film.
"How I analyzed it and read [the script] was that it was a very emotional story," he said. "There was a lot of drama to the story of Chucky and Andy and Karen and Mike. I wanted to present it as a real, serious movie in itself. That everything Chucky did came from a reason. But then, you know, he goes out and kills people and animals and misbehaves very, very much. That was most of the fun. And when you introduce violence into a scene ... you've been watching this very entertaining movie with emotional actors, and suddenly a character falls off the ladder.
"And all of a sudden it's like, 'OK, fuck you, guys, now it's starting. We've been very polite so far, this is what we're going to present.' I think that's really interesting, because we've presented the dramatical movie of great characters and Chucky, and now of course, there's violence. You have to remind people that this is a Chucky movie, that this is a Child's Play movie. First and foremost, it's a horror movie. It's a Chucky movie. He's the star of the show, and that's what people need to know. If they'd just made a basic Child's Play movie and cast whoever, that'd never work for me. You want to have great actors, you want to have a Chucky that's understandable, and you put that into the context of a Child's Play movie: where this madness occurs and this absurd humor happens. All those elements were part of the story. The humor is integrated, along with the violence."
Directed by Lars Klevberg from a script by Tyler Burton Smith, Child's Play stars Aubrey Plaza, Brian Tyree Henry, Gabriel Bateman, Tim Matheson and Mark Hamill.