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How Child's Play Juggles Goofy Gore & Character Drama

Child's Play (2019)

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.

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"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."

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However, he also wanted to make sure they honored the filmmakers that came before.

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"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."

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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.

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