"I THINK BECAUSE TEENAGERS' EMOTIONS ARE HEIGHTENED WHEN YOU ARE THAT AGE, IT'S OPERATIC"
As the second season of Chucky premieres next week, creator and showrunner Don Mancini is asked by CBR's Bryan Cairns about the series' Young Adult milieu:
CBR: YA material can be a tough sell, yet Chucky perfectly balances young adult and horror. Why does it work for the series?
Don Mancini: There's a couple of different answers to that question. YA is an inherently good fit for the Chucky franchise because aesthetically and dramatically, we have always been about making everything stylized. One of the things that we found out with the movies over the years is that Chucky himself operates best in a stylized setting, where everything is a little heightened. As I often say, we don't want to go full Tim Burton... and I say that as a huge Tim Burton fan...
We always want to keep one foot on the ground. A lot of what we do with Chucky, we have always done it in the movies, but even more so in the TV show is this tonal balancing act of going from the utter sincerity and naturalistic acting that comes from the sincerity of these teenage kids, and then bridging the gap to the over-the-top campiness of Chucky and Tiffany themselves, and the character we refer to as Nica Chucky. All of that is deliberately at 11. One of the things I love doing is just the challenge of making that mix of tones work.
I think because teenagers' emotions are heightened when you are at that age, it's operatic. That's why I loved Brian De Palma's movies from the '70s, like Carrie and The Fury, because I felt that these stories about telepathy and telekinesis -- and how they are used as metaphors for puberty and unexpressed teenage feelings -- there is something effective about that. I thought the YA was constantly a good fit for Chucky. We also have a number of very talented young writers working on the show. They help me a lot, writing believable young people. At my age, I am further away from that. My method is just writing people. I don't write down to them. I don't write kids particularly differently.