Quint chats up Don Mancini, David Kirschner and Michelle Gold about the CHILD'S PLAY REMAKE and the new DVD!!!
Published at: Aug. 19, 2008, 9:47 a.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a lengthy interview I conducted with the creators of the original CHILD’S PLAY and the main creative force behind the upcoming Special Edition DVD of the first (and still best) movie.
If you’re a child of the ‘80s like me, then CHILD’S PLAY probably holds a place of honor in your memories of adolescence. If you are like me in that way, then you’re probably also joining me in being very happy that a widescreen DVD of this movie is finally being released, special feature-filled as well.
Below I talk with Don Mancini (writer of every Chucky film since CHILD’S PLAY), David Kirschner (producer of all Chucky films since CHILD’S PLAY) and Michelle Gold, producer of the Special Edition DVD.
We talk a lot about the original movie, about what to expect on the upcoming DVD and a whole lot about the pending remake. There’s actually some news there. Will Brad Dourif return? Are they going to camp it up? Read below to find out!
Don Mancini: Hello.
Michelle Gold: Hey!
Quint: Hey, how’s it going?
Don Mancini: Good, how are you?
Quint: I’m doing well.
Don Mancini: Is this Quint?
Quint: Yup, that is right.
Don Mancini: May I call you Quint?
Quint: You can call me whatever you want to.
Don Mancini: It’s just that I have never talked to you obviously, so I wanted to know what you wanted to be called.
Quint: That was pretty awesome. He was a cool guy.
Don Mancini: Did you see the movie? THE ROCKER?
Quint: I did.
Don Mancini: Is it good?
Quint: Yeah, it’s funny and sweet. It’s not anything that will really change the world of comedy, but it’s definitely one that I think will get over-looked unfortunately.
Don Mancini: Really? I like him, so it just seems fun.
Quint: It’s a very cute movie and that sounds weird, because they don’t sell it as a cute movie, but it’s following that Apatow wearing-its-heart-on-its-sleeve style of comedy.
Don Mancini: It seems very SCHOOL OF ROCK in that way with the family values and everyone is happy. [To Michelle] We are still waiting for David (Kirschner), right?
Michelle Gold: Yeah.
Don Mancini: I had another question for you… Oh, have you seen MIRRORS?
Quint: No, not yet. I was actually just wondering today if there was going to be a screening. Fox isn’t exactly our best friend, so even if there is, we are probably not going to be invited to it, but what can I say? I like Jack Bauer and I like Alexandre Aja, so…
Don Mancini: Yeah, I’m just very intrigued to see what that movie is and how it will do. I hope it does well. I think the genre could use a push right now.
Quint: And mirrors always creep me out. I think PRINCE OF DARKNESS, while it’s not the best John Carpenter movie, I would say for me that it’s his scariest movie.
Don Mancini: Yeah, I found that movie very scary too, particularly the final image, where Lisa Blount, do you remember? It’s like the final image where they are getting beamed… there’s that transmission that they are all seeing in their dreams throughout the film and they have always been seeing this weird figure coming out of the door…
Quint: Yeah, you don’t know what it is until…
[David Kirschner enters]
David Kirschner: Hi Don.
Don Mancini: Hey, David.
Michelle Gold: Hey, David!
David Kirschner: How are you guys?
Michelle Gold: Good.
Don Mancini: Good. Quint, this is as I’m sure you know, David Kirschner, who produced all of the movies.
Quint: Hi, David.
David Kirschner: That’s a great name by the way.
Quint: I love me some JAWS. I’m actually doing this conference call from the phone in my bedroom right now and I have a framed Turkish JAWS one-sheet right in front of me.
Don Mancini: Turkish?
Quint: Yeah, it’s great. It’s the shark image, but it looks like the one from the books if you remember that, where it’s not the really slick shark coming up out of the water, well not coming out of the water, but the profile of the shark where it’s the more blocky one.
David Kirschner: Is this the one from the paper back?
Quint: Yeah yeah. It’s not the one that is just like the black and white or the white drawing on black. This is definitely the one from the paperback, but it’s that shark and it has a belly dancer in his mouth.
David Kirschner: (laughs) Wow.
Don Mancini: Hey David, I don’t think you and I talked about this, but we were just mentioning it. Quint interviewed Rainn Wilson on the site last week… You know Rainn Wilson from THE OFFICE…
David Kirschner: And THE ROCKER!
Don Mancini: Exactly and he was talking about how people sometimes notice a resemblance to Chucky. We should try to get him!
David Kirschner: Is it the shape of his head?
Don Mancini: No, it’s nothing that ever occurred to me before, but I was like, “I guess I can kinda see it.”
Quint: Now when you see him, that’s all you are going to be able to see!
David Kirschner: Exactly.
Quint: He’s kind of got the big forehead and the eyes… I don’t know.
David Kirschner: Have you guys seen that movie? THE ROCKER.
Quint: I saw it.
Michelle Gold: I’ve seen it.
David Kirschner: Because Roeper, I just saw this in the paper, just gave it an incredible review and the trailer does not suggest that to me, that maybe I’m wrong, was it good?
Quint: Yeah it is. It’s a really cute movie.
David Kirschner: Have you seen TROPIC THUNDER?
Quint: I did.
David Kirschner: Is it good?
Quint: Yeah. It’s very good.
Don Mancini: I’m really looking forward to that.
Quint: Did you watch the R rated trailer? The red band trailer?
David Kirschner: I did.
Quint: There’s one shot in there that I really wish hadn’t come out before the movie.
Don Mancini: Is it the cart wheeling little kid going through the air?
Quint: It is. That ruins this whole joke that’s set up like right in the middle of the movie, but if you have seen the movie, you know where it’s going, so…
David Kirschner: Right right… Still though, I mean I was already primed for the movie, but that R rated trailer is so fantastic.
Don Mancini: You guys have been following… I don’t know what the groups are titled, but they are very angry at the film…?
Michelle Gold: Oh yeah, I saw that on the news.
Quint: It’s stupid. Any time there’s a comedy, somebody is going to be pissed off about something. When you see the movie, you will see that it’s really not a big deal. It’s another case of people who haven’t seen the movie getting offended.
David Kirschner: I remember in THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY there was this issue also, which I might be insensitive, because it made me laugh so much, but I remember there was an issue with it there as well.
Quint: Yeah where they have that whole bit with Matt Dillon talking about tying him to a line and watching him dig and he’d run back and forth and everything. It was funny, sorry!
But, yeah thanks for talking with me guys, I really appreciate it. This kind of came out of the blue for me. I guess I wasn’t keeping up with the DVD news, but I remember even just a few weeks ago I was… I always get that fake excitement or I guess not fake, but the excitement that doesn’t lead anywhere when I was at Wal-Mart or something and I saw CHILD’S PLAY on the rack and I’m like “Yes!” and then I pick it up and it’s full screen, then I’m like “No!” I don’t have this on DVD yet and I think I have all of the rest, from 2 to SEED, but every time I go to get pick it up I’m like “It’s 2008, why is there only a full screen version of this movie out?”
David Kirschner: Yeah it’s weird that it took so long for that to happen and I didn’t even know that you were a Chucky fan. I knew that Harry was, but I didn’t know and I’m glad to hear it.
Quint: The first one scarred me quite a bit in a good way.
David Kirschner: How old were you with that?
Quint: I was I think 8 when I saw CHILD’S PLAY.
[Don Mancini Laughs]
David Kirschner: God, perfect!
Quint: What I loved about the first one especially was that you are following… It’s almost like a horror movie for kids, even though it’s the most dark of all the movies, because you are essentially, at least me watching it, I was definitely seeing it through Andy’s eyes, not the mom’s eyes you know?
Michelle Gold: Yeah.
David Kirschner: He is along with her, the protagonist of the movie.
Quint: In the sequel, he pretty much is the lead of the movie.
David Kirschner: Many children that are grown ups now and my daughters are 28 and 26, but I remember there would be times that kids would come to the house and wander into my office and would be quickly picked up. They would have their parents come pick them up, because they could not make it through the night, because that doll was in the house and they had never seen the film, but I guess from posters or trailers on television… I’m not sure what it was, but… Don has, we’ve been hearing this for 20 years with children telling me that he was a very frightening image from their childhood.
Quint: Dolls are creepy anyways and then when you add on to the fact that the tone of the first one was really dark and really gritty, it takes a kind of ridiculous premise and really makes it really scary. It’s like I have re-watched it. I think it played on…
Michelle Gold: I think TNT has played all of the different versions.
Quint: I think there was one that was actually a High Def transfer. Has there been one like for Universal HD or something?
Don Mancini: Yeah. I myself haven’t seen it, because I don’t get that, but the friends who do have told me that they have seen it in High Def there.
Quint: Just re-watching it for keeps that the movie plays, I think that’s a big reason why it has scarred some people, because like I had said in a good way you can appreciate that it’s a really genuinely scary movie.
Don Mancini: Yeah, I think that… One weird thing that I have noticed about the doll and having one in my house… Babies love the doll.
David Kirschner: That’s so funny, because my granddaughter who is 14 months, she calls babies “Dee Dees” and she calls me Poppy and she always wants to go into Poppy’s office to see the “Dee Dee.” She touches his nose and touches his eyes and it’s so funny, because it makes me feel so good because she will never be frightened of him, but yeah she’s fascinated by him!
Don Mancini: I think that at that age they just see something as clearly not a human being, but it’s a distortion of the form, so that’s kind of fascinating and they haven’t been socialized into being afraid of the visual cues that are scary like a scowl or the eyebrows that go down and the scars on his face or whatever it is, but it is very interesting, because I still have friends who have kids who would come over to the house over the course of however many years and they are cool with it up until about two or three and then they get scared.
Quint: Now do you have the Good Guy version of Chucky or do you have the Chucky Chucky?
Don Mancinci: I have both actually. I have one of those sort of vacuum packed Good Guys… They were only half of the front of the Good Guy versions that were in the boxes.
Quint: From the beginning.
Don Mancini: From the first and the second one in the warehouse scene, but then we had Tony Gardner, when we did the last movie, he gave us the sort of prototypes of the dolls. Obviously they don’t have the mechanics inside of them, but outwardly they look exactly like Chucky and Tiffany and Glen.
Quint: Cool, well let’s talk about the disc. I guess it’s obviously the 20th anniversary, but why did it take so long for a nice release?
Don Mancini: Michelle, maybe you can tell him.
Michelle Gold: Well, I can tell you. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to go on the record in this way, but basically one of the reasons they are releasing it is Fox inherited the MGM library and whatever deal had been made when they did that sell out at MGM initially, so it was a film that Fox decided to release through MGM. I’m not sure why it wasn’t released prior to that by MGM directly, but that’s the main reason from what I know.
David Kirschner: Right. Quint, as you were saying, there was the full screen version that MGM video had put out shortly after the movie came out, but I don’t know why. Partly it’s because we always had this division between the studios since we did the first one at MGM and the rest of them at Universal and that’s why a lot of people wonder why they can get a box set that doesn’t include the first one. Of course that’s why. I don’t know, maybe it’s because MGM had been bought and sold so many times over the last twenty years that its just something that fell between the cracks.
Michelle Gold: I know in terms of the library, it’s divided up kind of piecemeal right now.
Don Mancini: Really?
Michelle Gold: Yeah. I think the new films are back at MGM, like the new stuff they are making, but yeah I know the library has been kind of divided out, even the stuff that was in production with them when they sort of sold their stuff, like Sony has some of their stuff that they released under Sony’s banner. I remember ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL was released under that and that was originally MGM’s. It’s just been divided up kind of strangely.
Quint: Obviously the right kind of situation was figured out and now you are coming out with a… is it a 2 disc set?
Michelle Gold: It is a single disk set.
Quint: It seems to have a lot of extras.
Michelle Gold: We managed to load it pretty heavily even though it is one disc. It has a lot of stuff, like the commentary with David and Don directly and then the commentary with Kevin (Yagher), Catherine (Hicks), and Alex (Vincent) and then we have this sort of running interview of Chucky interviewing Don that runs over the film; it’s pretty funny.
Quint: So, Brad is doing it in character, is that right?
Don Mancini: Yeah.
Quint: Have you seen the BUBBA HO-TEP special features where they have Bruce Campbell doing Elvis doing a commentary on BUBBA HO-TEP?
Don Mancini: I saw the movie, but I haven’t seen that.
Quint: It’s really good. I love that kind of stuff and they don’t do that nearly enough.
Don Mancini: Yeah it seems natural, especially with characters like Chucky or Freddy. I don’t think they have done that on any of the… NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET hasn’t done that have they? I mean when the character become these sort of loved pop figures, it makes sense to do that.
Michelle Gold: And we have a specific scene commentary. That was a fun day for me to watch you guys and Brad figuring those out.
Don Mancini: I’m really glad you were able to use it. I remember there on the day, Brad is an actor, I’m not so I feel like in a situation like that I could only be as good as the professional actor who’s kind of spear heading it, so I just followed his lead. He’s very funny and scary.
Michelle Gold: It’s great watching Brad get into character. It’s really a lot of fun and he really relishes it seems like when he starts talking.
Quint: Yeah, he’s great. He’s such a big part of… Well, he IS Chucky’s identity, his voice. He is so tied with the character now, I think you would have been hearing some fans calling bullshit if you couldn’t have gotten him on some of the extra features.
Don Mancini: I agree. I think he has been completely indispensable for the series and I am really glad that we were able to work it out, because he works a lot and he also has a house, a second home near Woodstock, New York and he would just be hard to get sometimes, so we were lucky to be able to snare him for that.
Quint: Sweet, so are there any plans for a High-Def release? Is that in the cards as well?
Quint: Yeah it would be smart, especially if this started selling decently to start throwing that out at Halloween or something. Just talking from a horror fan’s perspective, when HD… The reason why I like HD-DVD over Blu-Ray at the beginning was because their library, they had fewer titles out, but they were all more interesting titles. There were a lot of library releases and that is still something that Blu-Ray still hasn’t caught up with now that it has won the format war. You don’t get much vintage stuff, you get a lot new releases only and to me that’s what I love about High-Def and mentioning seeing the HD transfer, it’s like I love watching these films and having them look like they were shot yesterday. To me, that’s my favorite part about the High Def Experience.
Don Mancini: I agree. I also think about with this movie, the cinematographer was Bill Butler…
Quint: Who shot JAWS.
Don Mancini: Who shot JAWS and yeah, I think particularly a lot of the Chicago exteriors… David could speak more to this because he was actually there. I wasn’t, because it was the 1988 writer’s strike, but they actually shot in Chicago with all of that snow and I think that kind of urban snowy look… it was a bit unusual for that genre and I think that really took it up a few notches, don’t you think, David?
David Kirschner: Absolutely. I remember Catherine Hicks running out of the building after Chucky has run out and she is running down the staircase and she runs out onto the street and there is a tree or a tree that is at the moment dormant or just kind of dead for winter and there’s little drops of water just sitting... dew or whatever it is, snow that has melted on this tree and the lights of the city are lighting it. I was always so impressed by moments like that that Bill Butler made sure were captured in the film. He is amazing and we worked with him on the first Chucky and also on FRAILTY.
When we worked with him on FRAILTY, I think he was 74 at that time, and had an honest conversation, I said “I think this is going to be a really tough shoot and we are going to be working really hard with long nights… Do you think you’ll be able to…” and he said “No, no, I’ll be fine.” True enough, at four o’clock in the morning we were falling asleep in our chairs and he had his can of coke and he just kept going. He is an amazing guy.
Quint: Well FRAILTY looked great. I actually really dig FRAILTY a lot, so good work!
David Kirschner: I’ll pass that on to him. He’s really talented and a great guy and he takes so much pride in Chucky and loved it and I remember him just thinking and doodling ideas on paper that he could then present to the director and I think made the director look good. I think he made all of us look good.
Quint: I was saying the tone of the film is very much something I grabbed on to even as a kid and so much of that would be on Bill Butler’s shoulders and giving the film the visual identity that it has. I think that there’s a reason why I still think the movie holds up and a lot of that is just how he shot it and how it really doesn’t…. Not to put the other movies down, because I love them, too, but it’s not something that you can laugh at.
I think when you look at the progression, there couldn’t have been a dozen sequels to chucky without it going into the kind of horror-comedy realm, which I thought was really smart with what you guys did, but with that first movie it really is a freaky, fucked up movie and I think a lot of that has to do with his color palette and he chose to shoot it.
David Kirschner: We were very lucky to have him. There was also a production designer on it, named John DeCuir, am I pronouncing it correctly Don?
Don Mancini: Yeah.
David Kirschner: He had a very rich history with musicals and Disney and theme parks and he was really terrific as well. I think he brought a lot to the film as well, also Barrie Osborne was our executive producer and line producer and he you know from…
Quint: From LORD OF THE RINGS, yeah.
David Kirschner: And Barry was, for me, wonderful, because this was my first live action project. I had just done animation, so to be able to take Don’s idea and then have people like Barrie Osborne and Bill Butler and John DeCuir, was really fantastic starting with this great script of Don’s. It’s easy to look back on it and say “Yeah,” but at the time it was a horror movie that filled a bit of a void for United Artists. They were interested in doing it, but I don’t think either Don or I ever dreamed that it would be five going on six films.
Michelle Gold: The fans are still so strong about the movie, though. One of the things we did is we went to this Monster Mania Convention 9 in New Jersey that was featuring the CHILD’S PLAY panel and the room was packed and I mean it was just kind of people over and over just asking about when they were going to see more and when they were going to get the HD release and it was a full room. Out of all of them, they were definitely the featured panel and people just love it. They still love it.
Don Mancini: It’s simultaneously thrilling and disturbing to me that this is now a golden oldie.
Michelle Gold: You know that they premiered BRIDE OF CHUCKY on AMC last night?
Don Mancini: On AMC? Did they really?
Quint: You have got an American Movie Classic on your hands.
Don Mancini: There should be somebody at Universal to notify us, like some guy whose job it is to “By the way, this movie you guys made ten years ago premieres on AMC tonight…”
David Kirschner: That’d be great, wow.
Don Mancini: ‘Cause ou watch AMC and sometimes somewhat arguably dubious films come on that channel and they’re calling them classics, but I’m sure some people might say that about BRIDE OF CHUCKY for all I know, but I sometimes watch that channel and I think “Well, if this is an American Movie Classic, then why can’t… one of Chucky’s be?” I’m sure it has a lot to do with politics. Who is AMC affiliated with?
Michelle Gold: I was going to say LIONSGATE does a lot with them, but I don’t think it’s an over all affiliation with everything.
Don Mancini: Interesting, well I’m thrilled to hear that too, but it is weird…
Michelle Gold: Both the first one and BRIDE have I know for a fact been on there. I’m not sure about the others…
Don Mancini: 20 years… it’s kind of mind boggling. Can we plug the remake?
David Kirschner: It’d be a good time to do it.
Quint: I was planning on bringing it up, so if you want to, let’s do it.
Don Mancini: David, what can we say?
David Kirschner: Don is going to write and direct the… uh… the…
Don Mancini: Reboot!
David Kirschner: Is that what we are going to call it?
Quint: (laughs) That’s the safe territory now, with BATMAN BEGINS and HULK and stuff like that, it’s safe to call it a reboot. It doesn’t seem to have the stigma of a remake.
David Kirschner: It’s a reboot of the Chucky origin story, I guess we can describe it that way.
Quint: We were talking earlier about how closely Brad’s tied to the character, are you going to bring him back or are you going to try to find a new Chucky?
David Kirschner: No, no, it’s going to be Brad.
Don Mancini: It’s not like we would ever… who would you get that’s better? I mean with Chucky so much of it… and David and I talk about this a lot, that because he’s a puppet, there’s an aspect of him that feels like he’s an animated character, so his voice is such an immense part of it as well as what he looks like. It’s almost like recasting Homer Simpson or something. If you could recast it, you would want the actor to sound kind of like it, but it would feel weird to just be completely different I think.
Quint: Yeah. It’s like you have Platinum Dunes trying to remake NIGHTMARE ON ELM ST. now and they are not going to be going with Robert Englund and it’s just like at this point it’s going to be a real big leap for the fans on that level.
Don Mancini: I’m sure you read the rumor hit the net today, or at least I saw it today, you probably have heard this months ago for all I know, but who they are rumored to play Freddy, that is interesting, is Billy Bob Thornton.
Quint: My understanding, I’ve talked to the Platinum Dunes guys and I know a couple of people that are close to them that wouldn’t bullshit me, they are still trying to figure out the rights, so I don’t know how true that is.
Don Mancini: That’s another weird thing about recasting Englund though, he’s under a lot of makeup. You couldn’t make the argument say like “We need to reintroduce this character to a new generation of people and fans, therefore we need an actor who represents them,” because it’s like whatever actor you get is still going to be buried under the Freddy makeup, so I don’t know.
David Kirschner: Why would they not go with Robert?
Michelle Gold: That’s one of the things with you guys remaking CHILD’S PLAY, I mean when I had the chance to really interview Don and David and Kevin who are kind of the three key people that sort of are the centerpieces I’d say of a lot of the features on the DVD in terms of the video footage and the making of stuff, you are dealing with people or whoever a team that has so much care for the property and to bring in some whole new group like, nothing against Platinum Dunes or even the Rob Zombie HALLOWEEN or anything, but…
Quint: Oh. you can have a lot of things against the Rob Zombie HALLOWEEN.
Don Mancini: I see what you are saying, it’s never going to mean as much to the new people coming in as it does to the people who created it and in our case kind of tended it lovingly over the course of twenty years. We like to consider ourselves the Broccoli’s of the horror genre. Not the vegetable, the producers. (laughs)
Quint: I figured. I know the fans are a bit gun shy with remakes and a lot of the stuff that I grew up with, a lot of the 80’s stuff was ALIENS and PREDATOR and now even TERMINATOR maybe, it’s just that we have all of these things that are done and done poorly in the new version and it’s like in the end I think you have at least with the fans, an uphill battle saying you are going to remake the movie, but ultimately I think we just want a good flick.
Don Mancini: I think what we are mainly responding to, David and I, is the will of the fans, which is really telling us that they want to see a scary Chucky movie again. They want to go back to the straightforward horror rather than the horror comedy.
Quint: Is that the plan, then?
Don Mancini: Yes, absolutely and that’s the main reason for going the remake route. I mean part of that is business in the sense that that is a trend that is sort of galloping over Hollywood right now, but I feel like that’s a trend we can use to our advantage, because it really does dovetail nicely with our main mission, which is to make it really scary. It’s been four years since the last one, so it just seems like the timing is really good now for us to just recreate it in a way.
Quint: Good, like I told you, that’s what I grabbed onto about the first film. If you play up the creepiness inherent in having a killer doll movie and not play up the comedy, it really can be terrifying.
Don Mancini: I think, unless we completely screw it up, I think it has the potential to be scarier than the original based on the stuff we are talking about, which I know sounds very mysterious and abstract, but anyone in our position would say that at this point, but as you pointed out we do have the advantage of being the people who created the franchise in the first place.
Quint: You have to promise me that if you do it, that the mother character has to have shoulder pads.
David Kirschner: That’s a promise we can keep. (laughs) I didn’t know what you were going to say.
Don Mancini: We can just set it at that very awkward time in the ‘80s. It will be like the BRADY BUNCH movie, even though it takes place in 2010 or whatever, she’s got the shoulder pads, the little kid has that hideous bowl haircut that all little tykes in movies in the ‘80s have.
Quint: And wore rainbow colors. Well as long as you promise that, that’s cool.
Don Mancini: No wonder people found that movie scary.
Michelle Gold: It was really just her outfits.
Quint: What can you tell be about the story on the remake? I know you don’t want to give everything away, but is it going to be a pretty straight remake?
Don Mancini: Nothing other than it’s going to change the world. I don’t think we can really say more, but what do you think, David? Other than what we said, it’s a reboot, we are telling the origin story again, but beyond certain broad stroke details, it’s really quite a reinvention I would say. Does that sound accurate, David?
David Kirschner: Yeah. I’m not even sure if I would say reinvention, I think Don has really created some really clever twists and expectations that a fan of the first CHILD’S PLAY film, you will be surprised and shocked by, but it will follow I think very closely a lot of the first film against twists and turns that Don has put into it that an audience thinks it is going to go one way and we will go another even though the story is pretty similar.
Quint: Where is the movie at now? Are you greenlighted? Do you have a budget?
David Kirschner: We are just completing our deals with Universal and that’s what Don was saying… Don, I don’t know when you mentioned 2010, I don’t know if you were talking about The BRADY BUNCH or this one, but yeah my guess would be that it would be probably the fall of 2010. Don, do you think sooner?
Michelle Gold: October!
David Kirschner: (laughs) It’s not going to be October.
Don Mancini: I think we would love to have it out for next year, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think just as David was saying, the deal making process takes as long as it’s going to take.
Quint: Are you planning on keeping it mostly puppetry as well?
David Kirschner: Yes.
Don Mancini: Definitely!
Quint: Good. That’s something that I have really enjoyed that even as you have gone more and more for the funny that you have kept the puppetry aspect and the midgets in suits. I don’t know what it is, but I think that adds a sort of creepy factor…
Don Mancini: They are these tangible, imperfect things (Quint note: I’m pretty sure he’s talking about the puppets, not the little people… end of note) and the actors need to have it to bounce off of and it always bothers me particularly in the horror genre, you can so tell when people are responding to the green tennis ball that is being held in front of them.
Quint: Nothing kills horror and suspense any quicker in my book than CGI.
Don Mancini: I agree.
Michelle Gold: Yeah.
David Kirschner: But with a group of great puppeteers working, you have the moment right there. You have a doll coming to life right there, which as you said in the beginning is something that has this frightening notion of dolls are creepy anyways, here you have these dolls moving and emoting and you get a pretty good idea if the scene is working as you look through the camera or playback. It feels much more real and these puppeteers that we have been very fortunate to work with over the years are wonderful actors and they really study Brad and they study films that Brad has done.
Don Mancini: We always put a video camera in front of Brad and with the last couple in front of Jennifer Tilly and Billy Boyd as well, so that the puppeteers can see their facial expressions at times.
Michelle Gold: One of the featurettes is… I can’t remember off-hand if we have it as splitscreen, but we had footage of Brad rehearsing with Catherine and Alex back in Chicago back before the movie started shooting and if you watch… and with Chris Sarandon in the car scene… if you watch Brad rehearsing in those and then you watch the scene, it’s unbelievable how closely the puppet follows Brad’s character. It’s really amazing to see.
Quint: Also, when you do it in these films, the effects don’t age poorly. Say in BRIDE OF CHUCKY or something had you gone CG, that would already be extremely out dated now and it’d be kind of hard to look at CG from 1998 compared to CG today and you have… There’s just no call for it when you have your main character as a doll anyway. You can ensure that no matter how, if anything looks phony, if it looks phony, but really there, then it looks like how a living doll would look like, you know?
Don Mancini: Yeah, it’s just like I had said before, the imperfection of his movements with the occasional hurky jerky motion is integral to buying the illusion I think, not that you can’t and I know that Tim Burton did this in MARS ATTACKS, in the CGI there, he tried to build in the stop motion aesthetic, but I can’t imagine that being cheaper particularly on the budget we make these movies on, cheaper than having a group of puppeteers and a, as Tony Gardner calls it, “a robot on a stick,” what he calls the puppets.
Quint: Well cool and definitely let me know when you guys are shooting, I would love to come out and visit you.
Don Mancini: That would be great.
Quint: And get my picture taken with the doll.
David Kirschner: You don’t have to wait for that.
Michelle Gold: My phone still has a bunch of doll pictures.
Quint: I don’t know that there’s much more that I have unless there’s something that you guys think that we haven’t covered.
Don Mancini: Did we mention all of the features that are on the disc, Michelle?
Michelle Gold: Let me list them off for you. We have a making of, it’s a multi-part making of featurette that kind of covers from start to finish and the thing that is really cool is the initial part especially, we focus in a lot on Don’s origin script and go into more detail on that than I have at least than I have seen online in general, so I think especially for fans, the history a little bit will be interesting.
Don Mancini: Just to see the evolution of how the story progressed, because there are some details that changed significantly from page to screen that I think people will find really interesting.
David Kirschner: And also, will not be there, but I have to say it, some ideas that Don had that would make their way into other Chucky films. I think for instance of the Ronny Yu, Peter Pau was the cinematographer, the scene where…
Don Mancini: Oh with the bubbles.
David Kirschner: With the bubbles, where Jennifer is being electrocuted in the tub played against THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN as she’s watching that film and crying and then Chucky pushes the TV in there with the bubbles floating up.
Don Mancini: In my original script, Quint, that was the way that the babysitter died.
Quint: She didn’t go out the window?
David Kirschner: For someone who likes the history of this, it’s just an interesting…
Don Mancini: That’s just the advantage of having a series, you can just recycle ideas like “It didn’t make it into this one, but hey this is a really cool murder…”
Quint: I’ve been reading THE COMPLETE INDIANA JONES and seeing how…
Don Mancini: That’s a great book isn’t it? Laurent Bouzereau.
Quint: He’s a great guy. I’ve gotten to meet him a few times and we have bonded over JAWS, but yeah they talk about that kind of stuff in the book, like the mine cart chase in TEMPLE was originally written for RAIDERS.
Don Mancini: And isn’t that scene where they jump out of the plane in TEMPLE OF DOOM with…
Quint: With the life raft.
Don Mancini: That was a set-piece Lawrence Kasdan had in his screenplay for the first RAIDERS, they recycled that, yeah. A great tradition.
David Kirschner: Question for you, since you are Austin based, is Robert Rodriguez doing anything?
Quint: He’s producing some stuff now, he’s producing RED SONJA.
Don Mancini: He just set you up for an awesome joke that you, I bet diplomatically declined to make. McGowen was the answer.
Quint: “You failed, Rose McGowan is the correct answer. [Buzzer noise.]”
David Kirschner: He still has his base right in Austin there?
Quint: Yeah, he’s still around. I think he just did another kids movie (SHORTS), but I haven’t really seen anything on or from that. I don’t know what his next move is..
Don Mancini: BARBARELLA?
Quint: I don’t know. I don’t think that’s happening anymore. I know that they started work on it and I know a lot of design people around town who worked on it and built some sets and stuff, but I don’t know if that’s still moving forward or not.
Don Mancini: I loved PLANET TERROR.
Michelle Gold: [Giggles] I love PLANET TERROR, too.
Don Mancini: I love the whole movie, but I’m one of the few people I know who actually prefer PLANET TERROR to DEATH PROOF.
Michelle Gold: I read the script for DEATH PROOF before I saw it, so I wasn’t really taken off guard by any of the things that took place.
Quint: I know a lot of people that read the script and thought it was going to suck and then they were pleasantly surprised and then with the extended cut being released were like “Well there’s another 45 minutes of girls talking around a table, there’s the script.”
Michelle Gold: Yeah, totally! Want me to say the other features? (laughs)
Don Mancini: Sure.
Michelle Gold: There’s also a featurette that sort of focuses on the physical creation of the doll of Kevin. It’s cool. Fox managed to dig up a lot of footage from when they were working on Chucky in the shop when they were all really young, so it was nice, because we have a lot of cool things to show and we also have some really well known horror effects people who didn’t specifically work on CHILD’S PLAY commenting on it.
Quint: Oh yeah, like the KNB guys?
Michelle Gold: Yeah, well not the KNB guys, but we had Tom Savini. We have the guys from Amalgamated Dynamics.
Don Mancini: I didn’t even know about that. That’s so cool.
Michelle Gold: It’s a ton of commentary on it, but we wanted to get peoples takes. We have Shane Mahan.
Quint: From Stan Winston Studios?
Michelle Gold: Yeah, because it was kind of, I think CHILD’S PLAY is kind of a benchmark in terms of the effects, so we would like to get the prospective from a lot of guys who were in the groundbreaking part of the time and see their feel about it as well.
Quint: That sounds cool.
Michelle Gold: And there are some easter eggs in their, because for fun we built up these CGI Chuckies, they came out nicely for CGI for sure, they are just fun little one liners that we had Brad do from wild line recordings with, but they are cute when you find them on the disk. I know there is a photo gallery, like there usually is, and I’m trying to think…
Quint: Every DVD has a photo gallery and I don’t know too many people that actually look at them, but it’s weird, it depends on the movies. I remember going through all of the JAWS photo gallery stuff and being fascinated, but I’m obsessed with that film, so I’m sure it will be great for somebody.
Michelle Gold: One thing that MGM was able to provide to us was a lot of photography, both for posed photo stuff and on set photography and some behind the scenes stuff as well and we have the panel that we shot down at the Monster Con, so that’s interesting. Again, it’s a treat for the fans. You get to see Catherine and Chris (Sarandon) and Alex together. Alex is now in his twenties.
David Kirschner: He’s gotta be close to 30, right Don?
Don Mancini: I think he’s about twenty five I think.
Michelle Gold: I think he’s around there.
Don Mancini: I think he’s getting married or he is married or is going to have a kid or something like that.
Quint: He’s going to do something.
Don Mancini: (laughs) Some life benchmark is happening with him. I hear from him occasionally. He’s a really good guy.
Michelle Gold: He was really excited to talk. He remembers CHILD’S PLAY really fondly.
Don Mancini: Well we worked with him on the sequel as well.
Michelle Gold: Yeah.
Don Mancini: You think we covered it all? You probably have way more than you need, don’t you, Quint?
Quint: It’s a nice, lengthy interview.
Don Mancini: Well, thank you so much.
David Kirschner: Thank you for your time.
Michelle Gold: Yeah, totally.
David Kirschner: Quint, are you named after somebody?
Quint: My name’s Eric, but I took my pen name from Robert Shaw.
David Kirschner: Wow, that is a love of JAWS. I didn’t know if it was just a coincidence or…
Quint: At the beginning of the site, Harry had everybody who wrote in have a spy name, so my first report was covering a really crappy Dennis Hopper direct to DVD movie that I saw at a film festival and I wrote in saying “Okay, either give me Brody, Hooper, or Quint, so pick one” and Harry, of course couldn’t resist the chance to be nasty picked Quint so he could call me “The Crusty Seaman.”
David Kirschner: Is that what they call you in Austin as well?
Quint: Harry calls me Quint. Most of my friends call me Eric, but most people that I meet know me as Quint. It’s a nickname at this point, so I don’t feel weird when people call me Quint.
David Kirschner: I love saying it, so I have never been able to call anybody that name, so that’s why I ask about it.
Quint: I went to the WAR OF THE WORLDS set and I was told that Spielberg wanted to meet me and I was freaking out as you can understand and I went up to him and the publicist was like “Do you want me to introduce you as Eric or Quint?” and I’m like “Please, God introduce me as Eric! Don’t introduce me as a character from one of his movies.”
David Kirschner: I think he would have loved that.
Quint: Of course, we get up there and she goes “Steven, this is Quint from Ain’t It Cool News” and I’m sure I was beet red, but he shakes my hand and is like “Hey, do you mind if I call you Eric?” But he then said “Quint. I have always liked that name. You know who didn’t like that name?” I said “Who?” He said “Robert Shaw.”
Apparently Robert Shaw didn’t think the name was elegant enough and so he went up to Spielberg really early on and says “I know you like Quint, but listen to this: ‘McGrrregor’,” and apparently Spielberg was just like “Well, I kind of made the case that the name is sharp and it’s almost like Quint uses his name to kill the shark and it defines his character and…”
David Kirschner: It’s in the best selling book…
Quint: I was geeking out about as hardcore as I ever have in my life, but yeah very long story to just kind of throw in there at the end.
David Kirschner: Well thank you for taking the time with us. We appreciate it.
Quint: No worries, good luck, I look forward to the DVD and I look forward to the remake. Don’t fuck it up.
Don Mancini: We will try!
David Kirschner: Thank you very much.
As you can probably tell, I had a lot of fun with that interview. It is conversational to a fault. Hope it was at all interesting for anyone else not on the phone call. Heh.
The new DVD comes out September 9th and looks to be pretty cheap, pre-order price only $10.99, so I’ll definitely be picking it up.
What do you think about what they’re doing with the reboot? I love that they’re doing it in order to make a straight up scary Chucky movie again and not making a funny version of the first movie… and that they’re bringing back Dourif as Charles Lee Ray, personally. What about you?
Thanks to Muldoon for the transcription. I’m sure his fingers are bleeding after that chat. Be back with more interviews, including some for ROCKNROLLA and NINJA ASSASSIN. Keep an eye out for those!