We talk to the cult actor about his work on the films of the “Chucky Doll” series and the new series “Chucky” by SCI FI.
Bartosz Czartorysky: When you signed the movie Chucky Doll, did you expect that thirty-five years later you’d still be talking to journalists about that movie?
Brad Dorf: Absolutely not!
Cutters were hugely popular at the time, and they were shot in tones. Why did Chucky grab her?
Because we probably all remember how, as children, before we slept, we looked at all the shadows cast by dolls and toys that seemed so ominous at the time. I think this is the time when certain doors open in our imaginations and different expectations begin to emerge. And the murder doll is not as strange as it might seem. However, one thing must be remembered. The entire series would not have been a success if it weren’t for a man, Don Mancini, who made it all. He has always understood that species undergo profound transformations over time, and his ability to adapt to such changes is remarkable.
Do you have your favorite example of such a successful transformation?
I honestly think Chucky’s The Bride of Chucky is pretty cool, but it’s a really cool script. The Don succeeded in making perfect use of the metaphysical nature of this idea and boldly reached the spontaneous potential of this story. After all, this type of foundation was none other than the classic “Bride of Frankenstein”. A brilliant idea that not only served the film as an excuse, but was also postponed.
The entire series is an exception, because it’s rare that every part is moderated by the same person. Is Don Mancini still actively working on the franchise?
Yes, of course. He keeps his paw on it the whole time.
Has your approach to characters changed over the years with Chucky’s evolution?
I have some very simple rules that I always follow. I still have discussions with Don about it all the time. Its mission is to constantly push boundaries and search for new solutions. My job is to remind him that some things should remain virtually unchanged. Chucky is a monster. There is no terror without a monster. And if Chucky suddenly becomes too clever, too cunning, or too funny, his motive to kill will not be scary, but rather a joke. Horror lost. Over time, we get to a point where he stops behaving like a character as he should.
Is it easy to convince him?
Somewhat. More than once, during a recording session, I intentionally scored a point twice, in different ways, one more serious, the other more entertaining, so that he could see it for himself.
How did you find the right voice for Chucky? I can imagine that this originally took a lot of purely theoretical work
None of these things. I would even say his voice is the product of an accident. The cutouts were wobbly around the time we made “Chucky Doll” and neither Chucky’s nor Charles Lee Ray’s character couldn’t be too complicated. Hence, we focused on simplicity and decided on this camp key, especially when his soul had already penetrated the doll. However, I still insisted Chucky was too scary. Chucky loves his job, and I wanted to convey it emphatically through his expression. He really likes to kill.
You spent a lot of time in Chucky’s feature films separated from the rest of the cast because you recorded your lines separately. What was that experience for an actor who was virtually absent from his movie set?
For the first three parts, I honestly hated it. I was really alone in this booth, after a long time feeling awful. That’s why it’s hard to say that I had so much fun at the time. The role itself was great, but the job required a lot. Fortunately, today looks completely different with the series. My stepdaughter comes to me and we read the script together, and I have someone send my lines from him. I work in a place that I love and feel comfortable in. I don’t have to go to a specific studio anymore, I record everything at home, under my roof, or go to a friend’s company where I know and love the local band. I feel more like a guest there in someone’s house than at work. This is what it looks like. Finally I’m not alone as a finger.
Did you say about the first three parts and what changed with the fourth part?
Jennifer Tilly joins me! We made “Chucky Bride” and “Chucky: The Next Generation” together.
Production of the second season of “Chucky” has already begun and I’m wondering if your approach to the role has changed after moving to the small screen, aside from the practical issues I just talked about.
Yes, for a simple reason. The series gives characters more screen time. Although Chucky, as I said, is not very complex in nature. Just look at it and discover everything important. Feel comfortable in this plastic body. Only this scenario also touches on the previous episodes in his life, and besides, Chucky is now able to separate his character, which is an opportunity for me to look for new opportunities, and new ways to reach this character. Don is always looking for a way to show Chucky in a different way than before. Pride, what can we say about him. The series should bring you closer to this character, which isn’t easy, but I think Don was up to the task.
Getty Images © Paul Archuleta
I really liked that Chucky is almost a con man, a masterful manipulator who convinces people to do something wrong. He even seems to be anti-hero at times.
Oh yeah, I was looking forward to such moments in particular. It was indescribable fun for me.
You may have learned a lot from the series about Chucky and Charles Lee Ray, there were new contexts, but did it matter to you when you built these two characters?
Not really, because I got my lines before seeing the taped material and then I have no idea what Fiona was going to do [Dourif, córka Brada – przyp. red.]. Honestly, I think she played Charles Lee Ray better than me! Seriously, she’s absolutely amazing. It’s a pity that I have to voice her then, because I don’t think I’ve been able to capture every nuance of her role.
Do you even see Chucky and Charles as one character, the same role?
In the end – yes. Of course, there is a certain dividing line between them and they differ from each other for obvious reasons, but in the end they are the same person. It can be said that they both consist of the same elements, except that they are connected slightly differently.
There was a kind of wand transfer, because Fiona not only plays young Charles Lee Ray, but also continues her well-known role from the later parts of the series, the paralyzed girl Nicky possessed by Chucky. Who was the idea?
I was going to press Fiona on the cast anyway, but Don called me and asked if I knew an actress who was properly shot. I said sure, I know she’s my daughter! She’s a really good actress and has a lot of desirable toughness about her. She came to apply for a different role, but without just looking at her and saying that she was an outstanding Nika. He had a feeling it would be the perfect role for her. And he beat him, because they loved each other and neither could praise each other. I think she did great. It’s really part of that franchise!
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