Chucky is back October 5, and along with a certain killer doll, Zackary Arthur, Björgvin Arnarson, and Alyvia Alyn Lind will return as Jake, Devon, and Lexy. Newcomer Nadine (Bella Higginbotham) rounds out this imperiled but remarkably survival-prone teen quartet. At a recent press day, io9 got a chance to talk with them about the new season of the Don Mancini-created series.
In season one, Chucky made short work of Devon’s mother, Lexy’s father, and multiple members of Jake’s family, but things appear to be getting even scarier in season two. After the whirlwind of death that envelops everyone in Chucky’s orbit kicks up again, the trio is shipped off to a reform school run by the Catholic Church—which means yes, we’ll be seeing Chucky face off with nuns, but also some big changes and new drama for our scrappy youngsters.
“Lexy has changed completely,” Lind told the group of journalists. “She is no longer the character we found in the first season. She is completely transformed into a much better and more compassionate and more feeling person. She’s just really trying to protect people around her and trying to cope with the trauma that she’s endured in any way possible.”
Not all of the changes within former mean-girl Lexy are positive; we see early in the season that she’s developed a drug habit as one of those coping mechanisms. Nadine, her reform-school roommate, also has some issues—she’s a kleptomaniac—but the two end up forming an important friendship. “We see how Lexy and Nadine can help each other with their problems. They’re both very understanding people,” Lind explained. “And Nadine sees what’s going on with Lexy and is really just trying to help her in any way possible; she’s so completely un-judgmental and just really wants her to get better. In return, Lexy gives her unconditional loyalty. Though Lexy has, like, her sarcasm, she’s deep down the most loyal person I think you’ll ever meet. So she just really is wanting to stick by Nadine and help her, too.”
Higginbotham—who said she wasn’t too familiar with Child’s Play before joining the series, but that everyone welcomed her warmly, especially Lind and Mancini—noted that she found Nadine’s compulsion to steal endearing. It also comes in handy as the season progresses. “Nadine’s kleptomania is probably one of my favorite character traits about [her]. It’s unexpected and Nadine trying to deal with it through confessionals was very interesting to me, because she definitely treats confessional as therapy, and I think that is really cute. But I also think that in this season, Nadine’s kleptomania becomes very useful. And I don’t think that gives her an incentive to stop stealing.”
As Chucky fans already know, Jake and Devon declared their feelings for each other in season one; at the start of season two, their relationship weathers some long-distance bumps, but once they reunite things start to get better. They’re a sweet couple, and the way Chucky handles their partnership is incredibly refreshing: it’s integrated seamlessly into the narrative without taking over the narrative. They just happen to be two queer kids in love... dealing with a serial-killing doll who’s really hoping to skin them alive.
“It’s an honor to be able to do that, obviously,” Arnarson said when asked how it feels to be a horror-genre pioneer. “I think that representation like that needs to be implemented way more—in horror especially. So being able to do that and do it well and have it flow so seamlessly through the series... it feels good.”
Arthur agreed. “I think that’s very important in a show like this, especially with a younger audience watching it as well. What Don does so well is he implements those ideas and themes without throwing it in your face. It’s just part of it. It’s just real life.”
Though Jake and Devon’s lives are obviously complicated by Chucky’s diabolical presence, being in a Catholic-run institution makes things even more challenging for the pair. “Throughout the beginning of the season, Devon and Jake are trying to connect again after a while of not really talking,” Arnarson said. “Being put in that situation makes it worse; Jake wants to kind of keep things on the low down, and Devin’s like, ‘No, no, we got to just do it, man.’ That starts causing a bit of a rift in our relationship.”
The religious setting might make things tricky for Jake and Devon—“Catholic schools usually aren’t exactly accepting of that sort of relationship,” Arthur pointed out—but it also sets up some enticing clashes for its titular villain, voiced once again by Brad Dourif.
“One thing that’s cool [about the setting] is how Chucky is going to react to this new environment. Chucky in a Catholic school—what’s going to happen? I mean, that’s one of the most interesting things that I have ever heard,” Arthur said. “That’s what’s great about Don’s writing, is that every time for Chucky, there’s something new. And that keeps it really refreshing for the fans to see.”
Speaking of fans, Arthur recently met a Chucky fan who personally thanked him for his portrayal of Jake. “He [said] it’s been great to see that relationship being represented ... We were talking about how when they were younger, they didn’t have that representation growing up on TV shows.” Arnarson has also received positive feedback from fans who see themselves in his character, and are proud to be represented by him. “I feel honored to be able to portray that and do a good job of doing that,” he said.
Chucky season two arrives October 5 on Syfy and USA.
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