Aubrey Plaza relives childhood fright playing young mom terrorized by revamped Chucky in new 'Child's Play'
By PETER SBLENDORIO | New York Daily News | Published: June 20, 2019
Aubrey Plaza was haunted by Chucky long before she ever toyed with joining the new "Child's Play" movie.
The slasher film series about an evil killer doll left an impression on the actress at a young age, and now she's at the center of the franchise's latest flick -- a modernized retelling of the 1988 original in which Chucky is now a high-tech robot who learns from humans rather than a toy possessed by an evil spirit.
"It's something that I just remember so vividly as a child traumatizing me that I was really excited when I saw the script," Plaza, who plays Karen Barclay, told the Daily News.
"When I read it and I realized what they were doing with the updated version of Chucky and how they were reimagining the character, I thought it was really clever. I'm not someone that believes that all movies need to be remade, but I thought it was a really smart way to kind of bring Chucky into 2019 and scare the s--t out of a whole new generation of children."
The new "Child's Play," which hits theaters June 21, introduces lifelike Buddi dolls as the hottest toys on the market. The Buddis are capable of having in-depth conversations with people and controlling many household electronics.
Plaza, 34, portrays a hardworking single mom who brings a Buddi doll named Chucky (voiced by Mark Hamill) home for her 13-year-old son. Little do they know this doll is different from the rest, and it quickly adopts brutally violent behavior.
"Having technology really be the villain was something that I could get behind," Plaza said. "There are some scenes and messaging in the film about how reliant we are on these smart devices, and I thought it was really interesting to have Chucky be an A.I. smart doll connected to the cloud so that it's less about Chucky being a malicious killer and more about him learning through human behavior and kind of copying our own toxic behavior, and having that turn on us."
The chance to play a young mother in the movie excited Plaza, who had never played a mom before.
"One of the reasons why I was so drawn to it is because my mom in real life is a really young mom. She had me when she was 20, so I felt a connection with the character," Plaza said, noting the age difference between her and her mom is the same as that of Karen and Andy.
"I really kind of thought a lot about that while I was preparing for the part," she explained. "Karen, she's working at Zedmart, which is a Walmart kind of a store, and she's struggling and doing the best she can. Growing up, my mom was always working really, really hard and trying to provide the best that she could, too."
Plaza, 34, rose to fame for her portrayal of the deadpan April Ludgate on the NBC sitcom "Parks and Recreation" and has appeared in several comedy films in recent years. She doesn't consider herself a big horror-movie fan and had passed on offers to do other scary movies before the opportunity to star in "Child's Play" came along.
She believes the present-day twist on "Child's Play" manages to stay true to the original movie because it focuses on a group of people coming together as they try to survive.
"I think that the spirit of the first movie lives on in ours," Plaza says, "even though the Chucky character is quite different."