After decades as a heroic action figure, Mark Hamill is going to be Hollywood’s most demonic doll. The Star Wars stalwart who has portrayed Luke Skywalker in four feature films to date will provide the voice of the iconic horror character Chucky in the Orion Pictures revival of the Child’s Play franchise.
Hamill joins a cast that includes Aubrey Plaza, Gabriel Bateman, and Brian Tyree Henry in the “contemporary re-imagining” of the 1988 horror hit that follows the malevolent path of a Buddi doll that is sentient, bloodthirsty, and not as friendly as his smile. The news was announced at Orion’s pane presentation today at WonderCon, in Anaheim. Fans bellowed their excitement when Hamill appeared on overhead video screens in a taped greeting.
“If you’re wondering who’s going to play Chucky in the new Child’s Play,” the bearded Hamill said, “you’re looking at him.”
It’s a big year for Hamill. He can be seen in medieval mode in History’s Knightfall, the Knights Templar series now in its Season 2. Hamill will be a knight of a more cosmic variety this December when Disney’s Lucasfilm releases Star Wars: Episode IX. The J.J. Abrams-directed film has been billed as the concluding chapter of the Skywalker family screen saga that has made cinema history for more than four decades.
Hamill is an accomplished voice actor with scores of credits in animated films, television cartoons, video games, radio dramas, and web projects. The signature role among his voice credits to date is the Joker, the DC Comics villain he portrayed first in 1992 on Batman: The Animated Series and then it’s tie-in 1993 feature film, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. The maniacal energy Hamill has brought to the Joker in follow-up animation projects (as well as video games, among them Arkham Asylum) has established the Clown Prince of Crime as perhaps the best-reviewed role of Hamill’s entire acting career.
Last year marked the 30th anniversary of the original Child’s Play, which effectively melded the slasher terror of Halloween with the equally scary Cabbage Patch Dolls fad to deliver historic horror results. The original became such a cult classic that Chucky now ranks up with Jason, Freddy, Leatherface, Pinhead, and Ghostface on the all-time honor roll of one-name icons of R-rated horror. The movie has echoed throughout pop culture and influenced non-horror works, too, among them Toy Story and Ted.
Brad Dourif was the voice of Chucky in the original film as well as in all four of its theatrically released sequels, the most recent being Seed of Chucky in 2004. Dourif also portrayed the character in two direct-to-video releases, Curse of Chucky in 2013 and Cult of Chucky in 2017.
For the new revamp, Lars Klevberg (Polaroid) directs from a script by Tyler Burton Smith based on the original motion picture. David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith produce under their KatzSmith Productions banner. Orion Pictures will release Child’s Play on June 21 through their United Artists Releasing banner. “More Than A Toy… He’s Your Best Friend,” is the tagline.
In the new Child’s Play, Hamill will play a sinister entity that has been updated to match today’s marketplace concepts of playthings. This time around, Buddi is an “Artificial Intelligence human companion” manufactured by the Kaslan Corp, the world’s leading developer of interactive tech products for home and lifestyle. When Karen (Plaza), a single mother, gifts one of the state-of-the-art toys to her son, Andy (Bateman), playtime takes a terrifying turn.
WonderCon runs through Sunday. The pop-culture expo is the sister event of Comic-Con International in San Diego. The 80th anniversary of Batman, which arrives this Sunday, is a major theme of this year’s edition. The Anaheim event has a slate of presentations for film and television projects that include The Big Bang Theory, Dark Phoenix, Fear the Walking Dead, Stargirl, Swamp Thing, NOS4A2, Hanna, Deadly Class, Into the Badlands, Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, Legion, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, The Twilight Zone, A Conversation of Witches, and an unspecified preview from Warner Bros./New Line.