Child’s Play Director Reveals He Departed The Film Before Its Completion

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The Child’s Play franchise has proven more popular and more sustainable than anyone could’ve anticipated back in 1988, but the first and arguably best installment in this seven-film series saw some major creative conflict behind the scenes, with director Tom Holland even departing the project before it was finished.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Fright Night helmsman recalled how he didn’t see eye to eye with producer David Kirschner and writer Don Mancini on the amount of screen time that the Chucky doll should be given, and tensions got so bad that he eventually walked away.

“They wanted to cut the amount of screen time of the doll,” confirms Holland, “and I said, ‘No Chucky, no third act.’ I remember that turned into a very difficult situation.”

After Holland left, Mancini helped finish off the flick in the editing room, and the final film proved to be a series-spawning horror hit. And while Holland may not agree with all of Mancini’s creative choices, he can at least respect the central role he played in turning Chucky into a cultural phenomenon.

“If Child’s Play hadn’t been as exciting as it was, you wouldn’t have spawned all the sequels [and] I don’t think that it would be the worldwide brand that it has become. I want to give it a tip of the hat: I don’t think that Child’s Play or Chucky would be as big as it is now if it weren’t for Don Mancini, because he’s gone and made all those [sequels] and it’s built its own fan base.”

Though the doll has come a long way since that first feature, Mancini’s found some new people to beef with thanks to MGM’s questionable decision to reboot the Child’s Play franchise without the writer’s involvement. This development has been met with widespread criticism from longtime viewers, largely because Mancini and Kirschner already had plans to continue the story with Child’s Play: The TV Series. Though details remain vague on this show, last month the pair teased that the series will be introducing new characters while taking the property back to the child-based roots of the first movie.

Time will tell which of these new Child’s Play works will do a better job of honoring the legacy of the 1988 original, but the backlash received by the new Chucky doll makes it all too clear that Mancini and Kirschner’s project is the one with the fans on its side.

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