PASADENA, California — At age 24, Brad Dourif made one of Hollywood’s all-time classic movie debuts, snagging an Oscar nomination as the tragically confused Billy Bibbit in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
In the decades since, he’s carved a unique Hollywood career as a pop-culture Forrest Gump, popping up in everything from TV’s “Moonlighting,” “The X Files” and “Deadwood” to “Blue Velvet,” “Jungle Fever” and some five movies in which he voiced Chucky, the world’s most famous bloodthirsty plaything.
Recently, we caught up with Dourif on the front lawn of Michael Myers’ home. Ensconced in a Fu Manchu mustache and policeman’s uniform, he has once again tapped into the public consciousness, this time joining the cast of Rob Zombie’s controversial remake of “Halloween” — a movie he has never even seen (see “Tyler Mane Hopes To Be ’Scariest Michael Ever’ In Rob Zombie’s ’Halloween’ “ ). The affable Hollywood original gave us his unfiltered thoughts on the blood-soaked set, the expanded importance of his character Sheriff Brackett, and why Chucky might be invading your nightmares again really soon.
MTV: The scene you’re about to shoot has you acting opposite Tyler Mane as the new Michael Myers, Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Loomis, and 18-year-old Scout Taylor-Compton stepping into the shoes of Jamie Lee Curtis. How is she doing as Laurie Strode?
Brad Dourif: Well, did you see her tonight? Was she not scary? There were a couple takes where I was really terrified. I was really ready to blow [Michael Myers] away. [He shouldn’t] treat people like that.
MTV: Jamie Lee gained fame as “The Scream Queen,” so tell us: How does Scout’s scream measure up?
Dourif: She’s good. I’d give her a 9.5 minimum, and I haven’t even heard her best scream yet.
MTV: While fans of the original “Halloween” will remember there being a Sheriff Brackett, they probably won’t remember him doing very much. Is it safe to say that Rob Zombie has beefed up your character significantly?
Dourif: Oh yeah. Now, the sheriff and Dr. Loomis are really two opposites. The sheriff is a very practical, extremely down-to-earth person, and Loomis is not. Now [the sheriff is] the voice of power.
MTV: So will we be seeing the aftermath of how you’re affected by your daughter Annie’s death at the hands of Michael Myers?
Dourif: Hold on — am I actually allowed to say what happens? I don’t think so.
MTV: Well, everybody knows that she dies in the original movie.
Dourif: Yeah. Well, there is a scene … I do have a daughter, and there is a scene where things happen to her. I will say that.
MTV: And we’ll get to see you dealing with the aftermath of those “things”?
Dourif: The sheriff is very human, and the sheriff in this one certainly represents a sense of reality. I didn’t see the first “Halloween,” to tell you the truth, but I think this one is about innocence and family. In a certain way, Michael Myers is an innocent. In a second way, he’s somebody who desperately wanted a family. And the third thing about him is that he is a monster, in every horrible sense of that word. There is no argument that he is going to kill you.
MTV: Rob has surrounded you guys with some huge horror icons: Udo Kier, Dee Wallace Stone, Ken Foree …
Dourif: Are you suggesting I’m not a horror icon? I’m a horror icon! I’m Chucky!
MTV: Absolutely, you are one too. But I was going to ask how all these Fangoria-friendly people have enhanced the experience.
Dourif: You know, Rob has every reason to be a snot — and somehow he is just not. He is very laid back, he is wide open, and yet he is very specific about what he wants. Every time I go in, I’m very clear about what I need to do, what my job is. I feel very much a part of the movie for that reason.
MTV: What are you most looking forward to seeing from this movie?
Dourif: Let me put it to you this way: I did not see the first “Halloween,” and I ain’t seeing this one for the exact same reason — it’s too scary for me! There is no way, even at gunpoint. I ain’t going in there.
MTV: What has been your favorite scene to film thus far?
Dourif: I had a great scene with my daughter that I liked a lot. Then, of course, I’m really lucky to be working with one of my heroes, Malcolm McDowell, as well. I’ve done a couple of scenes I really, really like with him.
MTV: You’re a busy man these days. What other projects have you been up to?
Dourif: I can’t even remember them all. I did about seven movies last year, and I think we are going to do a few more “Deadwood” episodes. We are going to start shooting those probably in the summer.
MTV: And, obviously, you possess one of the most famous voices in horror. So when are we going to see Chucky strike again?
Dourif: Oh man, I love Chucky because he enjoys his work. The idea that recently got put to me is the best idea yet. I hope like hell we get to do it. There is no specific [contract in place], but there is just a wallop of a good idea.
MTV: Can you give us even a hint of what that idea is?
Dourif: [He laughs.] No, I ain’t saying nothing more than that. It just takes a wild turn. I think one of the floating titles is “Chucky Goes Nuts.” Basically, something happens that makes Chucky really crazy.
MTV: Is there a director in line?
Dourif: It’d be the same as the last one [Don Mancini]. He’s the writer and creator of Chucky as well.
MTV: Much like you and Rob are currently attempting with “Halloween,” the “Child’s Play” films underwent a massive reinvention in the late ’90s. Do you prefer to do horror movies that strive to be something more than a sequel for sequel’s sake?
Dourif: Definitely. “The Bride of Chucky” is my favorite of those films. There was something wonderfully camp about it. … I was shocked when the two dolls had sex. Even though we had done all the voice work, it was really weird to see it. It was the closest to real sex I’d had in a while.
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