Seed of Chucky takes place in the United States, around Hollywood and thereabouts, but you would be hard-pressed to tell, from the evidence on screen, that the movie was actually shot in Romania. (All the Eastern European names in the end credit roll are a dead giveaway.) These shots from the set, courtesy of Chucky's dad, writer-director Don Mancini, who wrote all five chapters in the killer-doll franchise and directed the most recent (and, contrary to conventional wisdom, the best) entry, comprise a sneak peek into the occasionally dislocated experience of life on the set in Eastern Europe, where as much fun as could be had was had while enduring the difficult schedule and day-to-day challenges of bringing the most technically sophisticated of all the Chucky movies to life. (I heartily recommend grabbing the Seed of Chucky DVD not only for the movie, but for the outstanding grab-bag of special features, two of which-- Jennifer Tilly's video missive from Romania, and her supremely witty and self-mocking production diary-- paint a vivid, hilarious portrait of what it takes to conjure Chucky onto the screen when you're the actress playing the actress on whom the killer doll focuses his nasty intentions.)
Here's a few candid and not-so-candid photos that will give you a good idea of what it was like to come to work on the set of Seed of Chucky:
Chucky hangs out on the set with Mancini and John Waters just before Waters's big death scene. Waters says that joining the ranks of Chucky's victims was a career highlight and an honor, and I believe him! Waters gets one of the most memorable send-offs in the franchise's history.
No truth whatsoever to the rumor that director Mancini likes to treat his actors like cattle, or puppets, although there was some evidence that his puppets loved to be treated like actors...
Don Mancini and Jennifer Tilly look on while technicians and puppeteers prepare Tiffany, Chucky's bride, for a big scene with her human alter ego. Jennifer Tilly provided the voice of Tiffany as well as the explosive comic juice of her portrayal of "Jennifer Tilly," a narcissistic cartoon exaggeration of her own vixenish public persona.
The Incredible Melted Man, a.k.a. John Waters, shows us what its like having the flesh burned off your scalp by acid-- the Pink Flamingos icon looks remarkably relaxed for having been through such a trauma. He's flanked by Mancini (left) and master puppeteer and effects whiz Tony Gardner (right, who experiences some on-screen trauma of his own, but I won't spoil it here...)
Mancini and star Jennifer Tilly vamp it up on the backlot, where camp, one would imagine a rare and valuable commodity in the Romanian film industry, is where you make it.
Optical illusion? Perhaps. Supernatural? Perhaps not. Sideways on the set, from left, producer Corey Sienega, writer-director Don Mancini and producer David Kirschner consider looking at life as Lee Remick and Julia Stiles once saw it, from the bottom of the Omen staircase.
Glen (or Glenda), the titular seed of Chucky and Tiffany, spends some quality down time under a shroud while awaiting his call to the set.
Exhaustion begins to set in as first-time director Don Mancini and his crew race against time to wrap some night shots before the sun comes up. The final movie betrays neither exhaustion nor directorial inexperience-- it's sure-footed, snappy and just the right balance of scary and funny, the beneficiary of long, hard nights (and days) like these.
Thanks, Don, for the great photos!