Frazer Harrison/Getty Images ; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; Jeff Vespa
September 21, 2018 at 01:00 PM EDT

It producer Seth Grahame-Smith was still a kid when he first saw 1988’s Child’s Play, the horror film which introduced the world to the killer doll Chucky.

“I was just 12-year-old when the ’88 movie came out,” he says. “It scared the hell out of me. I watched it again and again. It’s a special movie for me.”

Thirty years on, Grahame-Smith is currently overseeing the Vancouver shoot for a remake of Child’s Play with his producing partner David Katzenberg. This new version stars Aubrey Plaza as a mother who gives her son (Gabriel Bateman) a toy doll for his birthday, unaware of its more sinister nature. The film costars Atlanta actor Brian Tyree Henry.

The MGM/Orion Pictures project is written by Tyler Burton Smith and directed by Norwegian filmmaker Lars Klevberg, another longtime fan of the original. “Child’s Play was, and is, one of my all-time horror movies and it was one of my introductions to horror,” says Klevberg of director Tom Holland’s terror tale. “I got the script [for the remake] and it was really really good, and I knew it was from the producers from It, and I jumped in immediately.”

Klevberg explains that he is using both a practical doll and visual effects to create the new film’s Chucky, but is tight-lipped about the backstory of the character who, in the original film, is possessed by a serial killer. “Our Chucky will be our Chucky and he will be presented when the movie comes out,” teases the director.

The character of Chucky was created by Don Mancini, who has written or cowritten all of the films in the franchise prior to the Child’s Play remake and directed the last three movies, including last year’s Cult of Chucky. Mancini and longtime franchise producer David Kirschner are currently developing a TV show with Universal, which began to distribute the Child’s Play sequels after a new regime at the original film’s backers, MGM/UA, declined to pursue the series further. The pair also have plans to make more Chucky films. In July, Mancini and Kirschner told EW that they had declined MGM’s offer to become executive producers on the Child’s Play remake and Mancini expressed concern that Klevberg’s film would “muddy” the brand.

“Everyone is a huge fan of Don Mancini,” says Klevberg. “[If] he was making this movie with us it would be really amazing, but we understand he has his reasons. We are extremely grateful to him and will always be. He’s someone I look up to.”

Brad Dourif voiced Chucky in the original Child’s Play and its six sequels. Klevberg insists he doesn’t know who will play the part in his movie. “We haven’t cast that role yet,” says the director.

What else can the filmmaker say about the film?

“It’s going to be scary, and it’s going to be surprisingly emotional, and we also want it to be fun,” says Klevberg. “So, it’s a really good mix.”

Check out an exclusive first look of the Child’s Play remake’s new Chucky, below.

Orion Pictures

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