For Brad and Fiona Dourif, Chucky is a ‘family business’

SyFy’s Chucky series is a lot of things: A bold continuation for a franchise with a high hit rate, one of the funniest shows on TV, and a series that consistently takes big, outrageous swings. A place where one of the most talented father-daughter duos in Hollywood can work together like they never have before.

Brad Dourif has been the voice of Chucky since the original Child’s Play, where he also played serial killer Charles Lee Ray, whose soul is transferred into the iconic Good Guy doll. His daughter Fiona first joined the franchise in 2013’s Curse of Chucky as protagonist Nica Pierce, a role she reprises in the TV show. But unlike their previous collaborations in Curse of Chucky, Cult of Chucky, or even Deadwood (where Fiona made her acting debut in 2005), the Dourifs got a unique opportunity in “Final Destination,” the finale of the third season of Chucky: Actually acting across from each other.

It all happens when Jake (Zackary Arthur) manufactures his temporary death to visit the Spirit Realm, hoping he can convince Good Chucky to sacrifice himself in order to destroy Chucky forever. (Just another day in the world of Chucky!). While in the Spirit Realm, Jake encounters all the different Chuckys we’ve seen across the show — a lot of different dolls, but also the different versions of Charles Lee Ray that have appeared, including the young adult version played by Fiona Dourif (and voiced by her father) and an older version of the serial killer embodied by Brad Dourif. This season of Chucky marks Dourif’s first on-screen appearance in the franchise since a flashback in 2013’s Curse of Chucky — something the legendary actor joked had its downsides.

Brad Dourif and Chucky have a heart to heart in the oval office Image: SyFy

“I had to go to makeup and hair,” he told Polygon in a video interview. “Shaving my beard off and so forth. I could have done this thing in my pajamas up till then. But I was alone. So it was nice to suddenly feel like I was really a part of the franchise, which I oddly didn’t before then.”

The meetings of the Charles Lee Rays leads to a confrontation and disagreement, allowing the Dourifs their first ever opportunity to really share a scene, something Fiona says she “always wanted to do.”

“The scene was a long time coming,” she says. “I was nervous at first and then as soon as we actually started filming it, all of it went away because I was face to face with the person that I trust the most in the world. It felt like [showrunner] Don Mancini handed the Dourifs a gift. Six weeks of hanging out every day getting to make something that’s really fun. And we ate dinner every night together. Who gets to do that as an adult?”

Fiona and Brad Dourif talk closely to each other in a movie theater in Chucky Image: SyFy

Brad and Fiona Dourif look at Zackary Arthur in Chucky Image: Syfy

Their argument happens in a movie theater, where all the various Chucky iterations are watching a montage of their greatest hits (read: kills) over the course of the franchise. As Brad’s older Charles Lee Ray cracks up at a particularly gruesome murder, Fiona’s younger Charles lays into him to stay on task — regaining favor with the evil spirit Dambala to stop Chucky’s rapid aging and pending demise.

It is fun to see their direct contrast on the same character up close — Fiona’s a more spirited and angry Charles, while Brad’s more tired and world weary. (“When you get to be my age, you see it’s not all stabby stabby and onto the next.”) Their banter about the older Charles’ age is particularly funny and pure Chucky — Fiona’s character asks “Do you know where we are? Do you know who the president is?” and Brad’s retorts: “Of course I know who the president is. We just fucking killed him.”

While the Dourifs hadn’t had the opportunity to act across from each other on screen before this sequence, shooting it still brought back memories: The pair used to run lines for auditions together. “It kind of felt a little bit like I was back in my living room,” Brad says. And the proud dad jokes about the influence his history of playing murderers had on his daughter, especially in his favorite performance of hers — as “holistic assassin” Bart Curlish in the BBC America show Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

“Her entrance into that TV series was probably one of the best entrances I’ve ever seen,” he says. “She was so delighted to get to kill this guy. As she ran at him, I went, That’s how you do it, darlin!” (“Thanks, pop!” Fiona chimed in on the call).

Brad Dourif, with blood on his shirt, screams with glee as the American flag waves behind him in Chucky Image: SyFy

The elder Dourif has been inseparable from the franchise from the beginning – just ask Mark Hamill, an uber-talented voice actor in his own right whose iteration of the killer doll in the 2019 reboot Child’s Play was largely rejected by critics and fans alike. And now Fiona has become just as entrenched in the series, playing multiple roles and truly making Chucky a “family business,” both agreed.

“Since I could form memories, I’ve been the seed of Chucky. It was the coolest thing about me in high school,” Fiona says. “So it feels very, very, very personal. And like winning a lottery.”

That connection is what keeps Brad going in the franchise — the only place he continues to work as an actor.

“But for this, I’m retired,” he says. “And there’s no way that I would not do this. Because it’s family.”

Chucky is streaming on Peacock.