Bella Higginbotham as Nadine, Alyvia Alyn Lind as Lexy Cross in CHUCKY – Season 2 | ©2022 Syfy/Rafy
In Season 2 of CHUCKY, Wednesday nights on Syfy and USA, the killer doll has come to wreak havoc at Incarnate Lord Catholic school. This is where Chucky’s Season 1 teen foes Lexy Cross, played by Alyvia Alyn Lind, Jake Wheeler (Zackary Arthur) and Devon Evans (Bjorgvin Arnarson) have been sent after they are held responsible for the toy’s murderous activities.
At the school, our heroes make a new ally, eccentric but good-hearted fellow student Nadine, played by Bella Higginbotham. As shown in last week’s episode, “He Is Risen Indeed,” Nadine is too trusting for her own good.
Lind’s previous credits include playing one of William Masters’s children in the series MASTERS OF SEX, DOLLY PARTON’S CHRISTMAS OF MANY COLORS: CIRCLE OF LOVE, and OVERBOARD. Higginbotham, who has also appeared in many stage musicals, has been onscreen in TROOP ZERO, THE MIGHTY DUCKS: GAME CHANGERS, and MR. DOODLES.
Following a Q&A session held by Syfy for the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour, Lind and Higginbotham come together for a smaller Zoom roundtable interview. Their affection for each other and for CHUCKY creator/show runner Don Mancini is palpable.
Lind welcomes all of the developments that Lexy has gone through as a character. “I always say one of my favorite things about Don Mancini’s writing is that no characters are one-layered. Everybody always has some sort of arc, or some sort of change, and that was my favorite thing about Lexy when Don told me about her at the beginning of Season 1. She had this full arc, and people were going to hate her at the beginning, but by the end, you’ll like her, hopefully [laughs], if you can forget all of the terrible things she’s done,” Lind laughs.
“So, playing that arc in Season 1 was so much fun, and now, going on to Season 2, I feel like I get to play a completely different character. I’ve played Lexy this whole time with the same sass and sarcasm, but it’s three completely different characters. She’s not as naïve and self-absorbed and narcissistic, and she’s just trying to keep people she safe, well, coping from all the trauma that she’s experienced, losing everybody in her life that she believes matters, and watching many people die. It was traumatic, to say the least. It’s a lot for a fifteen-year-old.”
Season 2 starts a year after Season 1. Before the incident that gets them packed off to Catholic school, Lind relates, “The kids are trying to deal with their trauma in any way possible. I think that everything happened so fast and now finally everything is catching up to their emotions. They have all been separated. They cannot talk about the trauma they have endured with anybody other than each other, and they have kind of lost contact at this point. So, they are just having to push it all down and just pretend like everything is okay when it is definitely not. Lexy has turned to drugs. She is trying to cope in any way possible because she feels like she has lost every single person who she loved. And Devon and Jake are not there for her.”
Once they’re brought together at the school, Lexy still has issues with her old friends, but new roommate Nadine is indeed there for her. How was it for Higginbotham to join a group of actors who’d already been working together for a year?
“Well,” Higginbotham replies, “starting off with the very warm welcome that I received when coming onto this show, I cannot stop talking about how kind everyone is on this production. I feel like you wouldn’t expect a horror [series] to be as warm and happy on set as it is, but it truly is such a sweet atmosphere. Don Mancini, Aly, and all of the kids, they just really welcomed me, and I feel indoctrinated into the cult in the best possible way.”
Higginbotham is also new to working with Chucky. The character is voiced by Brad Dourif, but operated on set by a team of puppeteers, who must be ignored by the actors playing opposite the living doll. Asked about working with the puppeteers, Higginbotham relates, “I was definitely expecting there to be a lot more CGI. I fully thought that would be most of what we would be doing, but no, it was not that. The puppeteers do such a wonderful job making Chucky real. It’s very uncanny, it’s really awesome, and it’s really easy to ignore them,” she laughs. “[Puppeteers] Gord [Robertson] and Pam [Iveta] they make Chucky so real that that’s what you’re focused on, the cute, terrifying little doll.”
Describing her character Nadine, Higginbotham offers, “I think that from her background, growing up Catholic, she definitely got all of the really positive teachings of the Lord, and how you love everyone, and love your neighbor. She really doesn’t judge people, and meets people where they’re at, especially Lexy. I think [Nadine is] her own little quirky kleptomaniac self. She’s such a deep character, but also just such a good character. And she definitely brings out the glitter in the unicorns that was, I would say, hiding in the CHUCKY universe,” she laughs. “She brings a breath of life and goodness to all of the death and destruction, which is very sweet. I like that.”
Lind says she knew right away that Higginbotham was the right person to play Nadine. “I remember doing the chemistry read with her, the final audition. I’d met a few Nadines, and I called Don after, and I was like, ‘Listen, it’s Bella.’”
Higginbotham puts her hand over her face, both laughing and moved.
Lind continues. “‘She needs to be Bella, because it is Bella, it just is. She’s perfect.’ So, yeah. I love my Bella. Working with Bella was such a great experience, but above all, it was so much fun, just because we do play off each other so well, and we had this instant connection with each other, and it just felt like we really understood each other’s acting styles, and I respect her so much as an actress, and I think she is so incredible, and so funny, and such the perfect Nadine.”
Higginbotham returns the sentiment. “I love Aly. She’s such a great actor. Every scene that I got to do one-on-one with [Lind], I always looked forward to those so much. I looked forward to working with Aly more than I looked forward to working with Chucky …”
“Which is definitely something,” Higginbotham maintains, “because she’s just such a good actor, and so nice to play off of, and I think that Nadine’s character really needed that gal pal. They’re definitely ride or dies, and I love that. It’s really sweet.”
Characters have a tendency to die in the CHUCKY franchise, but the actors come back. Witness Jennifer Tilly as Charles Lee Ray’s erstwhile girlfriend Tiffany, then as herself, then as Jennifer Tilly-possessed-by-Tiffany. Devon Sawa played both Jake’s father and Jake’s uncle in Season 1, and is back in Season 2 as the priest who runs the Catholic school.
So, Higginbotham observes, there is “very little job security. But I think it’s really exciting. Because I feel like, for me personally, the job security is definitely part of it, but I was a little nervous, like, what if I died, and what if I don’t ever get to see these people again? What if Aly died, and I never get to see her again? Which obviously wouldn’t happen. But I don’t know. No one is safe!”
Lind adds, “What I love about this franchise is that no one is safe, but also, everybody is safe, because Don is so loyal to his people. We’ve seen Devon Sawa die twice now. So, he’s back again,” she laughs. “Don brings so many people back, and that’s what I think is so fun, because you die, and then he slips you a little note, like, ‘Don’t worry, I have this in store for you.’ So, you never really, fully die. How many times has Jennifer Tilly died now? How many times is she really dead? Let’s think about it. Let’s think about the logic behind that. But that’s why I think it’s so fun. So, yeah, it’s scary. Reading [the script for] every episode is like reading a really good book. You really don’t know what’s going to come next. Nothing is off-limits.”
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Article: Interview with CHUCKY actos Alyvia Alyn Lind and Bella Higginbotham on Season 2 of the Syfy spin-off series