"I especially don't want to be in a movie where I'm being tortured and caged and stabbed and all those things," says Plaza

By Nigel Smith
June 18, 2019 02:05 PM
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Aubrey Plaza knows how to be funny, as evidenced by seven hilarious seasons of Parks and Recreation. In her new film Child’s Play, the actress, 34, proves she can scare just as convincingly.

Lars Klevberg’s clever reimagining of the 1988 horror cult classic sees Plaza play Karen Barclay, a widowed single mother struggling to connect with her son Andy (Gabriel Bateman) after they move to a new town. To win him over, she gifts him a returned Buddi doll from the store she works at. The toy seemingly does everything — not only will it be your “best friend,” but it can control all of your apps! However, this being Child’s Play, it’s not long before Buddi — who Andy names “Chucky” — becomes a full-fledged serial killer.

PEOPLE caught up with Plaza to learn what attracted her to the role, her thoughts on smart technology, and playing a “cool mom” in Child’s Play.

Am I wrong — is this really your first horror movie? That’s kind of crazy.

It is. Everyone is so surprised. Yes it is. It is my first official horror movie.

Child’s Play
Orion Pictures

Most young actors end up in a lot of horror flicks. How did you avoid that?

Basically, I’m not interested in horror. I’m not a big horror fan. I especially don’t want to be in a movie where I’m being tortured and caged and stabbed and all those things. I’m way too sensitive for that and I take everything that I’m doing very seriously. So I think for me to enter into that place it had to be — it would have be something really special and I don’t know why this was the one, but it just is.

I was so excited when I read the script and I think it was such an iconic character and I thought it was such a clever re-imagining of the character that I felt like, ‘You know what? Maybe I’ll just give this a whirl.’

The movie really plays into people’s fear of technology. Are you afraid of where it’s all headed?

Yes, totally. I was very game for technology being the villain. I am so kinda paranoid about all of these smart devices and I really struggle with that a lot. The idea that, you know, we’re so reliant on these things and that I feel like they’re changing the way we think, and they’re changing the way we interact with each other. I just thought it was a really interesting exploration on kinda the worst case scenario of what could go wrong. I don’t think it’s that far off from something that could really happen.

Are you a big Smart Home person? Do you have a lot of devices synced up to your iCloud?

I do because of my boyfriend — he is very into that stuff. So even all our light bulbs are connected to an app. And it drives me insane. I don’t like any of it. I don’t want to talk to a machine, I don’t want to ask the machine to do things for me. I just want a touchscreen and do them myself.

Of course it’s very convenient to have all of your speakers hooked up to one thing but at the end of the day, I want to go switch a light bulb on and off and go to bed. I don’t want to ask a machine to turn the lights off so I can go to sleep. It creeps me out.

Aubrey Plaza in Child’s Play

How do you negotiate that? Do you just let him have his way?

I tell him he can hook up everything except for the lamp on my side of the bed.

Were you ever creeped out by the dolls on set?

Uh, yeah pretty much. I mean I had to walk by the Chucky area and there were about nine of the dolls like hanging there frequently like staring at you so I got creeped off. It’s kinda cute.

The mom you play, I would describe her as a cool mom. Is that the kind of mom you’d be?

I would hope that I’m gonna to be a cool mom! I would love to be a cool mom. I think my mom, in real life, was very young when she had me so I felt a deep connection with the character. I felt like I understood what it’s like to be a young mom and I do think the relationship does become quite different and you kind of grow up together. So there’s a difference —there’s a different dynamic than a typical mom relationship probably. But, yeah I mean I think that Karen is kind of doing the best she can but clearly there’s a lot taking place and she’s kind of distracted by men in her life which I think is a lesson that she kind of learns a little bit. So I would hope that I don’t fall onto that track — but I would think that I would be pretty cool.

Child’s Play opens Friday.