Carlease Burke sat down to talk with me about her latest role, as Doreen in the upcoming Lars Klevberg-directed remake of Child’s Play.
Set to premiere on June 21, 2019, and stars Aubrey Plaza in the role of a mother who gives her son (Gabriel Bateman) a Buddi doll for his birthday, unaware of its sinister nature. Mark Hamill will be voicing Chucky.
Horror Fuel: “You have been in so many fantastic series and movies. I mean, wow!”
Carlease Burke: “I know. It is pretty remarkable when you are looking back at it. That’s a lot of stuff (laughter).”
Horror Fuel: “(giggle) When I was looking at your IMDb I saw a lot of series I know and love.”
Carlease Burke: “Oh, so you may have seen me before you knew me.”
Horror Fuel: “I’m sure of it. I absolutely love Shameless.”
Carlease Burke: “In the beginning, it was the first season, I played Roberta. I had a three-episode arc. I was William H. Macy’s wife’s girlfriend, she is a truck driver.”
Horror Fuel: “Yes, yes, yes, I remember. She was a great character.”
Carlease Burke: “Yeah, I loved that character.”
Horror Fuel: “I love that show. I’m so glad that we get another season.”
Carlease Burke: ” I’m so happy for them. The kids have grown up. I remember when the little ones, Ethan and Emma, they were so young when we first started. We would take them out of them out of the room, even though they were there shooting, but we took them out when some scenes got really racy. The whole show is shameless. Even when we watched the episodes we’d take them out of the room. Now, here it is nine years later and there damn near grown.”
Horror Fuel: “It is crazy to look back and realize that you’ve been watching the show that long.”
Carlease Burke: “I’m so happy for them and everyone connected. It’s amazing.”
Here’s a clip of Carlease as Roberta in season one of Shameless. Notice, her character is the one sane adult.
Horror Fuel: “You’ve involved in so many amazing things, Ballers, Heroes, Dexter. I mean, who doesn’t love Dexter?”
Carlease Burke: “Yeah, I like that show too. I had a great moment on that show.”
Horror Fuel: “I have to know, what was it like to see Chucky in real life for the first time? Was it terrifying?”
Carlease Burke: “Okay, the first time that I saw Chucky he was laying on a bed. I was walking through the set to where my particular apartment was and I just saw him and I went ‘Oh, my god!’ Like Denzel Washington or Idris Elba was laying there or something. So I started looking around to see if anyone was looking. I don’t remember if I had my phone in my hand, but we were told not to take any pictures, not to reveal anything. Whenever I saw Chucky he was laying around on a table or on a bed. Now I can say it, because of the new trailer they’ve released, but he has puppeteers that make him move and talk and make his face move. He has expressions like a human being. I had always seen him still, but when I went back to Vancouver to do some reshoots, recently, I was in a car and I turned around and he was there. He was in the car. And he was moving (laughter). His face was moving. I was like, ‘Okay, you know what ya’ll, this is creepy!’ I really felt creeped out when he was moving in the car. When his face moved, that’s when I got creeped out.”
Horror Fuel: “I’d be creeped out too. He is a creepy little bugger. Chucky ruined dolls for me for life. I watched Child’s Play as a kid and as soon as it was over I went to my room and packed up every doll and put them in our shed. Haven’t owned one since. He ruined dolls for me. But I still love his movies.”
Carlease Burke: “He traumatized you! But then you loved horror. You said it somewhere, I was reading your site, it was Friday the 13th that was your first.”
Horror Fuel: “Right. It took about a year for the terror to subside for me and then I fell in love with horror.”
Carlease Burke: “Oh, okay.
I heard someone comment about your Georgia accent. I love it.”
Horror Fuel: “Thank you! I can’t seem to get rid of it.”
Carlease Burke: “I love it!”
Horror Fuel: “Awe, thank you.
So, tell us about your character, please?”
Carlease Burke: “I play Doreen. Doreen lives in the apartment building where most of the action takes place. There is an Andy, like in the original. Andy has a mom and Detective Mike is also still a character in this version. We all live in the same apartment building. There are more children involved than in the first one. Doreen is fun and funloving and she’s loud. She’s not nosey, but she knows what’s going on in the building and she loves the kids and they love her. They come to her when stuff goes down. She likes to play BINGO. She is just fun. ”
Horror Fuel: “Oh, she sounds cool.”
Carlease Burke: “The focus isn’t on Doreen, but she is featured. You see her a lot. She interacts with everyone in the building where a lot of action takes place.”
Horror Fuel: “We get a brief glimpse of you in a car in the new trailer. Is that the scene you were referring to earlier?”
Carlease Burke: “Yes, yes you do.”
Horror Fuel: “You look absolutely terrified.”
Carlease Burke: “(laughter)”
Horror Fuel: “Now, I know why.”
Carlease Burke: “Right, right (laughter) because I saw Chucky. The reason why I was kind of hesitating there is…let me think about if I can say this…I’ll say it this way, sometimes, many times, when you are shooting, rather it be horror or anything else when the camera is on you are actually reacting to something that’s not really there. I said all of that to say I’m glad the terror is reading on my face because at that moment, I might have been reacting to something that wasn’t really there. You have to go inside and find something that is scary and visualize it in your mind or whatever you need to do because there’s other stuff going on around you, production, the director, cameras and whatever else is happening to make the movie, which can be terrifying.”
Horror Fuel: “It sounds chaotic. It’s amazing that you can stay in the moment.”
Carlease Burke: “It’s a skill, I have to say. Not everyone can do it. You really have to be focused and confident in your skills to pull it off. There is a lot going on that people don’t see or have any idea about.”
Horror Fuel: “I really hope that when the Blu-ray comes out that there is a behind-the-scenes special feature.”
Carlease Burke: “The latest trailer – I think it came out yesterday – and I’m surprised they did this, they reveal Chucky. They show you how he was made, they show you the puppeteers. That’s why I felt okay about telling you that the moment with Chucky in the car. But before the trailer, I didn’t think they wanted anyone to know that. But the new trailer shows you what he’s made out of, all of his parts, how they animate him and everything.”
Horror Fuel: “It’s so interesting how they create or bring to life something like that and to see actors interacting with things like Chucky.”
Carlease Burke: “Yeah. I’m nosey, I like to know all aspects of the industry. I want to know what every department is doing. I want to know everyone in every department and what their job is like. I’m all over there. People are trying to work (laughter) and I’m over there asking them questions. And they’re like ‘Look, actress, stay over there in your area. We have chairs for you. Sit down. Sometimes I have to reel myself in. And remember I’m there to work.”
Horror Fuel: “I’d be the same way. That’s one of my favorite parts of my job, talking to people with different roles in the industry. I find it incredibly interesting to find out what’s going in actors heads’ while they are doing scenes.
In those scenes where you have to project “terrified”, what are you thinking about?”
Carlease Burke: “Whatever worked at that moment. There was one scene where I could hear the walkie-talkie inside the car so I could hear the director. He could communicate with me and tell me what he wanted. Sometimes he would say things and I would actually be reacting to what he’s saying. He’d maybe say something like, ‘Yell out something.’ and I would literally yell out something. Nobody could hear him, but when you see my face, you don’t know what I’m reacting to. You’ll know how they put it together in the film, but in real time I could have been reacting to what he would say or if he asked me to ramp it up a little bit. I started thinking of what were the most terrifying things I could think of. When had I ever been in a situation like this before, I started thinking about things I’m afraid of. Sometimes, I would just let it all go. I tried to use my body sometimes because I was in a car. I would use everything available to me.”
Horror Fuel: “Well, it all definitely worked because in the trailer you look terrified. Making a film sounds like a lot of work.”
Carlease Burke: “Yes, it is! You’re right. It really is. All of that for that scene in the car, which could actually be all day, half a day of shooting. You have to get all the angles. It is a lot of work. As an actor, you’re doing it over and over. I’m surprised I didn’t lose my voice. People were like, ‘Are you okay? Do you need tea? Do you need water?’ They take care of you. No one wants you to get hurt. It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy it. I love it! My least favorite words are ‘That’s a wrap.’
Horror Fuel: “I hope we see you in a lot more horror films now. Don’t get me wrong, you’re great in every genre, but I’d like to see you in more roles like this one.”
Carlease Burke: “I’m anxious to see what comes from this. I know I’ll get more work, but I wonder what will be my path now. I am a big fan of Stephen King and Jordan Peele and would love to work with them on one or more of their projects.”
Horror Fuel: “I hope you have many more roles, but I’m cheering to see you in more horror. Both King and Peele are amazing.
What you did in the trailer is very effective. But being in the car with Chucky, I’d be scared too.”
Carlease Burke: “You wouldn’t have done well Kelli (laughter). ”
Horror Fuel: “No, I would have thrown him out of the window (laughter).
A moment ago you mentioned that you delve into what you’re afraid of in scenes like that. What are you afraid of?”
Carlease Burke: “Heights, I don’t like heights. I once had an experience where I was in Alaska and I thought I was going to be a tourist and go ziplining. I went up with some friends and they give you a test before you go up. I thought I was going to be okay until they harnessed me in and I was like ‘Oh.’ I didn’t feel confident with the way you’re supposed to move and break, all these rules they give you. Then I looked over where the zip line is going and I was like, ‘No. I’m not going. Get me down.’ All my friends went first and they were on this little platform, cheering me on. I was ‘No. No. Take me out of this.’ They were going, ‘What are you going to do?’ ‘I don’t care, I’ll meet you at the country store.’ I could not do it. They say that if you panic and squeeze the brake and you’re stuck out there, you will completely shut down the entire zipline until someone can come to get you. Then in Vancouver where we shot Chucky, everyone wanted to go to this suspension bridge. It’s a bridge, but it’s moving. I was like, ‘No. That’s okay I pass.’ I wouldn’t even pretend like I was going to go. I’m not afraid of flying. I’m okay on a plane because I have no control and I have to get from place to another. I’m really tired when I fly, so I can just fall asleep. I’m also afraid of snakes. I do not like snakes.
Horror Fuel: “I get it. I hate even getting into an elevator. I’ll take the stairs.”
Carlease Burke: “So you wouldn’t be okay in one of those glass elevators would you?”
Horror Fuel: “That’s a big no. I would freak out.”
Carlease Burke: I can briefly look down in a hotel, but if it’s outside, I prefer not to look down from balconies. I’ll never lean on a railing, just in case. And those snakes, no.”
Horror Fuel: “I understand. I feel about mice and rats the way you do snakes. That’s part of the reason why I have cats.”
Carlease Burke: “I’m not fond of mice, but they have their place. They need to be in a cage in a pet store. If I saw one in the house, that wouldn’t be good.”
Horror Fuel: No. I live in the country so mice are around, but I will freak out if I see one. I don’t want one to get hurt though. Just in case I use those humane traps so the mouse can be relocated.”
Carlease Burke: “Oh, good.”
Horror Fuel: “Are you going to be doing any of the conventions?”
Carlease Burke: “Since horror has such a strong and loyal loyal following, maybe that would be the next thing that could be in my future.”
Horror Fuel: “They would love you! You have such an amazing personality. You’re awesome.”
Carlease Burke: “Thank you! We’ll see. I believe the film is going to be really well received and will be in the history books in the genre. We’ll go from there.”
Horror Fuel: I’m excited to see Child’s Play. I’m a little scared of ole Chucky, but I love him.”
Carlease Burke: “Just know that he’s not coming for you Kelli (laughter).”
Horror Fuel: “He better not.”
Carlease Burke: “Watch trailer number three. But for you Kelli, it’s probably going to freak you out.”
Horror Fuel: “You’re probably right. That’s good though. Not many movies freak me out these days.”
Carlease Burke: “That’s what we want. But we want you to still be around so you can do Horror Fuel (laughter). I don’t want to say it’s not real, because he’s real to me. Watch it, people are going to send you all kinds of Chucky stuff now.”
Horror Fuel: ” Oh lord!”
I had such a fun time talking with Carlease. She’s a sweetheart and has the most infectious laugh. I truly hope that we see much, much more of her in the future. Be sure to see Carlease in action in Child’s Play, opening in theaters on June 21st. To stay up to date on Carlease’s projects follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Check out Carlease Burke’s demo reels featuring clips from of the many series she’s starred in.