If you haven’t seen Brian Tyree Henry in at least one movie in the past year you probably haven’t been anywhere near a cinema. In the last twelve months alone he’s been in Widows, Into The Spider-Verse, White Boy Rick and If Beale Street Could Talk. Not to mention TV shows BoJack Horseman and the second series of Atlanta. He is busy.
Adding to that CV is the new remake of the 1980s cult horror Child’s Play. Tyree Henry plays Detective Mike Norris, who is investigating strange murders around the building he lives in. Bizarrely, they’re being committed by a doll with extremely powerful artificial intelligence that has driven him to try to protect the boy who owns him, by any means necessary.
We chatted to Tyree about horror favourites, creepy toys and when the hell we’re getting Atlanta’s third season.
I understand you were a big horror fan as a kid. Where did the original Child’s Play fit in your horror movie education?
“I remember it came out around Christmas time. There was this toy going around that was very popular, called My Buddy. I wanted one so bad. After Child’s Play came out, I swear to you that everyone in my neighbourhood threw that doll away immediately. They were all in the trash. I think that’s what was so great about what Child’s Play did, what horror does. It has this commentary about what we’re going through as a society, what will happen if you do certain things. ‘Smoke weed and this will happen to you! Have sex before marriage and this will happen to you!’ This I loved because it was a commentary on consumerism. What do we do when all these possessions start to possess us?”
Presumably the doll in the movie was largely CG? Or did you have to hang out with that creepy looking thing?
“I’d say about 95% of the movie was an actual doll. His face would move and his eyes would blink and he was weird. I’m very fortunate that for most of my scenes I did not have to see that doll. I was very thankful for that.”
So the kids had to spend most of their time with this nightmare fuel?
“The kids in this film were born way after the original Child’s Play. They had no concept of how terrifying he was! Kids in this generation are hard to scare. Nothing scares them. The scariest thing I could do is hide their phones from them. I was the scared one. I hated being on set alone with this doll. I swear, it would be looking in one direction one minute and then I’d turn around and then it would be looking another way. No. I don’t want to be alone with this guy anymore.”
You had six movies and three TV shows out last year and you have five scheduled this year. Are you on a mission to eventually be in every single thing released?
“My goal is to never sleep again. There are just so many great stories to tell and I get FOMO! I don’t want to miss out on anything. People ask me and if it’s something I care about, I’ll absolutely do it. Sleep? Eeeeh, I mean, I miss it. Seriously, I’m incredibly honoured and flattered when people say I’m in everything. I’m doing what I love.”
And you can catch up on sleep when you hit retirement age, right?
“Exactly. When it comes, it’s going to be the most amazing thing in the world because I’ll know I worked my ass off to earn it.”
One project that’s on your slate but keeps moving is Atlanta, season three. When are we going to get it?
“Everyone is in the process of trying to get it together. This summer has been incredibly busy for all of us. I know that the writers are getting together. We’ve said we’ll be back and we will real soon. But you know, we’ve got to go and knock other things out. We’ve got to make projects on our own and then come back together. Real soon.”
And you’re going to be in the sequel to A Quiet Place. What’s your role in that?
“I don’t know much at the moment. I know it’s coming together and we’ll start this summer. I’m excited to work with [Emily Blunt and John Krasinski), but as to the story, I don’t really know much. They’re working on that right now.”
As a big horror guy, how much did the first A Quiet Place scare you?
“Oh, I loved it. There’s nothing crazier than having to be quiet in a scary movie. I’m so excited.”