LOS ANGELES — Lionsgate and Blumhouse’s new film “Imaginary” hits theaters this weekend.

The new horror film taps into the innocence of imaginary friends, childhood imagination and a stuffed bear named Chauncey, who quickly transitions from innocent playfulness to something dark and sinister.

But why a teddy bear?

“Why not?” said film director Jeff Wadlow. “There’s a long history of horror movies taking childhood icons and ruining them. I am not sure that had been done yet with a teddy bear. It seemed like the perfect opportunity.”

DeWanda Wise as Jessica and Pyper Braun as Alice in "Imaginary." (Image courtesy of Parrish Lewis)

Jason Blum, CEO of Blumhouse Productions, told Spectrum News that, to him, the idea that a teddy bear is so innocent and then does bad things is just more interesting.

“Imaginary” stars DeWanda Wise as Jessica, Pyper Braun as Alice and Teagen Burns as Taylor.

While she might not be old enough to watch a horror film herself, Braun tells Spectrum News there wasn’t much convincing to be made to be able to star in one.

“Being in a horror movie was a dream of mine since I was four years old,” she said.

Braun said she wishes she could go to the movie theater while people are watching “Imaginary” to witness their reactions.

“I want to sit at the end of the movie theater with my back turned to the screen and just watch everyone’s faces. I just want to see their reactions to the movie that we all worked so hard on and put so much effort into it and see how much they like it,” she said.

Wise, who is both a lead actress in the film as well as an executive producer, told Spectrum News it took a lot of imagination to bring not only Chauncey to life but also the other creatures in the film.

“The care and thought and specificity that went into the construction and design of these creatures … it is very extraordinary. When we were constructing Chauncey, this teddy bear has to have a vibe, has to be a little menacing, but it can’t be too scary that a small child would find it and throw it away immediately,” she said.  

DeWanda Wise as Jessica and Director Jeff Wadlow in "Imaginary." (Image courtesy of Parrish Lewis)

Additionally, Wise said — for those watching the film — to pay close attention to Chauncey because, while he is just a teddy bear, he is very much alive and has specific facial expressions throughout the film, depending on what is happening in the moment.

Outside of “Imaginary,” Wise told Spectrum News her favorite scary movie is “The Birds” (she’s a huge Hitchcock fan) and all the Freddy Krueger films.

When asked if she would reprise her role as Jessica, Wise said, “I would.”

So, will we get a sequel?

If all goes well, Blum and Wadlow also said yes to an “Imaginary 2.”

“Imaginary” is now playing in theaters.

Click the arrow above to watch the full interview. 


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