Leprechaun Returns serves as a direct sequel to the original 1993 film, yet Warwick Davis, who played the titular villain throughout most of the franchise, opted not to return to the series. Director Steven Kostanski tapped Channel Zero star Linden Porco, who he claimed scored the role due to his blend of charm and terror.
"We went through a pretty standard audition process, and we auditioned a lot of people. And watching Linden's tape, I just found there was something so charming about him," Kostanski shared with ComicBook.com. "He had an energy that I really liked. And I mean the Leprechaun is the title character of the movie. He has to be the one. He has to be the driving force, and if his energy isn't engaging and compelling the whole time, then the movie doesn't work. And I just found in his audition, he could go from being kind of playful to scary. He had a lot of range, and was just really dynamic and fun to watch. So it was right away, just based off of his tape, I was like, 'Oh, I really like this guy.'"
Davis played the character in six films, with his last entry in the series being 2003's Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood. In 2014, WWE superstar Hornswoggle took over the role for Leprechaun: Origins, yet that film focused on a more monstrous villain who didn't have any dialogue. For Leprechaun Returns, the series went back to its roots to deliver a creepily charismatic villain.
"We did a Skype audition with him, and after that, I was sold. He embodies all the stuff that I feel Warwick crafted with the Leprechaun, while still putting his own little spin on it," the director detailed. "I think he did a fantastic job. And, as a horror fan, I understand the idea that people are disappointed that Warwick wasn't able to do the movie, but I mean, I respect his decision not to. And it was a thing that was decided before I even came on board, so I just viewed it from a filmmaker perspective. I just saw it as a challenge of like, 'How can I make this work and still be respectful, while still being able to put my own spin on it, as well?' It seemed like a good way to try something new, like being forced into a position to try new things, while still being respectful to what came before."
Earlier this year, Davis claimed that his decision to leave the horror genre behind was inspired by becoming a father, though he might return to the genre when his kids become older.
Leprechaun Returns it out now on VOD and Digital HD.
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