Back when everyone was doing dark and gritty reboots of horror franchises, Lionsgate decided the world needed a dark and gritty Leprechaun. Thus, they made Leprechaun: Origins. Fortunately, for the new sequel Leprechaun Returns, the funny, rhyming, wisecracking Leprechaun (Linden Porco) is back, and he’ll still kill you.
“Oh yeah, that was my first question,” director Steven Kostanski said. “’This is not going to be Leprechaun Origins, right?’ And they were like, ‘Oh no, we want to go back to what people like and remember about the franchise.’ They didn’t want to do another serious version of the character. That was another reason why I jumped on board because what I wanted to make was something that felt more in line with a ‘90s straight-to-video horror comedy and not try and do some gritty reinvention of it. I feel like the world has enough of those right now.”
No stranger to serious horror films, Kostanski directed The Void and he wanted a change of pace. “So jumping into Leprechaun, doing something a little goofier seemed almost like a nice vacation by comparison [to The Void],” Kostanski said.
Porco, who got his start as the body onto which Marlon Wayans’ head was placed in Little Man (after Verne Troyer himself helped him get acting meetings), is not Irish. So speaking in the Leprechaun’s Irish accent was his first task.
“I actually did quite a bit of research on it before I went in for the audition,” Porco said. “I was listening to Irish podcasts, just trying to get a little feel for how I would pursue the character. Once I got it down it was pretty easy. I tapped into it there.”
The Leprechaun seems to be his own biggest fan. He cracks himself up. The laugh, however, was more spontaneous for Porco.
“I kind of just went with the feeling of how I would feel in the moment at that time,” Porco said. “The cackle just kind of came about and I was like ooh, I kind of like that.”
While the tone matches all of the Warwick Davis Leprechaun films, Leprechaun Returns mainly follows the first film. Mark Holton even returns as Ozzie.
“Apparently, it took some real effort to track him down,” Kostanski said. “He’s a real reclusive guy, but man, he was super fun to work with. I first met him when he was flown up to the shop for a head cast because I was helping with the effects as well. I just dived into helping out with that, getting his head cast done and he didn’t even realize I was directing the movie until partway through it. He was really fun to chat with and we got along great on set. He was just a real sweetheart to work with. I feel like this movie will definitely put him in the spotlight again because I think he did a great job and his character goes in some interesting directions I don’t think people are going to expect.”
Leprechaun Returns is on home video and VOD Tuesday, December 11.