M3GAN star Allison Williams describes a much scarier alternate version of the titular doll that didn’t make it into the movie. An internet sensation before it was even released, M3GAN has dominated the box office in its opening weekend due in large part to the hype built up on social media prior to the film’s debut. Blending the robot-gone-wrong and creepy doll horror tropes, M3GAN features Williams as Gemma, a scientist that allows her newly orphaned niece to bond with the prototype of an AI companion android called M3GAN, whose eventual self-awareness leads to violence and bloodshed.
During an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Williams discusses her reaction to first seeing M3GAN, stating that she was immediately scared of the petite, eerie doll. In addition, the actor reveals that there were multiple versions of M3GAN created for the film, with one, in particular, standing out as the most terrifying to witness because it was animatronic. Williams says that the animatronic M3GAN required lubricant on the eyes to keep the eyelids from getting stuck in a half-blink, which only added to the doll’s unsettling nature. See what Williams had to say about the character’s animatronic version below:
“One of the versions of her was animatronic, and because she blinks, her eyes get stuck sometimes, so they have to like, put…there’s someone putting a lubricant on her eyeball, and I’m like, ‘I know she’s not real. I know she’s not real, but she is talking and blinking and her face is moving, and you’re putting something on her eyeball and it just looks weird.’”
How An Animatronic M3GAN Would’ve Been Different
This new detail indicates the M3GAN creators wanted more practical effects to create the doll, especially considering the long-established history of animatronic technology in classic horror films. Animatronic puppets are not always used for monsters or frightening creatures, as E.T. serves as a famous example of an animatronic with an extremely expressive face and friendly mannerisms. Since M3GAN is designed to be a friend and eventually becomes a foe, she seems like the perfect candidate, in theory, to utilize such technology, which the filmmakers did, in certain shots.
However, M3GAN’s purpose is to offer human-like companionship and provide comfort to her charges, and an animatronic version would have made her feel more like a robot than a human, making it harder for her to deliver on her key function. In addition, a major reason that M3GAN gained so much hype before its release was a dance sequence in the trailer, in which M3GAN performs bizarre and fluid choreography before hoisting a murder weapon and chasing her prey. M3GAN’s animatronic version would have made the iconic scene very different due to the naturally stiffer movements inherent to working with an animatronic doll.
Why A Non-Animatronic M3GAN Was Better & More Terrifying
While M3GAN was still operated by a team of puppeteers and an animatronic version was used for close-up shots, the doll came to life with a painstaking process that involved CGI. A real-life stand-in, Aimee Donald, was also needed for the dance sequence and other moments that required more of a range of motion. This choice offered many more opportunities for M3GAN to manifest her scarier side since she has both the capability to stand eerily still and to run on all fours at full speed. Prioritizing an extremely modern feel, M3GAN benefited from the combination of several effects to produce the killer doll – which made her feel entirely new – created for the next generation to enjoy.