In a recent interview, M3GAN (read our review HERE) director Gerard Johnstone discussed the reshoots that were done to earn the film a PG-13 rating, saying he felt that the PG-13 scenes were actually more effectively troubling than the R-rated moments they replaced. But in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, screenwriter Akela Cooper (who previous wrote the slasher Malignant for producer James Wan) indicated that she preferred the bloodier, deadlier version of the story – and she’s hoping to see an unrated cut of M3GAN on home video.
When asked how gory her M3GAN script was, Cooper replied, “No shade to Universal, love them, and I understand that once the trailer went viral, teenagers got involved and you want them to be able to see it. There should be an unrated version at some point. … I heard it is on the books. But yes, it was way gorier. Her body count in the script was higher than in the movie. It wasn’t a Gabriel [in Malignant]-scale massacre, but she did kill a bunch more people, including a couple of characters whom James was like, ‘I like what you did with those people, but I want them to live.’ I was merciless, but again, that is me. My humor is extremely dark.“
Since Malignant and M3GAN are both considered to be rather bonkers films, the Los Angeles Times also asked Cooper, “As the writer behind two of the wildest studio horror films in years, does it feel like there’s now more freedom to take big swings at this level?” She replied, “It is exciting because for so long everyone was doing ‘elevated horror.’ Even going out and pitching, I would have people say, ‘We like it, but it’s too gory. It’s not elevated.’ An exec who read one of my specs and really liked it said, ‘It’s gory and no one’s doing gore right now. We have to wait for a horror movie that has gore to come out and be a hit, and then the market will shift.’ I was sitting there, like, ‘OK … we could lead that charge.’ Now I’m [hearing], ‘There’s gore, and it’s not a problem.’ I’m happy that I could have a hand in bringing back fun horror that doesn’t take itself so seriously. I’m reading about more horror movies that are wild, out-there ideas coming out or being bought. And some of them are original, which is good! I’m happy that I could steer that ship so that studio execs can be like, ‘Oh! There might actually be money in them thar hills.’“
Cooper wrote M3GAN from a story crafted by producer James Wan. The film has the following synopsis:
She’s more than just a toy. She’s part of the family.
From the most prolific minds in horror — James Wan, the filmmaker behind the Saw, Insidious and The Conjuring franchises, and Blumhouse, the producer of the Halloween films, The Black Phone and The Invisible Man — comes a fresh new face in terror.
M3GAN is a marvel of artificial intelligence, a life-like doll programmed to be a child’s greatest companion and a parent’s greatest ally. Designed by brilliant toy-company roboticist Gemma, M3GAN can listen and watch and learn as she becomes friend and teacher, playmate and protector, for the child she is bonded to. When Gemma suddenly becomes the caretaker of her orphaned 8-year-old niece, Cady, Gemma’s unsure and unprepared to be a parent. Under intense pressure at work, Gemma decides to pair her M3GAN prototype with Cady in an attempt to resolve both problems — a decision that will have unimaginable consequences.
Allison Williams (Get Out), Violet McGraw (The Haunting of Hill House), Ronny Chieng (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), Brian Jordan Alvarez (Will & Grace), Jen Van Epps (Cowboy Bebop), Lori Dungey (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), and Stephane Garneau-Monten (Straight Forward) star.
A collaboration between Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, and Atomic Monster, in association with Divide/Conquer, M3GAN was produced by James Wan and Jason Blum. Williams serves as executive producer alongside Mark Katchur, Ryan Turek, Michael Clear, Judson Scott, Adam Hendricks, and Greg Gilreath.
Next up for Cooper is another Wan film: she has written the screenplay for The Nun 2, which Wan is producing and Michael Chaves (The Curse of La Llorona, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It) is directing.
Are you hoping to see an unrated cut of M3GAN? Share your thoughts on this one by leaving a comment below.