Allison Williams Interview: M3GAN
M3GAN star Allison Williams shares her experience working on the latest Blumhouse film, naming the baby-faced killer robot in a supporting role.
Universal Pictures and Blumhouse once again combine spooks and cheers in the upcoming horror film M3GAN. Born from a story by horror icon James Wan and a script by Akela Cooper (with whom he co-produced Maleficent), M3GAN is directed by up-and-comer Gerard Johnstone. After wrapping up its Halloween trilogy and making waves in 2022 with Black Phone, Blumhouse is hoping to hit the ground running in the new year with a fun and spooky tale of a robot doll whose love can kill.
Allison Williams leads M3GAN, returning to big-screen horror after her critically acclaimed 2017 Get Out. She plays Gemma, a toy company employee and robotics engineer who must take charge of her niece Cady (Violet McGraw, The Haunting of Hill House) after the untimely death of her parents. Thinking she's on the cutting edge of childcare technology, she invents an artificially intelligent toy called M3gan to keep Cardi safe from harm. Unfortunately, M3gan's definition of damage may not match Gemma's.
Screen Rant spoke with Williams about her role as M3GAN producer, the difference between her children and puppet actors, and whether she prefers Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter.
Allison Willams Talks M3GAN
Screen Rant: I loved you in M3GAN, I know this time you are its EP. What does this mean to you? Did you have any long important conversations with the director?
Allison Williams: Of course, I like to have those anyway. And I always find a way to just make everything my business on all of these movies, but this time I got to do it officially. I got to know everything that was going on from start to finish, as much as I could. I didn't quite get to the place where I was going on location scouts; I would love to go on a location or a tech scout. They are dreaded parts of our job, but I find them deeply scintillating. Being on the distribution lists for clearance, like what props and T-shirt logos we have clearance for? I didn't even think about that stuff before. I love knowing all the minutiae, and it helps me feel just even more invested in the success of something like this.
Does this mean you will be directing in the near future?
Allison Williams: Directing is a very different skill set. I have never thought of myself in that way. I don't look at my job from that lens, literally, of directing and bringing something to life. I love the combination of acting and producing, so I think that's where I'm going to try to stick around. Although maybe the very bossy, deeply older sibling part of myself is just gonna be like, "I need to be in charge of the whole thing. Just doing it all." Maybe that'll happen.
Speaking of sibling dynamics, I know you have a great relationship with Cady. But I hear you and Violet joking back and forth too. What was that like?
Allison Williams: She is so funny and so intense. She's very smart; she's super sweet; she's very cool. She loves Lord of the Rings, and a huge tactical mistake I made [was] she asked me... I'm back to make this mistake publicly, and I apologize to all of you. I am a dutiful millennial, and she asked me if I love Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. It's just deep within me. It's part of who I am. I was built partially by the stones of Hogwarts, which is very dramatic. The bricks of Hogwarts built my soul. And so, she asked me very casually, "Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter?" And even though we were in New Zealand—it was so stupid—I just said Harry Potter. I just watched me stop to matter to her in that one moment, and I spent the rest of our time working together just trying to get some respect back. You can ask her. I don't know if I was successful or not. But it was the biggest tactical mistake I could possibly have made.
Finally, M3GAN himself. There's a lot going on there, and you're doing the opposite. How do you handle all this?
Allison Williams: Thank you for asking vaguely; I really don't want to ruin the magic for people of what M3GAN is. But it was a challenge, I will put it that way. Of all the costars I've ever had, all of whom have been lovely, she was by far the most temperamental and challenging. But I will say that kind of effort literally took every department working together. And that's the stuff that just brings a crew together and makes an experience really special from a meta standpoint. From an acting standpoint, if you're looking for an uncanny experience, it's very easy to perform against. It just rolls off the tongue.
M3GAN is a marvel of artificial intelligence, a lifelike doll programmed to be a child's best companion and a parent's best ally. Designed by brilliant roboticist Gemma, M3GAN can hear, see and learn, acting as friend and teacher, playmate and protector. When Gemma unexpectedly became the caretaker of her 8-year-old niece, she decided to give the girl a prototype M3GAN, a decision that had unimaginable consequences.
Check back later for our other interviews with M3GAN:
Next: "Get Out" has had a great sequel - just not from Jordan Peele