M3GAN Real Or Animated? All The Deets About The Internet’s Popular Doll

January is usually a slow time at the box office, but luckily, we have M3GAN to keep us all entertained. The movie about a homicidal robotic doll, while not becoming an absolute blockbuster has been a decent money maker and M3GAN has received somewhat surprisingly positive reviews from critics as well as fans. More importantly perhaps, the internet loves her, but just what is M3GAN?

Part of the intrigue surrounding M3GAN as a character is that it’s less than clear just how the movie made her work. It’s not that M3GAN does anything particularly unique or surprising, but it’s able to blur the lines enough that we can’t always tell if we’re dealing with something real or CGI. As it turns out, M3GAN is a little bit of everything. 

M3GAN The Doll 

Appearing on Late Night with Seth Myers, M3GAN star Allison Williams talked about the process of creating M3GAN for the screen and exactly what it was that she was acting against when sharing scenes with the killer doll. There were multiple ways this was done depending on what the scene needed. Williams said that the scariest version of M3GAN was actually the one that moved the least. She explained…

We achieved her in a couple of different ways. One was just like, a static posable doll that didn’t do anything, but was terrifying. I think the scariest of all. I think so, because also she was most likely to be sort of left in a corner somewhere. And so then you’re like running to the bathroom, and then you run past and she’s just there. So she was the scariest.

M3GAN The Animatronic 

Of course, M3GAN still needs to move to be truly scary. One of the ways this was handled was through the use of an animated figure or animatronic. Animatronic technology has come a long way and according to Williams, this was a complicated process that didn’t always work out, but it was likely also the most impressive. Williams continued…  

Then there was an animatronic that required, I think, six people to operate. There was a puppeteer, a grip usually moving her around, two people on what looked like video game controllers, I think they weren’t, who were like making her face move and making her blink, and stuff like that. And then a guy at a switchboard who was controlling her audio and the actual mechanisms that made her work. That was the most complicated, she was very temperamental.

M3GAN The Actress 

Finally, there were the times when M3GAN needed to move more or move faster than an animatronic would allow. This was when a real person, wearing a mask, would be called in. The moments that have gone viral from M3GAN, like the famous dancing scene, were pulled off this way. Although, Williams says this was also a bit scary… 

And then there was Amie. Amie was 12 when we made the movie and she performed M3GAN. When she danced, for example, that was Amie. She runs through the forrest at one point in a very specific way and that was also Amie. That was also terrifying though because, Amie is like, if you could put sunshine in a person, that is Amie. She is so joyful and sweet. But the mask is terrifying, so when you look at her, I had to tell myself, ‘she’s smiling under the mask, she’s smiling under the mask…’

By all accounts these three methods of creating M3GAN have come together to make a memorable film. With success like this one has to wonder if we could see a M3GAN sequel. By then they may find even more ways to bring the character to life. 

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