The Making of M3GAN: The Creepy Doll’s Behind-the-Scenes Journey

Photo of author

By Black Widow

The creation of the chilling killer doll M3GAN involved meticulous planning and attention to detail. From the initial pitch to the final execution, the team behind the movie, including James Wan and director Gerard Johnstone, worked tirelessly to bring the doll to life.

Combining practical effects, animatronics, and CGI, they aimed to strike the perfect balance between realism and the uncanny valley. Here is an exclusive look at the unseen behind-the-scenes process of crafting M3GAN.

Pitching the Concept of M3GAN:

The Making of M3GAN

Director/producer James Wan approached Jason Blum, CEO of Blumhouse Productions, with the idea for M3GAN. Blum was intrigued by the concept of an “A.I. went wrong” and emphasized the importance of fully understanding the doll’s design and functionality before starting production.

Learning from past experiences, they avoided rushing into pre-production without a clear vision for M3GAN.

Influences and Phobias of M3GAN:

The Making of M3GAN

The team acknowledged the influence of iconic killer dolls like Chucky and tapped into the fear associated with dolls that many people share. The screenwriter, Akela Cooper, drew inspiration from ventriloquist dummies and her childhood exposure to movies like “Child’s Play” and “Magic.”

They aimed to create an iconic monster while playing on the underlying creepiness often associated with dolls.

Exploring the Uncanny Valley with M3GAN:

The Making of M3GAN

To enhance M3GAN’s eerie presence, the team deliberately strived to exploit the concept of the uncanny valley—the unsettling feeling evoked by humanoid objects that appear almost real but not quite. Supervising puppeteer Adrien Morot ensured M3GAN’s design stayed on the fine line between realism and the artificial, making her appearance genuinely unsettling.

Practical Effects:

The Making of M3GAN

The team aimed to minimize the reliance on CGI, opting for a combination of practical effects, animatronics, and puppetry. Director Gerard Johnstone and producer James Wan wanted the physical appearance of M3GAN to be a fusion of CGI and an animatronic puppet, emphasizing the doll’s inherent creepiness.

Attention to Detail:

The Making of M3GAN

Director Gerard Johnstone’s dedication to every aspect of M3GAN’s movements, down to the smallest details, was crucial for achieving a realistic and believable portrayal. His meticulous approach, often drove the team to the edge, resulting in the doll’s human-like yet robotic demeanor, contributing to the movie’s success.

Dual Actors:

The Making of M3GAN

The portrayal of M3GAN involved two actors: Amie Donald and Jenna Davis. Amie performed the body movements while wearing an animatronic mask, utilizing her dance and gymnastic skills to embody the robot-like behavior. Jenna lent her sinister-sweet voice to bring M3GAN to life, adding an extra layer of menace.

Finding the Perfect Fit:

The Making of M3GAN

Director Gerard Johnstone faced the challenge of finding an actor who could embody M3GAN’s size and talent. Luckily, native New Zealander Amie Donald, with her exceptional dance skills and national championship titles, was discovered nearby.

Multiple Puppets:

The Making of M3GAN

Various puppets were used to capture M3GAN’s range of movements. Some puppets had movable heads, eyes, and torsos, while others were fully computerized. The masks worn by Amie allowed for lip movement and eye control, making M3GAN’s expressions more lifelike.

Masterpiece Puppets:

The Making of M3GAN

The puppets used for M3GAN were carefully crafted to achieve realism. The eyelids were designed to move against the eyeballs like those of a human, adding to the doll’s authenticity. To maintain realism, crew members frequently administered fake tears and ensured smooth blinking, despite occasional challenges