James Wan Talks 'M3GAN,' 'The Conjuring 4,' 'Malicious,' and Blumhouse

Horror writer/director/producer/superstar lets us know about upcoming projects.

James Wan is part of a new generation of horror superstars. Writer, director, producer, who's worked on some of the biggest franchises of the last 20 years: Saw. insidious. Spiritualism. Wan's latest film, M3GAN, is produced by him, though he does have a "story writer" credit. One of the most anticipated films of the year, the film stars Allison Williams as Gemma, a roboticist whose life is changed when her sister and brother-in-law are killed in a car accident, leaving her to care for her little one. Niece, Cady (played by Violet McGraw).

Gemma couldn't handle grieving children, so created M3GAN (Amie Donald) for Cady. The doll synchronizes with Cardi, learns high-tech artificial intelligence capabilities from Cardi, and becomes Cardi's best friend. Unfortunately, the AI ​​becomes out of control (as the AI ​​wouldn't do in this situation) and will do anything to keep Cady safe - even if it means killing people for her. kill her. (and twerk, for some reason...)

We talked to James Wan about how they decided to make M3GAN, cast Allison Williams, and how they found the perfect cardy against the perfect killer toy doll. We also asked a lot of questions about Wan's upcoming projects, his collaboration with Blumhouse, the possibility of a Malignant sequel, and when we might see M3GAN fighting Annabelle! You can learn all this and more in the video above, or you can read the full transcript below.

COLLIDER: So James, between M3GAN and Malignant, are you just doing crazy horror right now?

JAMES WAN: I'm more inclined to think that I'm making horror films that aren't afraid to push boundaries, but still function in that commercial genre space. But really, it's just that I grew up loving all kinds of horror movies, and I've spent my time in the haunted house genre. I spent my time in a spooky space. So, as a filmmaker, I'm always trying to expand and broaden my horizons. I think that's the great thing about the horror genre, it really frees you up to experiment and do things. The most important thing for me is to try to be original. Even though my inspiration comes from things I love, I want to find a Fun new ways to do them.

OK. But I still want to say "crazy horror".

WAN: I try to stay away from that word. I've [heard] it many times.

So I just talked to (director) Gerard [Johnstone] and he said you're already talking about the M3GAN sequel.

WAN: Gerard, what does he know? I don't like talking about sequels so early on. The movie hasn't been released yet. Just because I am superstitious.

I would say that in any of my films, whether it's The Conjuring Universe, Saw, Malignant, or M3GAN, we like to imagine a bigger world. For me, it's about creating the world, knowing who the characters are, what the story might be going on, and then building this larger world, and then going into that world, and going, "Okay, I'm telling this particular story, But I know what else is going on." So if we're lucky enough to get a sequel, then we'll know where we want to go.

Any thoughts on M3GAN and Annabelle?

WAN: [laughs] Two separate studios.

Oh, okay. then you never know. Now, can you tell me a little bit about your partnership with Blumhouse? Jason Blum Is there any IP you're really interested in?

WAN: Well, it's obviously early days and there's not much I can really say at the moment, but to answer the question, of course yes. Yes. Obviously, not just at Blumhouse, [but] at Universal as well. That's the extent of what I'm going to say.

Ah, this makes me sad. What about The Conjuring 4? can you talk

WAN: Yes, we are working on it now. For The Conjuring movies, we hold [them] very dear. So we kind of wanted to take a moment to make sure we got it right and make sure that the emotion of the Warren story that we wanted to tell, go into and potentially end, we just wanted to make sure it was the right thing, the right story that we were telling.

Does "The End" mean this will be the last The Conjuring movie?

WAN: We'll never know. you will never know. Excellent Look.

OK. Any news on Malignant 2?

WAN: No, no news. [laughs]

Where did the idea for M3GAN come from?

WAN: Well, first off, the idea for M3GAN arose when we used to have offices before the pandemic.

Oh yes, there was a time ago.

WAN: There was a time when we both had offices and we hung out together. It was awesome - I really miss it - because one of the things we love to do at Atomic Monsters, just on the weekends, hang out, get together, chill out on Fridays, drink something, eat something, We love doing shows about movies. This is where the concept of M3GAN really comes from. Somehow theme fell on the evil doll subgenre, the evil puppet subgenre, I mentioned it was funny because I've been known as a creepy puppet person, a killer doll person, but I never actually do Killer puppet movie. So we said, "Let's do it. Let's do a real killer doll movie." That's how it happened.

and I would say that I think (writer) Akela [Cooper] wrote a script that was scary on the one hand, but also comedic and funny on the other. Between herself and Gerard, they really injected a lot of personality into M3GAN, and she was really impressive with her thick skin.

Yeah, it was so funny, there were parts where I wasn't sure if I should laugh, but I laughed so hard I thought, "It has to be."

WAN: I mean, you've seen Gerald's first movie?

No, I don't.

WAN: Yes, it's the same tone. There are just some creepy moments that are funny at the same time. So it's kind of the way Gerrard works. He doesn't necessarily seem like a downright funny guy when you meet him, but he has that mentality. And he's able to make M3GAN walk the line between not being too funny, but still being serious The situation is scary, but don't be afraid to dive into something darkly humorous either.

Yes, like twerking. what is that?

WAN: Yeah, that's great, it's just Gerard saying, "M3GAN is learning to be more human", and you really only see his rudeness in the end.

This is crazy. Can you talk about the decision to make her part puppet, part CGI, part human, or everything?

WAN: Well, I will say, thanks again Gerard, he really kind of wanted M3GAN to feel as real as possible. That's where I worked with Gerald, "We wanted her to be as real as possible, but at the same time we still needed to remember that she was a doll. So we didn't want to go too far in that direction."

Dolls, Generally, what makes a killer doll type, or creepy doll type, creepy is that it's clearly an inanimate object. It's a plaything, it's a doll. But in fact this plaything can have a life of its own What makes it scary. I would say that the idea of ​​the uncanny valley is actually really helpful for a movie like M3GAN. Somewhere between real and unreal, it actually creeps her out.

Yes, this is crazy. Can you talk about the casting of Allison Williams?

WAN: Yeah, I mean, I love Allison, we all do. Allison previously worked at Blumhouse. So, from the very beginning we had her in mind just because we thought she would be perfect to play a very career-oriented, very smart person who needs to do what she needs to do to create, and to be this programmer she is . But at the same time, she also has this soft side, and we thought it might be a nice counterpoint to see her pull that soft side out of herself to be Katie's parental guide. I think Allison is perfect.

How did you find Katie? I mean, acting skills seem to be hard to find for young kids. ^WAN: Yes, I mean, Violet [McGraw] is unbelievable in that regard. We do our research. I'm glad we found her because most of the film revolves around her affection for the doll. So if she didn't actually work, then the movie wouldn't work either.

M3GAN will be released in theaters on January 6, 2023.

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