'M3GAN' Director Gerald Johnstone on Bringing Killer Dolls to Life

Johnstone explains how M3GAN is different from a killer doll like Chucky, and shares what we might see next from the "Otaku" director.

In M3GAN, roboticist Gemma (Allison Williams) unwittingly becomes the caretaker for her 8-year-old niece Cady (Violet McGraw) after her sister and brother-in-law are killed in a car accident. Unable to cope with a grieving child, Gemma turns her attention to something she can cope with: robots. She completed her Model 3 Generative Android - M3GAN - an AI doll that can bond with a child to learn and teach and become a child's best friend. However, Cady became too dependent on M3GAN, and M3GAN sensed this.

M3GAN from the crazy mind of James Wan and the director's eye of Gerard Johnstone. We spoke to Gerard about working with M3GAN to give the film a sense of self without being too pretentious, and how he learned to be a horror director with his first feature film, Otaku .

COLLIDER: Gerard, please tell me about using M3GAN. It's the first time you're working with [an] animatronic puppets, a real creation.

Gerald Johnstone: Yes, yes. Well, being my second film, I have to say it's really a little naive. It's a really interesting concept, I really don't Think about how challenging it is to bring this thing to life that we don't quite have the technology to do yet, but we might be in 5 or 10 years. So, yes, it was difficult, but rewarding and fun, and I think the design of the dolls is a real saving grace. She looks hypnotic and I think that does most of the work for us.

This is a crazy movie. Does that make it a bit... the only word I can use is crazy.

Johnstone: Yes. Well the world already has Ex Machina, that very slick, stylish meditation on artificial intelligence, I love that movie, but that kind of movie exists, I guess it's really...it's more offbeat, I don't I don't want to make something like Chucky or Child's Play because that's already been done as well. It's like we played a really fun version of the dumb jerk and it's just somewhere in the middle of these things and it's really fun and it's self-aware and offbeat and those are the flavors I love most.

Yes, because it's all scary, It's interesting.

Johnstone: Yes, yes. cool, cool. I will thank you. Trying to do both at the same time is a challenge, but very rewarding when you're sitting in a room full of people laughing and screaming and responding audibly. It's just the best feeling. So, while I've never really had a career in mind, I've done two horror films and I love all genres, I would say that the really fun thing about horror comedies is that you're just making the most Good two worlds, get the laughs and the screams.

So you now consider yourself a horror film director?

JOHNSTONE: No, but I'm not snobby about it. very funny. It's an interesting genre. But no, I never really started...my first movie, Housebound, was an interesting idea, it was a horror movie in itself, but it meant I had to actually go to school to learn how to make these Movies because I learned they're really hard to make. You have to have a real knowledge of your craft because for the most part, the camera's Things like that help tell the story and create tension. So it's a real art form, and I wish more people understood that, [and] the process of making a really good horror movie.

So what do you do next?

JOHNSTONE: Oh well, there's talk of a sequel, but we'll have to wait and see. So there will be that, yes, who knows? [There are] some things in the fire, but you have to put some irons in the fire, because what to pick up is never up to you. um, yes. So there are a lot of different things.

M3GAN will be released on January 6, 2023.

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