- Warning: There are minor spoilers ahead for Universal and Blumhouse’s thriller, “M3gan,” out now.
- Allison Williams spoke to Insider about landing the lead role via email and potential sequels.
- She also opened up about how becoming a mom changed everything, including her appearance in “M3gan.”
Allison Williams is ready to be more involved and hands-on with the projects she is associated with going forward, starting with “M3gan”.
“I don’t think I can go back to not producing,” Williams told Insider over Zoom in December while discussing her latest role in Universal and Blumhouse’s highly anticipated “M3gan.”
“I’m sure people will try, but I’ll fight them for it because it’s so nice to be as invested as you want to be in a project like this,” Williams added. “I love being involved in every draft and so many, many, many months after that — years, sometimes, in this case — every cut of the film and everything in between.”
The satirical thriller from director Gerard Johnstone and written by Akela Cooper and producer James Wan (“Malignant”) marks Williams’ first executive producing credit as she reunites with Blumhouse for the first time since the success of 2017’s Oscar winner, “Get Out.”
In “M3gan,” Williams plays Gemma, a brilliant but workaholic engineer who builds a revolutionary doll that could change the toy industry — a lifelike android named M3gan, capable of walking, talking and learning.
Gemma’s life is turned upside down when her sister dies and she takes in her depressed and lonely niece, Cady (Violet McGraw). Not equipped with the parenting skills to raise a child, Gemma transfers some of the parenting responsibilities to her prototype doll, ordering M3gan to protect Cady from physical and emotional harm, no matter the cost.
Naturally, just about everything goes wrong when the robot takes the order to heart and becomes a killing machine.
Williams spoke with Insider about her return to the Blumhouse family, sequel possibilities, viral M3gan memes and how motherhood made her performance more nuanced.
I’m curious how this film was presented to you and what was your reaction when you first read the script?
The only message that was necessary to be completely honest was Jason Blum emailing me and saying, “I think we have the next thing we want to do with you.” I was basically ready to say yes to whatever it was, and then it just got sweeter and sweeter from there.
Then I heard he was teaming up with James Wan for it, and I was like, “Oh my God. We’re now in combined royal territory of this marriage of these horror corners of the world.”
Then I read Akela’s script and found it riveting. I couldn’t put it down. It made me sweaty and nervous. I couldn’t tell who I was rooting for, which is always a good sign in my book.
And then I talked to Gerard and he has this really specific Kiwi sensibility that I thought would just have a blast with the material. I thought he was going to do a good job of moving in and out of these different tones.
Lastly, but very importantly, I thought Gemma was amazing. I loved the idea of playing someone who’s obsessed with what she’s doing – super brilliant, brilliant – who’s never really thought much about life, a family she wants to build, having kids or anything like that. She is just like real in her job.
She loves her job so much that she has built a workshop in her house. It’s her favorite thing to do, and then boom, suddenly her personal life collides into her work life. I liked the idea that her instinct is to use her work life, which she fully understands, to try to help with her problem in her personal life, to mixed results.
Absolutely. I was waiting to see if you would say anything. This movie strikes me as this generation’s Chucky.
Oh my God. Well, that would be great. I mean, Chucky is a name that I think most people recognize all over the world, so it would be a big deal.
Was Megan presented to you as a one-off or as something that had franchise potential?
Those of us who helped make it are not stupid. The idea of planting a bit of a seed that we might want to continue with is always a good idea. I think we’d all be happy to do another one if there’s an appetite for it, for sure.
Have you had any discussions for a potential sequel or franchise yet?
Maybe we have. Maybe we don’t have it. Maybe we were just dreaming, you know, we’ll see.
Knocks on wood.
Williams was impressed when the M3gan went viral online after its trailer debut
Many people online latched onto M3gan immediately after the first trailer was released in October. A Paste headline read, “Blumhouse’s M3gan is already a queer social media icon.”
And then a comment on the first trailer reads: “She’s an icon. She’s a legend, and she’s the moment.” What was your reaction to how people immediately received the M3gan?
We are absolutely thrilled.
When we make a movie, we do our best to make it as good as possible, but there’s no guarantee that everything will be right. There’s no guarantee that it’s going to be the way you all wanted it to be.
When it started to take shape in a way that we were all super proud of, the challenge is, let’s introduce her to the world. How do we do it in a way that they get her? She is such a specific energy and tone. The trailer’s job was not only to place what is the story of the film – what happens – but also who this lady is. Who is M3gan?
Much to our delight, they got it the very second the trailer hit the internet. The memes, the copies of the dance. People understood her in this way, which I absolutely loved, and we just thought, “OK. Job done. They get her, she belongs to them now.” This is incredible.
They take good care of her. They deploy her in the funniest ways to make fun of people. They’ve just gotten this fierce best friend vibe from her and it’s been such a joy. I mean, what more could you want?
Working on “M3gan” while pregnant informed Williams appearance as a caregiver to 2 children in the film
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that you are a new mother. So, congratulations!
Did you work on this film while you were pregnant?
From the moment I read the script until now? Yes. So what’s really interesting is – I don’t mean I was pregnant for three years. [Laughs.] But it’s crazy that I wasn’t a mom when I first read it. It wasn’t part of my life. Now I’m a complete mom. I have a baby.
For someone who plays Gemma, much of her character revolves around the issue of motherhood. In a very interesting way, she kind of has two kids: One of them she made from scratch and she feels very responsible for, but she’s kind of neglectful because of this other child that she didn’t raise from the beginning, but she inherits and she is also a little neglectful because both are kind of fighting for her attention and focus.
Having a shift in perspective on this subject while working on the film made the job of performing her very different and nuanced.
It was already difficult. This is something Gerard and I talked about. I love children. I always have. I always loved the idea of being around them. They are so much fun for me. Holding back from hugging Violet and wanting to cuddle with her and have fun with her and be really warm and nice and engaged was really hard. That was the hardest part of playing Gemma.
Some of those scenes, like when she kind of manipulates her into going to the presentation even though she’s had an injury, that was one of the hardest scenes I had to shoot because it felt wrong. I felt terrible inside.
But Gemma has a different incentive structure than I do. And so it’s just one of those moments that you have to navigate.
Has your view of Hollywood or acting at all changed since becoming a mother?
What if I was like, “Nothing has changed since all this?” [Laughs.]
No, everything changes.
Your view of literally – your view of a trash can changes and you think, “I wonder how many diapers are in this trash can.” It literally changes everything about your entire life. You look at your bed differently. It becomes this stranger that you used to know so well, and you’re just never there anymore.
There’s a seismic shift in everything, as it should be, and it’s not all perfect, but it all feels profound in a very good way. And I’m happy.
‘M3gan’ is Williams’ first producer credit, and she plans for it to be the first of many
When we meet your character Gemma in the film, she is working on her dream project, M3gan, while she is working on something she is not as passionate about. You are an executive producer on this film. I believe this is your first producer credit, right?
You are right.
Do you hope to be behind the camera more in the future? Is it something you work on in your spare time while working in other roles? What is the dream project of Allison Williams? What is your M3gan, so to speak?
Honestly, I feel like I’ve had several. I feel so lucky. I also feel very lucky that there is no part of my job that feels like drudgery. There is no part of it that feels like homework.
Right now I’m filming a limited series for Showtime that’s in a completely different universe than M3gan. It’s been so much fun switching back and forth between the two worlds. I feel like I’ve had so much fun going from one genre to the next, from one medium to another. I think I feel like I’ve had more M3gans and what more could you ask for from a career?
“M3gan” is in cinemas now. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.