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If you’ve watched the new movie about the killer doll who murders anyone and anything in her owner’s path, you may be wondering: Who plays M3GAN and who voices her? The doll is played by not one but two actors.
M3GAN, which premiered on January 6, 2023, follows Gemma, a roboticist at a toy company who uses artificial intelligence to develop M3GAN (an acronym for Model 3 Generative Android), a lifelike robot doll programed to be a child’s best friend, who Gemma gives to her niece, Cady, after she gains custody of her following the unexpected death of Cady’s parents. Gemma soon finds out, however, that M3GAN is more self-aware than she thinks, as her bond with Cady leads her to kill anyone that gets in the way of protecting her owner.
“The film is about an AI doll who has been built to serve as a kind of best companion for a parent and for a kid simultaneously,” Allison Williams, who plays Gemma, told Entertainment Weekly in January 2023. “[M3GAN is] deployed by its creator, who I play, to help her in the task of being the unexpected guardian of her niece, with mixed results.”
So…who plays M3GAN and who voices the doll? Read on for what we know about the actors who play M3GAN and the inspiration for the doll bound to haunt the nightmares of audiences for weeks to come.
Who plays M3GAN?
Who plays M3GAN? M3GAN is played by two actors: Amie Donald and Jenna Davis. Donald performed the movements for M3GAN’s body while Davis voiced the character.
In an interview with Collider in January 2023, producer James Wan explained why he and director Gerard Johnstone wanted M3GAN’s physical appearance to be both CGI and an animatronic puppet. “To Gerard’s credit, he really kind of wants M3GAN to feel as real as possible. And that was where I worked with Gerard to kind of go, ‘We want her to feel as real as possible, but also at the same time we still need to remember that she’s a doll.’ And so we don’t want to go too far [in] that direction, as well,” he said. “The doll aspect, generally, is what makes the killer doll genre, or the creepy doll genre, creepy, because it’s clearly an inanimate object. It’s a plaything, it’s a doll. But the fact that this plaything could have a life of its own is what makes it scary. I would say, for the first time, that the idea of that uncanny valley actually really helps a movie like M3GAN. It actually makes her feel creepy to be sort of in between real and not quite real.”
Johnstone also told Screenrant at the time about the inspiration for M3GAN’s viral dance. “What was really funny is these movies are made on a very tight schedule. We had about five dance sequences, and they were all great. This was really just the first one we could really do, and it’s just been amazing to see how that was enough,” he said. “Thank God I didn’t change it. Thank God I didn’t do something else, because it just felt like it was the perfect level of something that someone could do themselves at home, apart from the flip.”He continued, “But there’s a point to the dance. It was always important that it wasn’t a dance for dance’s sake. She’s doing it [to] distract the guy while she picks up the guillotine.”
Executive producer Allison Williams, who also plays Gemma in M3GAN, told Entertainment Weekly in December 2022 that the creators didn’t expect M3GAN’s dance to become such an internet sensation. “We had internally come up with memes to distribute, but we didn’t end up needing to deploy them, because people started making their own,” she said. “You can’t even dream that big when you’re doing something like this. That was just such an exciting day. It was proof of concept.”
Johnstone added, “The whole point of the Brandon scene was to [show] you can give M3GAN all these things you don’t want to do, but you can also give her things you can’t do, like clip a kid behind the ear if he’s being mean to your kid. So we take that to the nth degree with M3GAN.” He continued, “It was one of those crazy, sleep-deprived, 3 a.m. thoughts. Wouldn’t it kind of be funny if the soundtrack suddenly became real and M3GAN ended up busting a move to whatever music was playing. It was just something that everyone embraced and loved.”
Wan also told Entertainment Weekly that the idea for M3GAN came from a casual conversation between him and other employees at his production company Atomic Monster Productions. “One of the things we like to do at Atomic Monster is, at the end of the week, sit around and chat about films,” he said. “At one of these sessions, we came up with the idea of doing a killer-doll movie.”
In an interview with Empire, screenwriter Akela Cooper also revealed that the idea for M3GAN was inspired by ventriloquist dummies, as well as the character Chucky in 1988’s Child’s Play. “My thing was ventriloquist dummies. I saw the Anthony Hopkins movie Magic at a really young age and that cemented the creepiness in my brain. I was a big Child’s Play fan, too. It was always my dream to create an iconic monster of my own,” she said.
Who voices M3GAN?
Who voices M3GAN? M3GAN is voiced by actor Jenna Davis. Along with M3GAN, Davis has also starred as Meg in Hulu’s Maggie and Sienna in Disney Channel’s Raven’s Home, as well as voiced characters in shows like Disney Channel’s Vampirina and Netflix’s Treehouse Detectives, according to her IMDb.
Davis also has a YouTube channel under the handle @ItsJennaDavis with more than two million subscribers. In October 2022, Davis posted a video of her reacting to the M3GAN trailer. The video has since had more than 760,000 views. “M3GAN is just extremely overprotective. Just warning, she’ll do anything to protect Cady,” Davis told Fab TV at the M3GAN premiere in December 2022. When asked what she would do if she had her own M3GAN doll, Davis responded, “I would probably have her help me, like clean my room, help me with my homework. The practical things we all have struggles with.”
Who plays M3GAN’s body?
Who plays M3GAN’s body? M3GAN’s body is played by actor Amie Donald. Jed Brophy and Luke Hawker coached Donald on M3GAN’s movements. Along with M3GAN, Donald has also starred in Netflix’s Sweet Tooth, as well as performed stunts for the movie The Tank, according to her IMDb. Donald is also a professional dancer and represented her home country of New Zealand at the Dance World Cup in Braga, Portgual, in 2019 when she was 9 years old. She received a silver medal in the Jazz category and a bronze medal in the Contemporary dance category, becoming the first performer from New Zealand to win a medal ever at the competition.
“Dancing very much helps because you need balance as a robot. Robots, you don’t see them wobbling around or doing human stuff, so control and waiting around are two things that are very important that come from dance that I can use in acting,” Donald told The Movie Times in December 2022. In the same interview, Donald also explained how M3GAN’s viral dance came to be. “The preparation we have to do for this is my dance teacher, Kylie Norris, choreographed a little dance, and then we had Luke and Jed, they also helped with all of the movements, making sure it was right. We also had this piece of music that we did it to, and it was absolutely so fun to do.”
She also revealed her favorite part of playing M3GAN. “M3GAN, she is a robot/doll, and she’s actually just made to protect Cady. And then she starts getting a little too overprotective of Cady and everything that’s around her, so if she thinks that anything has happened with Cady and someone is being mean to her and made her cry or made her upset, she thinks that the best way is to just wipe them out,” Donald said. She continued, “I love that M3GAN is such a fun character to play and she’s really loves Cady and she loves to do stuff with her. I don’t like that she kills people but it’s fun to act when she kills people.”
After the red carpet premiere for M3GAN in December 2022, Donald posted a series of Instagram photos of her and the cast with the caption, “Had the most fantastic time last night at M3GAN premiere. So many wonderful people made this happen 🥰 @blumhouse @atomicmonster @universalpictures #losangeles #amiedonald #meetm3gan.”
M3GAN is in theaters now. Here’s where to buy tickets.
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