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'M3GAN' is less fiction and more cautionary tale, director warns in behind-the-scenes featurette

M3GAN heads for the big screen Friday, Jan. 6.

By Josh Weiss
Director Gerard Johnstone on the set of M3GAN.

Skynet is closer than you think. Our technological hubris has placed us on a direct collision course with the titular villain of M3GAN, director Gerard Johnstone warns in a behind-the-scenes look at next month's techno-thriller from Universal Pictures.

"This technology is here," the filmmaker says of rapidly evolving artificial intelligence. "We're not that far from something like M3GAN existing, and that is pretty unsettling."

Written by Akela Cooper (Malignant), the film stars Get Out alum Allison Williams as a roboticist who makes the deadly mistake of bonding her 8-year-old niece, Cady (Violet McGraw), with a killer doll before it's been properly tested. "She's really creepy, but playful at the same time just before she's about to cut someone in half," explains producer James Wan, a veritable expert on homicidal toys after the likes of Dead Silence and Annabelle. "This movie is really fun, but it's still a horror film that's terrifying."

Wan echoed that sentiment during a separate conversation with ScreenRant, revealing that the overall "mission statement" for Cooper was for the script to be "darkly humorous one moment, and then kind of frightening the next moment."

Check out the featurette below:

RELATED: Watch: Don't text or check your phone during the movie, or M3GAN will literally kill you

"We knew going in that we wanted to make a killer doll movie that was different to all the other killer doll movies," Wan continued during the ScreenRant conversation. "Firstly, M3GAN isn't possessed by some supernatural entity nor by some supernatural serial killer. We wanted to lean into something that was more of the real world; something that was more relevant to what's going on today with all this AI technology that is percolating and that is now coming up to the surface every day in our world."

Ronny Chieng (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), Brian Jordan Alvarez (Will & Grace), Jen Van Epps (Cowboy Bebop), Lori Dungey (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, extended edition), and Stephane Garneau-Monten (Straight Forward) co-star.

Jason Blum produced the feature alongside Wan (the pair are on the verge of uniting their production banners). Williams, Mark Katchur (Whiplash), Ryan Turek (Halloween Ends), Michael Clear (Malignant), Judson Scott (The Curse of La Llorona), Adam Hendricks (Black Christmas), and Greg Gilreath (Vengeance) serve as executive producers.

M3GAN heads for the big screen Friday, Jan. 6.

Looking for more killer dolls? The first season of Chucky is now streaming on Peacock.