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'M3GAN' writer teases 'way gorier' unrated version amid box office success

A more brutal version of M3GAN could be on the way soon.

By Matthew Jackson

M3GAN has now officially transformed from viral sensation to box office hit, thanks to a wave of positive buzz and good reviews leading into its opening weekend. Now, with a box office haul that placed it second only to the behemoth that is Avatar: The Way of Water, the killer doll romp can look ahead to a potential sequel, as well as a more brutal version of the movie audiences have already fallen in love with. 

Speaking to The Los Angeles Times about her dancing, killing creation, M3GAN screenwriter Akela Cooper teased that an unrated cut of the film is likely on the way, perfect for M3GAN fans who want to see their new favorite horror icon get just a little bit freakier. 

"No shade to Universal, love them, and I understand that once the trailer went viral, teenagers got involved and you want them to be able to see it," Cooper said. "There should be an unrated version at some point. ... I heard it is on the books. But yes, it was way gorier."

The desire to recut and reshoot M3GAN to make it a horror film with a wider audience has been well-known for a while now, and director Gerard Johnstone has even said that restructuring the film around a PG-13 rating actually made the horror moments more "effective," so it's not surprising that Cooper is aware of the desire for those "way gorier" moments in the near future. It's also not surprising to hear that Cooper, who also wrote Malignant for director/producer James Wan, made things even more brutal in the film's script, to the point that even Wan (who co-produced and co-wrote M3GAN) was asking her to back off on M3GAN's kill count.

"Her body count in the script was higher than in the movie," Cooper said. "It wasn’t a Gabriel [in Malignant]-scale massacre, but she did kill a bunch more people, including a couple of characters whom James was like, 'I like what you did with those people, but I want them to live.' I was merciless, but again, that is me. My humor is extremely dark."

Speaking of Malignant, that film's reception, when combined with M3GAN's, has set up Cooper as one of the most exciting voices in horror cinema at the moment, and helped to signal a tonal shift into more fun, self-aware horror films. Cooper is happy to be part of that wave, even if she does wish it had kicked off a little bit sooner.

"It is exciting because for so long everyone was doing 'elevated horror,'" Cooper said. "Even going out and pitching, I would have people say, 'We like it, but it’s too gory. It’s not elevated.' An exec who read one of my specs and really liked it said, 'It’s gory and no one’s doing gore right now. We have to wait for a horror movie that has gore to come out and be a hit, and then the market will shift.' I was sitting there, like, 'OK ... we could lead that charge.' Now I’m [hearing], 'There’s gore, and it’s not a problem.' I’m happy that I could have a hand in bringing back fun horror that doesn’t take itself so seriously."

M3GAN is now in theaters.

If M3GAN is up your alley, you'll want to check out Season 2 of SYFY's Chucky for more killer doll action. And horror films like Day of the Dead and They/Them are currently streaming on Peacock.