M3GAN Writer Explains How The Horror Movie Taps Into One Of Her Own Biggest Fears

The AI Megan from Blumhouse's M3gan looking sinister.
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Of all the upcoming horror movies, M3GAN, an evil doll movie (that producer James Wan has described as “Annabelle meets The Terminator”), is the one that has taken the internet by storm. Since its bonkers trailer dropped, the response to the dancing and slashing doll has been so strong that even before the movie has been officially released, there are already talks of a sequel. Amid all of this, the film’s screenwriter, Akela Cooper, explained that one of her childhood fears informed her take on the evil doll. 

The writer told Empire, during a recent interview, that it was her fear of ventriloquist dummies and seeing the underrated Anthony Hopkins movie Magic at an early age that cemented the fear of dolls at an early age. Here's what the screenwriter, who's star in the genre is rising, said about her approach and influences exactly: 

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.

Who can blame the writer for fearing dummies? Magic’s story of Charles “Corky” Withers (Anthony Hopkins), a struggling magician who starts a ventriloquist routine for one final shot at success (only for Fats (the dummy) to slowly begin to have a mind of his own) is a tale of terror that can still get under your skin nearly fifty years after its release. It seems like M3GAN’s screenwriter is looking to continue the Hopkins-helmed doll thriller’s legacy of scaring children with her own movie monster.  

The upcoming movie release looks like it will be a box office smash, an experience Akela Cooper is no stranger to. Last year, she penned the screenplay for the much-talked-about gonzo horror blockbuster Malignant. Though opinion on the movie was somewhat split among horror fans, the James Wan-directed horror crime thriller was critically well-received and even got a one-word stamp of approval from Stephen King

M3GAN centers on a roboticist (played by Get Out’s Allison Williams) at a toy company that uses artificial intelligence to develop the titular life-like doll. The android is programmed to bond with her niece and protect the girl. Unfortunately, the doll takes things a bit too seriously, becoming overprotective and that results in, you guessed it, a blood bath. 

Only time will tell whether the flick will end up being one of the best horror movies or a bomb. Still, Jason Blum -- whose production company Blumhouse teamed with Wan for the horror flick -- promises a fun time from the motion picture, which he has described as partly a black comedy. And given Akela Cooper’s track record with Malignant, I’m sure there will be as many laughs as there will be screams. 

Will M3gan be accepted by fans, critics, and the likes of Stephen King as a new iconic movie monster when she shimmies into cinemas on January 6, 2023? Only time will tell. Until then, you can get caught up with the screenwriter’s past work by watching Malignant using an HBO Max subscription. And for all your movie-going plans (scary or otherwise), check out CinemaBlend's list of upcoming movie releases. 

Ryan LaBee

Ryan graduated from Missouri State University with a BA in English/Creative Writing.