It’s only been days since M3GAN hit theaters, but the new film is already shaping up to be a horror classic. Killer dolls tend to do well among fans of the genre, but it’s been a while since a murderous doll has slayed the audience this hard — M3GAN has already made over $10 million more than predicted in the box office. A doll this uncanny seems like it would be created digitally, but fans might be surprised to discover that due to budget concerns, the titular doll was created using minimal CGI.
In a new interview with IndieWire, director Gerard Johnstone revealed M3GAN is a combination of practical effects, a human, and a little bit of CGI. Johnstone said the team behind M3GAN had to get creative when making the doll since the film’s $12 million budget meant they couldn’t afford real AI. “We didn’t have the budget for a Boston Dynamics robot, but we didn’t want to rely on strings or puppeteers in blue suits or anything like that,” the filmaker told the publication, “So that left us with the impossible task of finding a girl who was roughly the same age as Violet [McGraw, who plays M3GAN’s owner] and could do all this physical stuff and act with Allison Williams.”