M3GAN's Allison Williams On Why She Keeps Coming Back To Horror After Get Out [Exclusive Interview]

If Allison Williams is starring in a horror movie, it's a guarantee that we're in for one hell of a ride. After her breakthrough performance on the hit HBO series "Girls," Williams cemented herself in horror history by starring opposite Daniel Kaluuya in "Get Out," Jordan Peele's masterwork debut feature that completely changed the game for studio horror films. Her follow-up feature performance was in the twisty Netflix exploitation thriller, "The Perfection," a criminally underseen gem that needs to be at the top of your watch list.

Now, Williams is returning for her third venture into the genre with the newest Blumhouse flick boasting a horror dream team of creatives, "M3GAN." Williams stars as Gemma, a brilliant roboticist who invents a lifelike robotic companion meant to act as a child's best friend and a parent's "greatest ally." There's only one massive problem: M3GAN is protective, defensive, and learning. I recently sat down with Allison Williams to learn a bit more about why she keeps coming back to horror, and figure out if she's just as creeped out about AI as I am.

Note: This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

On horror and playing 'cool' women

Between "Get Out," my personal favorite "The Perfection," and now "M3GAN," what is drawing you back to horror over and over again?

I think I must be dark in some way that I don't understand [laughs]. I think the true answer is that all of those movies have a couple of things in common. They all engage with a subject matter that is real and serious, and something that people talk about with a lot of weight that kind of lifts it into a genre that can have a little bit more fun with it. Which sounds messed up when you're talking about things like sexual assault, and race, and loss, and trauma. But this genre has a way of taking those subjects and kind of messing with the way we usually talk about them and loosening up the area with which we can engage with it.

Oh, totally.

Which I love, because I think that sometimes, as Jordan [Peele] used to say a lot when we were promoting "Get Out," the way we talk about race is broken and we needed new language for things to be able to make the conversation more meaningful, deeper, revive it for this new generation that doesn't know how to talk about it. So that's one thing.

The other thing is that the women in these movies, these women that I've played, are just cool. And I read these scripts and I engage with the characters that I'm being asked to read for. And so often they don't have time in the thematic world of the movie or in the story to become meaty and three-dimensional and someone I feel existed before the movie and continues to exist after, let alone someone I feel like I know. So that combination, plus the fact that filmmakers really get to just make what they imagine in this world, they get to let their genre freak flags fly, and these movies live lives that are very specific and very much lived in the spirit of the filmmaker. I just find that experience to be thrilling. So I think that's a very long-winded answer.

The memeable M3GAN

Oh, but it's a perfect answer. When the first trailer for "M3GAN" dropped, the internet exploded, and I'm just curious what your response was to seeing people just immediately gravitate toward it.

We were all just cheering because it's a very specific movie tonally. She's a very specific kind of gal. And our challenge marketing and promoting the movie is just making sure that people get her and they go into the theater understanding who she is, and people just got it. They were doing the dance and watching that happen with such a thrill, but also just seeing her face in memes where it was just someone serving attitude and being sort of doubtful. And I just loved it. It made us so happy because we just thought, "They're already having fun with her." People are dressing up like her for Halloween and the movie hasn't even come out yet. It's just such a delight. What more could you ask for? It's the best.

On the horrors of AI

Has working on this movie made you more hesitant about the future AI overlords taking us all over?

Yes, but it has in a very interesting way. I feel like we have a lot of responsibility for the AI that we bring into the world, that people in AI understand, for the most part, but consumers of it don't really think about a lot. So there is of course this element that something's being taken from us if something's listening and learning, et cetera. And there's also the question of, if we are building these things, they're our responsibility. That's Gemma's whole arc. She basically has two children, one of which she comes into the custody of and the other one that she builds from scratch. And the question is what does she owe to each? And I think that is part of it that I didn't think about a lot before, but I think about a ton now. When you build something that can think for itself, you're its parent. You have to take care of it and make sure it learns ethics, for example, which M3GAN could have used. I'll just put it that way. But yeah, I definitely look at smart devices with a little bit more skepticism now.

"M3GAN" arrives in theaters on January 6, 2023.