Gerard Johnstone Details The Inspiration Behind The Original Song In M3GAN

This piece contains slight spoilers for "M3GAN."

Sure, we have already sung the praises of how "M3GAN" expertly uses "Titanium" as a bizarre needle-drop, but why let that song have all the fun? There were, of course, a few other key moments where M3GAN (Amie Donald, Jenna Davis) shows off her singing chops in bizarre attempts to make Cady (Violet McGraw) feel better. In fact, the first instance of her singing comes during a pivotal scene where the soon-to-be killer doll sings a prototypically inspirational song filled with buzzwords to Funki board members.

As expected, this was not just a funny coincidence. In an interview with Variety, "M3GAN" director Gerard Johnstone revealed that the purpose of the song, officially titled "Tell Me Your Dreams," was meant to poke fun at slap-dashed children's entertainment seemingly made by algorithms. He walked the trade through its inception, detailing how he approached composer Anthony Willis with a bold combination of ideas.

"The idea was in the brief I gave [him], 'She's gotta make some algorithm based upon Burt Bacharach, Randy Newman, Stevie Wonder, and Kermit the Frog's 'Rainbow Connection,'" Johnstone recalled, "'It's got to be all of those imbued into one.'"

A friend is never very far

And imbued into one, they were. When M3GAN begins singing "Tell Me Your Dreams," you might find that there's something wrong with it. Its introductory lyrics, "If you should feel alone/or that your world has come apart," sounds fine until you realize that its specific wording really makes no sense. This pseudo-inspirational, yet clunky lyricism continues for the rest of the song: "Tell me your dreams/I will dream them too," is another example of a lyric that isn't quite right when you think about it.

According to Johnstone, this is the exact energy that "Tell Me Your Dreams" is supposed to give off. He and Willis purposefully made the song a little whacked-out in order to give off the illusion that it really was written by a less-than-polished algorithm:

"That's what these algorithms are: if you make these AI-generated songs, they're so simple. And they almost don't make any sense. But they sound like something that you've heard before. That was the whole idea."

That understanding of the faultiness of AI-generated content is precisely why "M3GAN" ends up working the way it does. While the idea of a dancing killer doll is a bit goofy, the way the film hones in on how the acceptance of AI to do both important and unimportant tasks grounds it in an effective way. These potentially dangerous AI systems are all around us. It's just up to us to ensure they don't become the norm.

"M3GAN" is now in theaters.