M3GAN's Hilarious Needle Drop Wasn't In The Original Script

It may be only January, but a sci-fi-horror about a killer doll features an early frontrunner for the year's greatest needle drop. Gerard Johnstone's "M3GAN" comes from a script by "Saw" and "Insidious" franchise creator James Wan and "Malignant" screenwriter Akela Cooper, with Wan and Jason Blum producing, and the result is a box-office smash complete with a meme-worthy star, a teen-focused PG-13 rating, and the lore-building makings of a franchise.

It's all the product of spirited choices from the "Housebound" director, tasked with finding the medium between the terrifyingly self-aware robo-toy and the absurdity that innately arises from a killer doll picture – a matter of instinct, Johnstone explains. The story concerns a life-sized A.I. doll with the title's name, directed to care for the physical and emotional well-being of the cherubic, traumatized Cady (Violet McGraw, one half of the siblings currently storming the genre). Filled with advanced tech, M3GAN learns and adapts to her ward's sensitivities. It leads to a high body count, a sassy dance sequence, and — in a moment that got a massive reaction from this writer's screening crowd — a highly unorthodox lullaby of David Guetta and Sia's song "Titanium."

Speaking with Variety, Johnstone confirms that while the jarring moment wasn't scripted, M3GAN was, creatively, "the gift that kept on giving." He explains:

"It was just all these opportunities that we thought, 'Well, she can do this, maybe she can do this.' It was a scene where she was trying to reassure Cady. And I was thinking, 'Well, what's the best way to reassure her? A lullaby.' I don't know how that song...maybe it was playing, or maybe it just made sense, because M3gan was made of titanium. I just remember thinking, 'This would be really funny.'"

I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose...

Johnstone goes on to say that the scene is a treat to watch "because people just don't know we're gonna go there." Indeed, the doll sings a sweet song to Cady upon their first meeting, succeeding in giving the girl a sense of comfort and support as the pretty prototype is coded to do. That tone oscillates throughout the 102-minute runtime with a purpose: Between its over-the-top death sequences and spunky camp, "M3GAN" contains a sober interrogation of our collective relationship with technology, how people communicate, and the suppression of natural emotion that runs alongside scientific advancement.

Johnstone, for his part, credits Cooper and Wan for erecting a sly, fun story five years in the making, allowing him to buttress it with off-the-dome flourishes like the "Titanium" lullaby. He continues to Variety:

"We're already impressed with what she can do. When she starts singing, it just takes it to another level. I have to give credit to Akela [Cooper] and James [Wan]. It's very difficult to start with a blank page. It's easy for me as a director to come in on the top and say, "Hey, you know, it'd be funny if you did this." All the hard work is kind of done at that point. This is kind of like the fun icing on the top. "

It's not the only icing Johnstone laid; the dance scene that arguably established M3GAN as a viral juggernaut was not in the original script, either, but that didn't stop the millions of views (and shares) of the bizarre boogie-down before the movie's release. "Here's the thing," James Wan told SyFy Wire, "You can't really force something to go viral. When something latches on to the zeitgeist, it just does."