M3GAN Composer On Scoring Homicidal Dolls & Dark Humor
Warning: SPOILERS for M3GAN.2023’s horror slate started off with a bang thanks to M3GAN, the hilarious, brutal, and thrilling sci-fi film about a murderous nanny doll that brought audiences to theaters in droves. M3GAN‘s success was so immediate that a sequel was greenlit shortly after release, with M3GAN 2.0 already slated for a 2025 release. Directed by Gerard Johnstone, M3GAN features a story by acclaimed horror creator James Wan, and a screenplay by sci-fi and horror expert Akela Cooper.
Another standout aspect of M3GAN was the film’s music, which was in on the stakes and the humor of the film in equal parts. The score for M3GAN was written by Anthony Willis, who blended musical techniques and implemented unique instrumentation to help bring the movie to life. Willis contributed heavily to some of the already meme-worthy M3GAN‘s standout moments, as he arranged the music behind the titular toy’s performances of the Sia and David Guetta song “Titanium” and the original song “Tell Me Your Dreams”.
Anthony Willis spoke with Screen Rant about everyone’s favorite song arrangements, scoring M3GAN, and more.
Screen Rant: M3GAN was one of the first pop culture ‘moments’ of 2023. How has it been for you to see the reception?
When this movie was first pitched to you, how was it described in terms of tone? It goes to so many places.
Did you know from day one that you were going to have to go to all those extremes, musically?
Were you then using certain instrumentation for the ironically sweet cues, and switching to other instruments for the more thrilling or action-heavy sequences?
I want to ask about “Tell Me Your Dreams”. I know both you and Gerard are credited as writers on the song. How did that come about? Did he write the lyrics, and you write the music?
Was arranging “Titanium” a similar process? And was that in the script, or was it something that popped up later?
Did you experience any sort of challenge in going to all of these different musical places as you were writing?
When Gemma (Allison Williams) suddenly becomes the caretaker of her orphaned 8-year-old niece, Cady (Violet McGraw), Gemma’s unsure and unprepared to be a parent. Under intense pressure at work, Gemma decides to pair her M3GAN prototype with Cady in an attempt to resolve both problems – a decision that will have unimaginable consequences.
Check out our other M3GAN interviews here:
Next: M3GAN Continues A Promising Horror Trend
M3GAN is available to rent and purchase online, and M3GAN (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is available on digital platforms.