See the Real Child Actor Behind the Terrifying "M3GAN" Doll
12-year-old New Zealander dancer Amie Donald brings the murderous robot to life.
In October, a trailer for the horror movie M3GAN went viral thanks to a dance routine performed by the titular creepy robotic doll. Now, the film is in theaters and proving to be a hit, breaking $30 million in its first weekend of release. It's about a young girl, Cady (Violet McGraw), who receives the interactive new toy—actually a prototype—from her aunt (Allison Williams) after a family tragedy, but violence ensues when M3GAN becomes too protective of the child. Of course, the murderous toy you see in the film isn't actually all mechanical; M3GAN (which stands for Model 3 Generative Android) is physically played by child actor Amie Donald, who stunned the film's director with her talent. Read on to find out more about Donald, the 12-year-old star responsible for M3GAN's moves, and to learn about the sweet relationship she formed with her co-star.
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Donald is an award-winning dancer.
According to The Daily Beast, Donald was cast as M3GAN when production moved to New Zealand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The performer lives in New Zealand and is a dance champion. She has just one other acting credit to her name: an episode of the TV series Sweet Tooth.
In an interview posted by Valeur Magazine, Donald shared, "I represented New Zealand at the Dance World Cup in Portugal in 2019, and I was the first New Zealander to ever bring back medals and I got bronze and silver." The publication notes that she won bronze in contemporary dance and silver in jazz.
Donald's dance background was hugely important.
Not only could Donald perform the now-infamous dance sequence in the film, she could also convincingly play a robot and run on all fours through the woods, as M3GAN does in one scene.
"This girl is a machine … You can give her anything, and she can do it," director Gerard Johnstone told The Daily Beast about their young star.
"Dancing does very much help, because you need balance as a robot, because robots, you don't usually see them wobbling around and doing human stuff," Donald said in the interview shared by Valeur. "So control, waiting around is two things that are very important that comes from dance that I can use in acting."
She did all of her own stunts.
Donald said of working on the horror movie, "I love that M3GAN's such a fun character to play, and she's really loves Cady and she loves to do stuff with her." But, she added with a laugh, "I don't like that she kills people, but it's fun to act like when she kills people."
In the caption of an Instagram photo of her hanging upside down in a harness, the young actor explained, "Fun fact: I did all my own stunt work in M3gan with the help of @ike.hamon Stunt Coordinator and his awesome team Loved playing her!"
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She had to wear a mask.
Donald appears in shots that show the doll's entire body. The closeups of the character's face were filmed using a robotic face that was controlled by puppeteers. According to The Daily Beast, Donald sometimes wore a M3GAN mask that was later combined with CGI, such as in the dance scene.
Meanwhile, the character is voiced by another actor, 18-year-old Jenna Davis, who previously appeared in episodes of Raven's Home and Scarlett's Lab and voiced characters in other series, including Treehouse Detectives.
Donald and her co-star became close friends.
In M3GAN, the robot doll is "paired with" Cady, played by American actor McGraw (The Haunting of Hill House). In a post on her Instagram account (which is run by her parent), she shared several shots of her and Donald hanging out together on set and wrote about the friendship they developed.
"Who knew that going all the way to New Zealand to film a movie would bring me a best friend for life?!? I love you so much @amiedonald_nz and am so grateful we met and became real life besties," the post reads. "I love you so much and hope to see you again very soon!! Thank goodness for FaceTime!"
In response, Donald wrote, "Love you for life too @violetmcgraw and how lucky we were to spend this time together. And yes thank goodness for FaceTime! Love You."