Donald teamed up with movement coaches Jed Brophy and Luke Hawker, along with stunt coordinator Isaac “Ike” Hamon, to create the physicality of the deadly doll. She had previous gymnastics experience, which allowed her to move in ways that the average person just doesn’t normally move. Heck, she was even able to do a “cobra rise,” lifting herself from the ground using only her legs like a cobra rising up to strike its prey. (The moment is in the trailer, and finding out that she did that without wires is truly impressive.)
The young actor was also able to run on all fours, which isn’t the easiest thing to do without a bit of practice, and she added a little extra flair to it that made the scene even freakier. Johnstone recalled:
“All of a sudden we get this video from her mother, where Amie had just figured out how to do this on the carpet at home. And she could run on all fours! Even more than that, she got into it through a little sideways walk which we incorporated into the movie because it was so creepy and unexpected — it was like she was a jungle predator sizing up her prey.”
Creepy kids are one thing, and creepy dolls are another, but a creepy doll played by a creepy kid who also happens to move like a mix of a ballerina and a serpent? That’s pure nightmare fuel. I hope we get more “M3GAN” movies, and I hope that Donald gets to continue to surprise us with her physical acting skills for years to come.
“M3GAN” is now playing in theaters.