Rising star Violet McGraw talks to Close-Up Culture about her leading role in the acclaimed Blumhouse Productions film, M3GAN.
After a deadly car accident, toy-company roboticist Gemma (played by Allison Williams) is made the guardian of her newly-orphaned niece Cady (Violet McGraw). Daunted by the prospect of parenthood, Gemma enlists the help of a recent invention to help Cady through her grief – a robot best-friend named M3GAN, who may not be as friendly as she seems.
Hi Violet, welcome to Close-Up Culture. M3GAN is one of the most highly anticipated films of 2023. How exciting was it to star in a Blumhouse Productions film?
Hi. Thank you so much for talking with me. It was beyond exciting to get to be a part of a Blumhouse film. I got the news on my 9th birthday over a zoom meeting with my team. Then the pandemic went into full force and the movie got pushed. We didn’t end up filming until the following year, so I became even more grateful that the movie was going forward and that they didn’t decide to recast. In the meantime, my sister booked the Blumhouse movie, The Black Phone, so the fact that we were both going to get to be in a Blumhouse movie was the coolest.
Can you tell us about Cady and your experience playing her?
Cady is an 8-year-old girl who loses her parents in a car crash. She then goes to live with her Aunt Gemma. Gemma is an amazing toy creator and doesn’t quite know how to deal with Cady. Gemma is super busy at work because of a deadline and Cady is very lonely and sad. That’s when Gemma realizes that because she is so wrapped up in her job, she can’t really take care of Cady and give her what she needs right now, so she decides to move forward with her latest creation, M3GAN. Once Cady is paired with M3GAN, she thinks of M3GAN as more than just a toy and starts to get really attached to her. M3GAN takes her job of protecting Cady from harm very seriously and as you can imagine, “things” start to happen to people who “hurt” Cady.
My experience playing Cady was awesome. I got to explore so many different emotions, like sadness, anger, depression, and happiness. Gerard Johnstone, my director, was just so cool. I loved working with him every day. It also was amazing being in New Zealand. It’s so beautiful there!
Allison Williams plays Gemma, your character’s aunt. What was your experience like collaborating with her?
Allison is seriously one of the funniest people I have worked with. She’s really smart and was always so loving on set. She would always check in with me and ask me how I was feeling. I felt very lucky to work with her.
Your other co-star is a robot, played by Jenna Davis. How did you find the challenge of acting alongside a robot?
Well, working alongside a robot became easier as the days went by because I started to become close to M3GAN myself. I would have conversations with her and just talk to her. There are a few scenes in the movie where I am just telling her things and actually wishing she was real.
While in New Zealand when Amie Donald, who did the physical work for M3GAN, was actually inside the M3GAN body, it would make it even easier to work off her because we became so close. Jenna did the voice work after we wrapped, so I hadn’t really heard the voice of M3GAN until I was given the trailer. It was awesome.
You’ve already worked with some of the most talented directors and actors in the industry, including Madeline Brewer and Brian Cox. Who is someone you’d love to work with in the future?
I really have been so super lucky. I would love to work with Carla Gugino again. I played her daughter in The Haunting of Hill House and Jett and I seriously miss her all the time. I would also love to work with Scott Derrickson because my sister said he’s so super amazing to work with. I also think it would be pretty amazing to work with my sister Maddy on a big project.
You’ve now become a star of the horror genre, having won acclaim for roles in Haunting of Hill House and Doctor Sleep. What type of roles and projects would you love to take on?
I would love to do a murder mystery. Something like Knives Out. My sister Maddy loves murder mysteries and it has made me appreciate them too.
What do you enjoy doing away from acting?
I love soccer. I have played for several years and have been on a club team for 3 years now. It is truly my other passion. I think if I couldn’t play soccer, I would maybe try dance or gymnastics. But, soccer makes me super happy.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
I hope I get to continue acting. Maybe even direct someday. I would also like to own a few doggie daycares. I think dogs are so amazing!
Photo Credit: Katie McGee