“M3gan” movie interview with Brian Jordan Alvarez from TikTok

Photo: Leon Bennett/Getty Images

In October 2022, Twitter gets a new CEO, a high-tech sociopath who has disrupted the social media platform forever. This person was M3gan, also known as Model 3 Generative Android, also known as Mother. When Universal released the first trailer for Blumhouse’s horror, sci-fi, satire M3ganhas united Twitter users in their obsession with the adorable little robotic doll with a slashing gaze and ferocious circular kick.

Amidst all the excitement around horror is the new Queen of Horror CountriesAs well, some M3GstANs noticed this perception as well Allison Williams and a killer robot, the film co-starred comedian and actor Brian Jordan Alvarez. Over the past year, Alvarez has done the impossible: He’s made front-camera comedy look fresh again, harnessing the chilling power of TikTok filters to create a cast of deeply knowledgeable characters, including a Los Angeles-based health guru. Marni TEntrepreneurial business EricFamous chef With a fiery passion for onions, and the ever-mysterious Mr. and Mrs. TJ Mack. Alvarez’s brilliantly absurd videos have earned him spots in several places year end Best Lists and FX pilot for his comedy series, English teacher.

in a trailer for m3gan, Alvarez is as refreshing as he – or a technological version of himself – as he is confused and stifled by his own creativity, without filters. His role in the film was larger than that of the promo, playing Allison Williams’ right-hand man, Cole, a fellow robotics engineer. Alvarez spoke to Vulture about how to do that M3gan He conquered the gay internet, why you should be in more movies, and his place in the M3GAverse and beyond.

You’re at the beginning of the movie until you end up as Allison Williams’ right-hand man, and you’re kind of the father of the M3gan. Did you have a sense when you were chosen of how great your role was?
I love it daddy majan! Yes, it was an amazing, wonderful part. Actually, I don’t know if I should say this, but there were two portions on the table at once. But I was very happy with this cool robot role in this sci-fi horror movie. Everyone calls it a horror movie, and it is, but I’m a big fan of science fiction, especially sleek, high-aesthetic science fiction, like Ridley Scott’s. alien And Prometheus. This is a science fiction movie. This is also why horror and laughter have so much. Gerard Johnston, Akela Cooper, Jason Blum, and James Wan initially take their time to build this sci-fi blockbuster you care about. You have to wait a second for the movie to start going crazy.

You said you were on another role. I don’t know what part he was in, but if I were to guess, I’d imagine he was the head of the toy company, played by Ronnie Ching.
Wonderful casting.

My audience broke out in laughter from the moment in that early scene where you and Williams experience the M3gan’s facial reactions as she does that smirk. Everyone was on board at that point.
And this is the hard part. To have an entire theater with 100 or 200 people laughing out loud is quite an achievement. And it’s the most subtle thing that makes that happen.

The M3gan doll was portrayed in full body action shots by 12-year-old dancer Amy Donald. So in the montage where she picks out M3gan’s wig and hits her with a cane…
I can’t legitimately remember if I paid Amy or not. They used as many practical effects as possible and just used CGI to fill in the gaps. So they’d be like, “Okay, you’re going to do it with Amy this time. Now you’re just going to do it in the air. Now to the doll.”

Do you have any other scenes that were cut?
I do not think so. It might just be that I’m visually cut off from a scene where I’m just in the background. But I remember there were a few scenes when I was basically being silly. I put on a crazy pair of glasses and a hat or something. I was rolling in the chair while something else important that wasn’t shown in the movie was going on, maybe for the best.

While you were making this movie, did you feel like it was going to be as big of a deal as it became?
Yes, I did. On the days I was there, I was glued to screens. When they were shooting the doll, it was amazing to watch. Because Amy Donald does all this amazing body work, but up close, this is a real robotic doll. So Gerard was doing this really precise direction, like, “Tilt the doll’s head a little bit. Well, now have her blink twice, and then have her turn her head to the other side. And then just a file.” small Smile.” So, in a way, he was acting through this robot, this puppet. All of this stuff was done at the highest levels and on a shoestring budget.

Much of the film is just a close-up of her blinking and blinking. They are the rules.
It is very rigid, very subtle. A friend of mine said it would be funny if Maajan appeared in other films as an actor. Just taking other roles.

Did you learn anything as an actor from watching Operation Majan?
Yes, be crazy. Be more passionate.

Did you learn the M3gan dance?
I was not. I must learn it! I need him ready.

What was your paste growing up? What was that game for you?
Tamagotchi! We were obsessed. I remember it would distract me from class, I would be, I have to go feed the Tamagotchi! will work starve!

“You don’t understand! I am a single father!”
Looking back, it’s crazy how many pixels it took to make us care. This is really the power of the story. They were like, “These two pixels need to eat,” and we were like, Oh my God I feel it in my soul!

Screenwriter Akeelah Cooper assumed so M3gan It resonates with gay audiences as it is about an unconventional family. Others have assumed that because of the old adage that when a Girl doing some social shit, her gays say, “Honestly, work. Why do you think the movie was such a hit with LGBT audiences in particular?
I think it’s pretty simple: gay people have great taste. And when something is amazing, they’re often on the front lines of it.

I want you to settle something for me. My friends and I think Allison Williams’ personality is cryptic. She’s single and has all these Tinder notices, but they don’t say who. She’s wearing those flannel shirts. She can open a jar.
I was watching last night and thought, Why are you opening that jar? I assumed it was something beyond my understanding. So I have no idea.

Your character is slightly smashed by the end of the movie, but he survives the M3gan attack. Do you think Cole will return for the sequel?
I’d like to come back for the sequel. Let’s celebrate.

I want to talk about the comedy I’ve done on TikTok over the past year, and the way I’ve made more use of filter effects than most other comedians.
It just felt like something I always did. I would make these videos of myself and sometimes send them to my friends. And I think there’s a lot of power in making the decision, that funny thing you send to your boyfriend? Then. Marnie T. was the first to explode, and at first, I made a video of Marnie T. Like, ‘It was a great day,’ and I sent him to a group chat saying, ‘Is that funny?’ And they didn’t reply.So I just thought, Well, you know what, it’s okay. I will just post it. And I posted it. The world will tell you if it’s funny, but if not, you can make something else.

Your characters are so funny in a way that’s confusing to me. Take TJ Mack, a house husband with an alpha wife who loves to shop for bargains and also has a thriving pop career: I don’t even know what kind of guy he’s trying to parody. What’s so funny about TJ Mack to you?
I don’t want to ruin my comedy by analyzing it. I improvise most of the time. But when someone can do an accent — like, I can do a really amazing Australian accent — it has a quality that feels like a magic trick. It’s hard to describe why, but your brain reacts like someone or something. It’s times three, because I’m totally changing up my look. And I convert my voice, usually in one way or another. The other thing is that I love him People. I am committed. I think once I kind of absorb someone’s energy, and process it, even if it’s 20 years later… I mean, I don’t even know who I’m channeling that’s coming out of me. humor in general, Isn’t that something someone like that would say? or, Isn’t it funny that this is something someone like that wouldn’t normally say? You can’t kind of lose.

Is there an accent that you find difficult to make?
Yes, a northern English accent such as Manchester or Leeds. And I think even those are very different. I want to learn it and have never been able to. However, I didn’t put that much emphasis into it. Also, I need to learn Kiwi dialect. I was trying to do this, and I was slipping into an Australian accent the whole time. In New Zealand, where M3gan Filmed, they’d always say to me, “No, it actually doesn’t look like an Australian accent.”

On TikTok, people interact with your work by playing in the comments section like your characters are real people. What are those reactions in the comments for you?
I think that’s the best part, because it’s this positive feedback loop. I realize you pick up on my frustrations. I, like, make a world, and they walk into the world and go, “Hey, I’m a member of this world. And I’ve got some jokes to add as well.” That’s so great. As with Timothy’s videos, everyone is like, “Timothy, get out of there!” “Timothy is not what you think!” Or they say, “Timothy, that sounds so cool!” For readers who don’t know who he is, Timothy is a character I make on my Instagram and TikTok who just moved to LA from somewhere maybe in the Midwest, then met a friend at the Abbey right away, who Timothy calls “Abby’s Bar & Grill” . Hence his friend is, apparently, using him for some kind of organized crime case. Maybe he’s some kind of mule, I don’t know, oblivious Timothy, but fans enjoy guessing about that, or pretending to be oblivious too.

M3gan is a movie about the dangers of artificial intelligence. Much of your character relies on filter effects, which in turn use artificial intelligence to define and manipulate facial features.
I love all the positive aspects of it. I think it’s fun to imagine maybe one day doing a show full of these characters at a time when it’s easy to do full, high-quality CGI characters, and the AI ​​does it for you. So instead of a Marnie filter, it’s a complete 360 ​​Marnie makeover. As far as making things yourself these days, I’ve had this thing where I have access to a really good camera, and then I’ll hardly ever use it, because it makes so much sense to do everything on a phone. And so I look forward to meeting those two, where there’s no longer a difference in quality, really, between what your iPhone can do, including the AI ​​we just mentioned, and the Alexa camera. So you can film something that looks as good as a real TV show on your iPhone. I feel very familiar with the Internet. And as someone who likes to be on the cutting edge of these things, I’m like, Oh my goodness, it’s going to be so exciting when all of this stuff gets a little more advanced with ChatGPT and all that.

If I’ve learned anything from science fiction, it’s that it’s all totally awesome.
What could go wrong?

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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