“The Lego Movie combines all your favorite pop-culture characters: Batman, Superman, The Green Lantern, (most likely) Hobbits and Harry Potter, all for one giant commercial for Lego!” Good thing for us, that’s not the animated picture directors Chris Miller, Chris McKay, and Phil Lord are making. A movie that literally has “Lego” in the title could easily be interpreted as just that, but at the film’s Comic-Con press conference, the three filmmakers stressed the actual movie is far from an ad. This was a project treated with a good deal of skepticism when it was announced, but after the trailer, it’s shown skeptics they’re not going to see the movie they were dreading.
We learned plenty more about the film while in attendance at Comic-Con, so if you’re curious in how the film is more than a payed advertisement, read what the the three men had to say about Michael Bay, Morgan Freeman voicing a crazy wizard, and more.
1. “We started with this idea that legos are the machine for creativity, so let’s make the movie about: can a regular construction worker learn those skills? The word ‘creativity’ isn’t in the movie at all, but the movie is all about ‘creativity’. The movie is about our character finding a way to make things.” – Phil Lord
2. “These guys originally talked about this movie being as if Michael Bay had kidnapped Henry Selick, and forced him to make The Lego Movie in Michael Bay’s brain. That’s what this is. It is those two guys coming together.” – Chris McKay
3. “We had all these crazy ideas for casting. Like, we wanted to see Morgan Freeman as a crazy wizard. We never thought he’d do it, but he did it! We had no other casting ideas for that part, so we didn’t know what we’d do. We also saw Liam Neeson on Life’s Too Short, and thought, ‘God, we gotta put this guy in the movie.’” – Phil Lord
4. “Actually, we did Liam Neeson and Will Farrell’s [voice work] together over the phone. It was kind of awkward at first, but then it became great. It was our goal to get them together. The sad reality of casting movie stars in your movie is that they’re always busy. ‘Oh, you’re doing The Hunger Games and you got Anchorman!’ We try to work around their schedules.” – Chris Miller
5. “The style [of the film] was inspired by a lot of brick films people make online. There’s some great, funny Lego movies online. The limitations of the characters are funny. There’s also some photographers who use Lego people and try to make them look really, really epic with the lighting. We like trying to blend that brick style with something very cinematic.” – Chris Miller
6. “You’d be surprised by how many people were resistant to that [stylistic] idea, thinking the charm wouldn’t come through. All kinds of people were hesitant. We discovered we could get a lot of expressiveness and emotion from that look, which was our dream.” – Chris McKay
7. “It’s all an advertisement! [Laughs] We really, really didn’t want to make a commercial for toys. Luckily the people at Lego were very trusting in us, almost foolishly so. They were really there to help us make our ideas a reality. We’re going for a 100% creative movie, so there’s none of that. I think the partners of Lego realized the whole movie was made out of Legos, so that was good enough.” – Phil Lord
8.“We just said in Hall H there’s a lot of DC superheroes in this movie. Superman is being played by Channing Tatum, Green Lantern is being played by Jonah Hill, and Wonder Woman is being played by Cobie Smulders. There’s a lot of other characters we don’t want to spoil who are from other movies and Lego sets, and we see them all interact in the way as if a kid was playing with those Legos.” – Phil Lord
9. “We wanted to make this feel like a big adult movie, not soft bullshit. Just because they’re little toys you don’t want to tell a big story.” – Chris McKay
10. “The way I approached it was to look at it as if you were given the task of trying to figure out how to make Wall-e emote. You would basically sit down with the animators and go through a process of, ‘Alright, let’s try to do something. Let’s show how sympathetic we can make these characters and how understandable.’” – Chris McKay
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