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Talking 'The LEGO Movie' with Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller

Photo of Bill Desowitz By Bill Desowitz | Thompson on Hollywood February 7, 2014 at 4:15PM

There's more than meets the eye in "The LEGO Movie." It's not only smart and witty but it also explores the essence of LEGO and Master Building and, finally, storytelling in a Pirandello-like way. I spoke with directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (at LEGOLAND, of course) about making a subversive movie at Warner Bros. that pokes fun of studios, franchises and safe storytelling.
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'The LEGO Movie'
'The LEGO Movie'

There's more than meets the eye in "The LEGO Movie." It's not only smart and witty but it also explores the essence of LEGO and Master Building and, finally, storytelling in a Pirandello-like way. I spoke with directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (at LEGOLAND, of course) about making a subversive movie at Warner Bros. that pokes fun of studios, franchises and safe storytelling.

Bill Desowitz: You've managed to make a subversive studio movie with an anti-commercial message. And as long as it's a big hit, it's win-win.

Phil Lord: Yeah, everybody wins.

And it reminded me of a bigger "Clone High."

Chris Miller: Yeah, for sure. It's like bringing in a lot of weird characters that don't belong.

PL: If you think about it, we haven't evolved at all as filmmakers -- we're just doing the same bit.

But this is a lot more complicated with so much detail.

PL: Yes, we were mixing the movie and we would go...

CM: I didn't remember seeing this in the background and I must've approved it 10 times.

PL: Wasn't it like a pig falls off of the train and then lands on the ground and then explodes into a bunch of sausages.

How many gags are there?

CM: I don't know how many gags per minute there are.

PL: You encourage people to add stuff from their own lives and you just get this big grab bag and everybody's in the pool. And then it really messes you up at the mix because you have to decide what's important.

CM: As long as your eye isn't so distracted, you don't know where to look. But you're definitely rewarded on multiple viewings.

Read the rest of this interview over at Animation Scoop.

This article is related to: Interviews, Interviews , The Lego Movie


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.