Phil Lord and Chris Miller Confirm They’re Directing 22 JUMP STREET, Talk about Cracking the Story, Explain the Sequel’s Title, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 26 days ago

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Hands-down of the most entertaining movies of the last few years is directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s comedy 21 Jump Street.  The film perfectly showcased the goofy sensibilities of Lord and Miller while also showcasing the fantastic chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.  As such, it came as welcome news that Sony was moving forward with a sequel to Jump Street with Hill and Tatum reprising their roles.  We learned a few months ago that the story will be taking place in college and that Ice Cube is returning, but at that point Lord and Miller were only attached to direct and hadn’t yet officially signed on.

Steve recently caught up with Lord and Miller at Comic-Con in anticipation of the release of The LEGO Movie, and the duo confirmed that they only just officially signed on to direct 22 Jump Street a month ago because they were having trouble cracking the story.  The two discussed how they stumbled upon an interesting way to approach 22 Jump Street by continuing the “marriage” of the lead characters, their research into comedy sequels as prep for the follow-up, an “expanded role” for Ice Cube this time around, and revealed the very funny reasoning behind the film’s title.  Hit the jump for much, much more.

phil-lord-chris-miller-22-jump-streetWhile Lord and Miller’s initial plan was to move from The LEGO Movie to 22 Jump Street in February while the former film was going through the lengthy animation process, the duo told Steve that the initial plan didn’t exactly stick as they’ve been working full time on LEGO.  That being said, production on 22 Jump Street is still scheduled to begin at the end of September in New Orleans.

While filming will get underway in a couple of months, Miller revealed that he and Lord only just signed on to direct last month because they had difficulty cracking a story for the sequel that they thought was worthwhile:

“People don’t wanna see the same movie that they saw the first time, they don’t wanna see something super different from the first movie, and navigating what that is has been challenging.  We didn’t really sign on to this movie until about a month ago because we didn’t feel like we were sure that it would be a good movie, and then finally we got to a point in the script where we were like, ‘Okay, I believe this will be a good movie.’”

22-jump-street-jonah-hill-channing-tatumThe “hook” that they zeroed in on was focusing on the relationship between Hill and Tatum’s characters, per Lord:

“What made the movie take off is when we started to really think about, ‘Oh what’s it like [to be in a partnership?]’ especially because we have a lot to say about what it’s like to be in a partnership, and Chris is married and I have a longtime girlfriend so we have two partnerships.  So really making that thing work seemed like a deeper way to go in that it would create a lot of story possibilities and a lot of comedy.”

Lord went on to say that whereas 21 Jump Street was essentially the meet-cute of the relationship between Hill and Tatum, the sequel will center on them maintaining that relationship:

“It’s more about their marriage, basically.  If the first movie is about two people getting together for the first time, this is about what happens if you try to really make the relationship work.  We’ll probably never do another bromance after this one, but we’re trying to get as emotionally deep into that as possible.”

In keeping with the relationship focus, Lord went on to say that Hill “basically plays a teenage girl for most of the film.”  The duo also added that Ice Cube will have an expanded role, and revealed the fantastic reasoning behind the sequel’s title:

“It’s called 22 Jump Street because they move across the street.”

Watch Steve’s interview with Lord and Miller below, followed by a full transcript of the conversation.  Look for the full interview on Collider soon.  22 Jump Street opens in theaters on June 13, 2014.

21-jump-street-posterSteve: From what I understand, you guys were working on LEGO through like February.

PHIL LORD: That was the plan. 

CHRIS MILLER: But we’ve been full-time on it. 

LORD: We got so into it that we just kind of stuck around.

The plan was to start shooting Jump Street in September.  Is that still the plan?

MILLER: Yeah, end of September. 

LORD: That’s still happening, we’re literally going on a scout Wednesday down in New Orleans.

What can you tell people about the sequel?

MILLER: I can tell you it’s called 22 Jump Street because they move across the street. 

LORD: To an even cooler office.  It’s a lot about how they have more money this time, and so they can have everything be cooler (laughs). 

MILLER: And they do go to college, but that’s about all we can say at this point about it. 

LORD: It’s more about their marriage, basically.  If the first movie is about two people getting together for the first time, this is about what happens if you try to really make the relationship work.  We’ll probably never do another bromance after this one, but we’re trying to get as emotionally deep into that as possible.”

I definitely heard Ice Cube will be back.

LORD: Ice Cube is coming back in an expanded role.

He was awesome

LORD: He’s awesome, yeah.  We found new and wonderful ways for Jonah Hill to drive him insane.

One of the things about the first film, is that a lot of people expected it to be one thing, and it turned out to be something different that everybody loved.

22-jump-street-channing-tatum-jonah-hillMILLER: Now the expectations are higher.  And trust me, we know this as we’ve been going through working on the script, is that sequels are really hard especially for a comedy, and especially for a comedy where we were trying to subvert some paradigms. 

LORD: If you subvert the subverted paradigm, then you’re just back in the paradigm (laughs).  So that’s the whole crazy loop that we’ve been in. 

MILLER: People don’t wanna see the same movie that they saw the first time, they don’t wanna see something super different from the first movie, and navigating what that is has been challenging.  We didn’t really sign on to this movie until about a month ago because we didn’t feel like we were sure that it would be a good movie, and then finally we got to a point in the script where we were like, “Okay, I believe this will be a good movie.”

Did you watch a lot of sequels?

LORD: We watched some, it could be depressing…

MILLER: Comedy sequels are tough.  There are some animated ones, like the Toy Story sequels obviously are awesome.  There are some sequels that are good, but it’s really, really hard to make a good comedy sequel.  All the natural jokes of that concept have been told in the first one. 

ice-cube-jonah-hill-channing-tatum-22-jump-streetLORD: And so then you try to shake it up, and a lot of times you shake that up too much. 

MILLER: But what’s great about this one is that that relationship between those guys is a giving tree. 

LORD: What made the movie take off is when we started to really think about, ‘Oh what’s it like [to be in a partnership?]’ especially because we have a lot to say about what it’s like to be in a partnership, and Chris is married and I have a longtime girlfriend so we have two partnerships.  So really making that thing work seemed like a deeper way to go in that it would create a lot of story possibilities and a lot of comedy. 

MILLER: You’re like, ‘I do wanna spend a lot more time with these guys.’ 

LORD: Basically Jonah plays a teenage girl for most of the film.




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