The LEGO Movie is one of my favorite films of the year, and I’m glad it was such a huge hit. Although it may be a bit of stretch to call it a sleeper since it wasn’t a tiny indie, the movie still far surpassed expectations. Speaking to directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller at the press junket for their new movie, 22 Jump Street, they agreed that they were taken aback at the movie’s smash success. “That first weekend, everyone was shocked,” says Lord. “We had crazy hopes, but there was no sense that it was going to make almost $70 million that weekend. And we were mixing that movie in January.”
Hit the jump for more about their reaction to The LEGO Movie‘s success, the popularity of “Everything Is Awesome”, their heavy involvement in The LEGO Movie 2, when they hope to have the first draft completed, and more.
CHRIS MILLER: I remember being at the mix. We had just finished shooting Jump Street. We should have been editing Jump Street, but we were finishing beats for LEGO. I remember looking at it and going like, “This movie, so many people spent so much energy and there’s so much detail and richness in this movie, I really hope that people look past that it was based on a toy, and appreciate all the artistry that went into this thing. It was really dense in the amount of energy that went into and how special it felt. And I thought, “Man, it would be a real shame if people didn’t notice it.”
LORD: I just remember it as crazy. This is the craziest movie anyone’s ever tried to make! [laughs] And I remember sitting at the mix and going, “Haha. That’s funny,” and “Haha. That’s funny too. That’s crazy.”
MILLER: It was such a relief when people actually liked it.
LORD: It’s so weird. You’re not even happy. You’re just relieved.
MILLER: Greg Silverman said to us the only positive emotion you ever feel in the film business is “relief.”
LORD: We all took a nap Friday night when the returns came in.
MILLER: And then went to work on Saturday to start editing 22 Jump Street.
The movie also had one of 2014’s biggest earworms with the maddeningly-catchy “Everything Is Awesome” (I will be incredibly amused if it gets an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song). The duo is well aware of the affect it had on audiences, but it did net them a huge compliment:
LORD: I am so sorry. I just want to apologize directly to your readers. I apologize for the song “Everything Is Awesome”.
MILLER: Well, the irony is crazy. What do you think about the theme song for a totalitarian regime, and everyone is “Yay!”
LORD: It’s a very Devo thing to happen. That’s one of the greatest compliments we’ve ever gotten is [composer and Devo band member] Mark Mothersbaugh at dinner in Australia together, and he said, “This movie is very Devo.” Oh, cool. I’m going to hang it up now.
Even though The LEGO Movie 2 isn’t due out until May 26, 2017, Lord and Miller are already working on the film alongside director Chris McKay, who served as animation co-director on the first movie. Lord and Miller made it clear that they will be active producers:
LORD: We’re breaking the story right now. We have a lot of teammates.
MILLER: We’re working with Jerry and Michelle and Chris. And we get together at all the time and talk about what the story should be, and we’re working on the treatment. We pass it around like a hot potato, really. We’re going to a draft of the script together, Phil and I, later this summer and fall.
LORD: And then we’re producing in a real way.
Collider: So you’re really involved.
LORD: Yes. We have an office in a studio, Chris is going to be next door, and we’ll be looking at cuts all the time. We’re going to be really involved.
MILLER: A couple people are like, “You know, it might be nice if you spent some time in space…You know, Benny’s great and his spaceship is great, but…”
LORD: They don’t understand how hard it was for us to convince the LEGO folks to revive that stuff.
MILLER: It was a personal thing for us.
LORD: Yeah, that’s what we played with growing up. I think we can look forward to more LEGO space stuff.
Everyone loves Benny.
MILLER: Charlie Day is a delight of a human being.
Can we confirm this is something you’re thinking about for the sequel?
MILLER: Oh, yeah.
LORD: Way more space stuff.
MILLER: This is the whole reason I loved LEGO in the first place.
Here’s what Phil Lord and Chris Miller had to say about The LEGO Movie sequel. If you missed what they said about a possible Clone High Movie, click here. Look for more with Lord and Miller soon.