Phil Lord Reveals the Perfectly Imperfect Scripting Process Behind ‘Into the Spider-Verse’

     March 23, 2020

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Over the weekend, director, writer, and producer Phil Lord gave fans some insight into the scripting process on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The Oscar-winning animated feature grew to be a hit upon release back in December 2018, with Shameik MooreJake Johnson, and Hailee Steinfeld lending their voices to some of the most iconic Spider-Man characters in a story set in an alternate Spider-man reality.

It all began when Twitter account Plot Devices shared a graphic on how the plotting of Lord and co-director/writer Chris Miller‘s 2014 animated feature The Lego Movie shakes out. The graphic is a solid visual guide for those folks looking to wrap their heads about planning out major story beats. But, it admittedly might oversimplify the process by removing all of the edits, cuts, additions, and other “joys” of writing a screenplay that come with the title of “screenwriter”.

In response to Plot Device’s Lego Movie graphic, Lord graciously retweeted, “This makes it seem like we had a plan,” before going on to share some photos of the plotting process for Into the Spider-Verse Lord and his co-writer Rodney Rothman went through. Each photo shows a whiteboard, with each whiteboard showing different versions of the Spider-Verse script as it evolved. In two photos, Lord managed to highlight the highs and lows (and woes) of trying to crack a movie and not just make it work, but make it work really well.

He captioned the pictures with: “So here is the “storywheel” of @SpiderVerse. We did a big shakeup of the story less than a year from release and we had to figure out how to reshape sequences we had already boarded and animated and fold them in with new stuff. Oh, and we re-broke the whole third act.”

Not gonna lie: It’s always fun when creatives give surprise peeks at their process like this, regardless of when the information comes out. Lord (not that Lord, the other one), if you’re reading this and happen to have any other photos of your creative process behind, say, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, that’d be pretty A-OK with me.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is currently streaming on Netflix. For more, check out the other animated movies streaming on Netflix we recommend you watch.

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