Heed Chats with the “Lego Movie” Cast
The LEGO Movie press conference held at Legoland was the most fun I’ve had attending a junket so far! From the theme park and Lego-building classes, to the life-size Lego characters walking around, I fit in perfectly with the rest of the awestruck children.
When Warner Bro’s originally announced the film’s green-lit status, the entire internet (including myself) was pretty skeptical as to the direction the film would be taken. Yet after screening the film, and realizing the movie actually didn’t ruin my childhood memories of the beloved toys, I was excited to head to Carlsbad, CA to speak with the talented creators and cast. The animated feature is a must-see for the entire family, as it masterfully blends campy children’s humor with a hint of adult oriented references.
Among the conference participants were directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller; voice talent Chris Pratt, Morgan Freeman, Will Arnett, and Elizabeth Banks; producer Dan Lin; and animation supervisor Chris McKay.
The biggest conclusion I reached during the junket? Morgan Freeman is absolutely hilarious.
Heed Magazine: First off amazing job on the film. It was thoroughly entertaining and innovative. Will, can you talk about how you created such an amazing batman, possibly the best version ever created.
Will Arnett: Sure, I read the old testament repeatedly! Phil, Chris and I talked early on about looking at all the Batman, and see what we liked about all of those portrayals. The first couple of sessions we tested which voice was working, and kept hitting on the idea that the more serious Batman took himself the funnier he was. And that’s where we ended up.
Morgan Freeman: So I have a question for the writers, why was there no Robin to say, “Holy bat burgers Batman”?
Phil Lord: (Laughs) Well the movie would have been two hours long probably.
Heed Magazine: A lot of you have kids, have your children seen the movie yet?
Chris Miller: Yeah, I have a five year old son who’s actually here at Legoland and his head is currently exploding.
Morgan Freeman: My youngest kid is 41 years old so…
Will Arnett: Yeah, I have a 3 year old and 5 year old and they’re extremely excited. My youngest son keeps calling the film The Lego Batman Movie.
Heed Magazine: So what are your earliest memories of Lego, and did that impact you wanting to be in this film?
Elizabeth Banks: My earliest memory of Lego’s involves grabbing them from my sister and being bossy about it. And now I’ve journeyed back to Lego’s because of my two young sons. And I’ll spend time on the floor building something cool with my sons, and my kids will immediately smash whatever I’ve made as if it means nothing. And my heart breaks.
Chris Pratt: I used to make huge Lego swords and hit people with them. And I liked to see how fast I could swing the sword and hit someone without it breaking, because the force of swinging would almost always break it. The point is even then I was really talented.
Will Arnett: And you do a lot of TV shows and film.
Morgan Freeman: My kids were little at one time. And my memory of Lego’s was them being scattered all over the apartment. I didn’t have any creativity with Lego’s and neither did my kids, so the pieces just ended up on the floor.
Heed Magazine: At the end of the film we find out that the villain is an extreme control freak. Do you guys have any hobbies that you obsessive over?
Morgan Freeman: Yeah, I play golf. Have you ever played? You turn into a control freak and actually never succeed. It’s extremely frustrating.
Heed Magazine: The films song “Everything Is Awesome” is weirdly annoying yet catchy. How did you guys come up with that as the films theme song?
Chris Miller: Yeah we apologize to everyone for the song. We did write in the script that there would be a song called “Everything Is Awesome”, and that it would be the most insanely catchy, cheesy pop song of all time. Chris McKay and Sean Patterson came up with a tune that burrows into your brain and never leaves. Tegan, Sarah, Andy Samberg and The Lonely Island from SNL did a great job on the song. But again, we apologize.
Heed Magazine: The film is actually meant as much for adults as it is for kids. It was a very intelligent film and had great themes for both the kids and parents. Did you approach the film from adult perspective?
Morgan Freeman: (Points to directors Chris and Phil) Look at these guys.
Chris Miller: Yeah, we’re clearly not adults. But every movie that we do whether it’s an R-rated comedy or a family movie, we approach them the same way. We just try and make each other laugh.
Phil Lord: And it just so happens that our sense of humor is so juvenile that it appeals to children as well.
Morgan Freeman: Even your XXX films.
Phil Lord: Yep, even the adult films that we make.
Heed Magazine: You combined live-action and CGI effortlessly, what was the most difficult aspect of creating the film?
Chris Miller: Most difficult thing was creating a story that made sense and was entertaining. And from a technical standpoint I think it was probably getting the CG to look photo real and be full of thumb prints, dust and scratches to make you think it was a real lego set.
Phil Lord: Yeah, finding the exact right amount of dandruff was the biggest test. Too much and it looks snowy.
Morgan Freeman: I could have lent you guys some!
Heed Magazine: Lego is such a well known brand and company. Were there any ground rules the Lego company set before you began creating the film?
Chris Miller: Well, first off we tried to not show them 21 Jump Street. (Phil & Chris directed the remake) But we wouldn’t have been interested if we had rules and were forced to “sell” the toys. They’re doing really well as a company so they didn’t even need a movie. Everyone agreed that the film had to be about something. So they were really supportive and wanted us to be bold and take risks. Suckers!
Morgan Freeman: (Laughs) Yeah be bold, take some risks, hire Morgan Freeman!
Heed Magazine: A lot of individuals who work in technology attribute playing with Lego’s as a kid to why they now work for NASA and other major companies. Do you believe working with the toys has helped your passion of film in any way?
Chris Miller: Yeah, we both played with Lego’s as a kid. We had the Steven Spielberg movie-maker kit in the early 90s. And I made a short film with a bunch of Lego buildings and a cat. It was a horror movie about a giant cat.
Phil: They’re a really cool toy. One of the reasons is that they’re a left brain toy and a right brain toy at the same time. You get your creative side and engineering side working. And that’s one of the things that inspired us in the first place.
Heed Magazine: We have to bring up the infamous double-decker couch, where did such a crazy idea come from?
Phil Lord: We were trying to think of the worst idea in the world…
Chris Miller: But that was also great. Our assistant editor Tod Hanson actually built a double decker couch in his apartment. So we had all these questions like so if you’re in the top middle, how do you get down without climbing over somebody? And if you’re sitting on the bottom are you watching tv through a bund of dangling legs? But then we realized the idea was kind of awesome at the same time. So we put it in the film, and people seem to like it!
Heed Magazine: So what lesson do you think children should walk away with from this movie?
Chris Miller: To see it again! That’s a very important lesson for all children to learn. And they should also learn to innovate and be inspired to be creative. Realizing that your special even if no one else recognizes it.
The LEGO Movie is currently dominating the box office, earning $69.1 million this past weekend!