'Lego Movie' Filmmakers Reveal Fib Told to Warner Bros.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller, featured in THR's Rule Breakers 2014 issue, told a little white lie to persuade WB to keep one specific segment: "What we told the studio was, if it didn't work, we had a backup plan. We didn't have a backup plan," says Miller
This story first appeared in the Jan. 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Ten years ago, on his way to Hollywood meetings, writer-director-producer Chris Miller often would conduct phone conversations with his mill-owner father that ended in him being told to turn his car around and change clothes because "that's no way to dress for a business meeting." Miller's creative partner, Phil Lord, hails from a Cuban immigrant family in which "the phrase, 'I have my art history degree to fall back on,' would not fill any parent with confidence."
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The perhaps-unlikely pair now stands at the helm of two hit franchises, with 2014 bringing the animated Lego Movie and 22 Jump Street, a rare comedy sequel that earned more than $330 million in worldwide box office and delivered a much-needed franchise for Sony (Lord and Miller, both 39, also have signed to produce and develop 23 Jump Street). Lego, which opened carrying the low expectations of any toy movie but packed a fun and subversive anti-authoritarian punch, made $468.1 million globally, launching a franchise for Warner Bros. (sequels are set for 2016 and 2017) while becoming an out-of-nowhere awards frontrunner.
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Oh, and Lego toy sales jumped 15 percent following the film's release, allowing the company to pass Mattel as the world's largest toy brand. Surprisingly, one of the toughest tasks while making the movie was persuading the studio to keep the live-action segment that gives the film its heart. "It is kind of a crazy move," says Miller. "You're following characters in this Lego world, and then you're supposed to follow new characters and then go back to the old world and still care. What we told the studio was, if it didn't work, we had a backup plan. We didn't have a backup plan."
Read below for the full Rule Breakers 2014 list: