Tag Archives: The Lego Movie

Everything is Awesome, Especially Chris Miller’s Plans for the Next Three ‘Lego’ Movies


The Lego Movie was an unexpected smash last year, grossing $468.8 million worldwide and captivating parents and kids alike — everyone, it seems, except Oscar voters (grrr). A year later, the film’s writing-directing duo, Chris Miller and Phil Lord (who also wrote and directed 21 Jump Street and 22 Jump Street), are tripling down on their “Everything is Awesome” gamble, overseeing not one but three different Lego Movie sequels and spinoffs.

First up is Ninjago, a spinoff based on Lego’s popular Masters of Spinjitzu line of sets, which will be out Sept. 23, 2016. That will be followed on May 26, 2017 by a Lego Batman spinoff, with Will Arnett returning as Batman, directed by Chris McKay. Finally, 2018 will bring The Lego Movie Sequel, directed by Community and The Mindy Project director Rob Schrab, with Miller and Lord producing and writing the script.


I spoke with Miller (above, right) — who along with Lord (left) is also  executive producing the innovative, hilarious new Fox comedy, The Last Man on Earth, debuting March 1 — for my recent Adweek cover story on the not-so-funny state of broadcast comedy. (“To do something that’s going to get people’s attention,” he told me of Last Man on Earth, “my theory is you have to do something that feels unique and special and gets people talking: ‘Did you see this thing?’ We wanted to do something that didn’t feel like anything you’ve seen before, because otherwise, what’s the point?”) But he also talked to me at length about how he and Lord were able to successfully rebrand a pair of beloved franchises, and how they’ll (hopefully) do it all over again with the upcoming three Lego films:

Between Lego Movie and the Jump Street films, how were you able to take these brands that people have known and loved for years, and…
And make something new out of them? Well the first thing is to take it very seriously and to think about whatever you’re talking about and find the love and the joy in it. And to try and be smart about it, and not just do the most common denominator. When we were doing The Lego Movie, our big fear was it was going to feel like a giant toy commercial. And that was the last thing we wanted to do, ever. So I think by making it feel like it was just a piece of personal expression that was using the bricks as a medium to tell a story made it feel like oh, this is something that somebody made, not something that came from corporate, on high.

I feel like people can sniff that stuff out. When a corporation is trying to make a viral video, and everyone in it is drinking Dr. Pepper or something, you’re like, ‘Oh, you’re trying to sell me Dr. Pepper here, man!’ And people don’t like to feel like they’re being sold something. So we just don’t ever let a choice be made for that reason. Then in the end, it ends up being, you know, good!

After you pulled off 21 Jump Street, did that make tackling Lego Movie less daunting?
That was a crazy risk, obviously, turning that into a weird, self-aware comedy. That was mostly born out of our embarrassment about knowing that rebooting television shows is a morally bankrupt approach to making movies. But we loved the concept of guys getting a second chance to go back to high school and I enjoyed the original show, so it seemed like it was mostly us apologizing. Like, “We know this is a crazy idea for a TV show, but we know it and we’re trying to make it good. So just be on our side on this!” So one of our things is trying to get the audience on your side and going, “Hey, we’re all in this together, let’s have a good time.”

How do you replicate your Lego Movie success with the next three films?
Yeah, there’s three so far. The key is hiring different filmmakers for each one who can make the tone their own. They can’t all feel like the same exact thing. So, the Ninjago one has a very distinct tone of its own. It feels like a comedy Kurosawa movie or something. And the Batman one has got some of the most crazy action you’ve ever seen. Each one has its own voice and it feels true to the thing that we made, but it also feels like again it’s a filmmaker making something and using this as a medium to tell a fun story.

You talked before about being worried The Lego Movie would seem like a commercial. It would seem that’s even more of a concern now.
That’s the danger there, exactly!

Because now, Lego is probably saying to you, “Come up with this so we can sell even more Legos!”
Exactly. Part of doing Lego 2 was saying, we want to make everybody nervous again like they were the first time. We want to make the Lego group nervous, and we want to make Warner Bros. nervous. And if we’re not making them nervous, then we’re not pushing it far enough and we’re not doing our job.

Everything Will Be Awesome if Will Arnett is in ‘Lego Movie’ Sequel


Sorry, Christian Bale and Michael Keaton, but Will Arnett’s version of Batman (he voiced the Caped Crusader in The Lego Movie) is my favorite cinematic take on it yet.

At TCA summer press tour, I spoke again with Arnett, this time for Today.com, about The Lego Movie — and how his kids are just as obsessed with it as everyone else’s are.

“My kids are super into it too, nonstop,” said Arnett, who voices Batman in the hit film. “In fact, a couple of mornings ago, my son got into my bed at 6 a.m., turned on my iPad, and started watching ‘The Lego Movie.’ So I woke up to ‘Everything is awesome!’ and was like, ‘Oh my God!’”

We also spoke about the upcoming Lego Movie sequel, which he’s not yet signed for, and the second season of his sitcom The Millers.

Everything Will Be Awesome if Will Arnett is in ‘Lego Movie’ Sequel

Will Arnett on ‘The Millers,’ ‘Arrested Development’ and More

Will Arnett

It’s been a rough year for Will Arnett, whose last show, Up All Night, was imploding just as his marriage to Amy Poehler was doing the same. But he’s bounced back with a new CBS sitcom, The Millers. And as he tells me in this Daily Beast profile, he couldn’t be happier:

“I’m really, really lucky,” says Arnett, 43. “The opportunity to make a really funny multicam with these people, on CBS, at this time in my life after having a few years of crushing schedules, on a schedule that’s a lot more civilized where I can take my kids to school every day, that is a fucking godsend. I have nothing to complain about.”

Arnett talks about the past, present and future of Arrested Development (and defends Season 4), gives some insight into what happened to Up All Night and also talks about a pair of upcoming films that should make him World’s Coolest Dad to his two sons. Millers creator Greg Garcia and his costar Margo Martindale also talk about him.

Will Arnett on ‘The Millers,’ ‘Arrested Development’ and More