Jump Street Directors On The Lego Film

'This could be the craziest movie ever'

Empire recently spoke to Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the directorial double act behind Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street, about the latter's upcoming home release. And naturally their possible adaptation of the much-loved novel Carter Beats The Devil came up pretty swiftly... as did their work on Lego The Movie.

Talking about Carter Beats The Devil, Lord was keen to point out that, "It’s very early. There’s a good script: we’ve read a lot of material since Jump Street, and this was the first thing that felt intriguing, and so we’re literally just starting to talk about it. We’re deep in the LEGO bunker right now, so when we come up for air in a couple of months’ time, we’ll get more serious talking about that could be."

Then began the Lego discussion. And the good news for fans of the Danish plastic bricks is that their plans for turning building blocks into cinematic building blocks are rather encouraging.

Where do you begin when you’re making a movie about something that’s such a huge part of people’s childhood?

Phil: Oh God, I know. All we do is violate people’s childhoods – we’ve made a career out of it. The thing that inspired us was the brick films that everybody makes online, just people in their basement using Lego to make crude stop motion clips, Star Wars and all that stuff. Our big idea was, “What if we gave millions of dollars to one of those people and let them make something?” And so that’s kind of what we’re writing through…

Chris: There’s actually quite a bit of participation that’s going to happen with the Lego community at large, so we’re trying to solicit as much assistance from everyone as possible. It's all because so much about this film is building things with people on the internet and we want as much of their influence on the movie as possible.

Ever tempted by full-stop motion or will it be fully CGI?

Phil: Well, it’ll be sort of both.

Chris: It’s going to end up being mostly CGI due to the fact that it would cost a billion dollars to make that with stop motion. The number of Lego bricks we’d need, and the amount of time required is... crazy. There’s a scene with a pirate ship on a Lego ocean, and the whole ocean is animated into Hokusai waves, all in bricks, and just doing one of those shots would take somebody a year and a million dollars worth of bricks. So for the purposes of economy, and for the movie to not come out in 2035, we’re going to do it mostly in CG, but it’ll all look as photo-real as if it was made in stop motion with actual Lego bricks.

Do you have anyone in mind as concerns voice talent? Is part of the trouble the fact that when people play with Lego, making up their own voices is part of the fun?

Chris: The truth is that there’s a lot of action in the movie, and one of the compelling things is watching them move without speaking. We’re hiring really amazing voice talent for the movie that’ll hopefully make it all work. You’ll still need to follow a specific character, so hopefully the diversity of the voice talent will make up for the fact that it’s no going to be always the voice in your head, you know?

Phil: We’re trying to grab a wide variety of people – no names as we’re not allowed to say just yet.

Will this be as crazy as the drug scenes in 21 Jump Street or more sedate than that?

Phil: This could be the craziest movie ever. Even crazier than having a melting ice cream for a head.

Chris: A melting ice cream head would be a tame shot for this movie.

Phil: It’s true, it really would be.

21 Jump Street is out on DVD and Blu-Ray on July 9. The as yet untitled Lego movie is set for a 2014 release.