Phil Lord and Christo­pher Miller TheLE­GOMovie

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Key mo­ment of in­spi­ra­tion (Miller): I was help­ing my nephew, Finn, make his pinewood derby car, which he wanted to be a he­li­copter-rocket-swirly-pea­cock car cov­ered with feath­ers, pipe clean­ers and pop­si­cle sticks. I had to bite my tongue about aero­dy­nam­ics, cen­ter of grav­ity and drag while I helped him hot-glue pom-poms all over it. Ul­ti­mately, the car he made was not very fast, but he was so proud of it, and rightly so, be­cause it was beau­ti­ful, unique, and all him. It launched a dis­cus­sion be­tween Phil and I about cre­ativ­ity and en­gi­neer­ing, func­tion and self-ex­pres­sion, which was the real

in­spi­ra­tion for many of the themes of the movie. Tough­est chal­lenge in mak­ing the movie: Fig­ur­ing out how to make a pho­to­real stop-mo­tion look, with fin­ger­prints, scratches and dan­druff, and cre­at­ing brick­built mo­tion blur-like ef­fects, was ex­tremely chal­leng­ing. But get­ting the story to work on an emo­tional level was prob­a­bly the hard­est chal­lenge of all. Piv­otal scene: The scene inside Em­met’s brain when he goes from be­ing a pas­sive fol­lower to want­ing to be­come a cre­ative leader. We also get our first glimpse of his re­pressed cre­ative side with his odd idea for a dou­ble-decker couch, which ends up be­com­ing an im­por­tant run­ner in the movie.

Best ad­vice: On the state of the an­i­ma­tion business: It’s an ex­cit­ing time. There’s a real di­ver­sity of styles, and the mar­ket­place is slowly start­ing to ac­cept the idea that an­i­ma­tion is a medium to tell dif­fer­ent sto­ries, not a genre in and of it­self. Fa­vorite movie or an­i­mated character of all time: Gromit. He’s a hi­lar­i­ous character with so much per­son­al­ity, all with­out say­ing a word. It’s a tes­ta­ment to Nick Park and all the an­i­ma­tors who, with a sub­tle eye­brow raise or fin­ger tap or eye roll, ex­press so much with so lit­tle. Ca­reer begin­nings: We started off de­vel­op­ing Satur­day morn­ing cartoons for Dis­ney TV An­i­ma­tion, and came up with dozens of dif­fer­ent shows that never made it to the air. One was about brother-sis­ter con­joined twins who in­her­ited a toy man­u­fac­tur­ing company. We won­der why it never made it to air. Best ad­vice: En­able your crew to con­trib­ute cre­atively and you’ll get bet­ter ideas, and more of them, than you could have come up with on your own. If you give peo­ple agency to add their own pas­sion into it, you get a richer, fuller, more spe­cial prod­uct. Key mo­ment of in­spi­ra­tion: The key mo­ment of in­spi­ra­tion hap­pened while sit­ting in front of the TV as a 10-year-old boy. I fell in love with Mr. Pe­abody & Sher­man. From there it was all up­hill. Tough­est chal­lenge in mak­ing the movie: Our tough­est chal­lenge was con­vinc­ing some­one to make the movie. Chris Kuser at DreamWorks was first to cham­pion the project. And Jef­frey Katzen­berg made it hap­pen. Piv­otal scene: The piv­otal scene for me was when Mr. Pe­abody puts Sher­man to bed. It proved that there was a depth and di­men­sion to th­ese char­ac­ters and that they could ex­press real emo­tion. On the state of the an­i­ma­tion business: The an­i­ma­tion business has never been more ex­cit­ing, with so many high-qual­ity films be­ing made and so much pro­duc­tion all over the world — the au­di­ence ex­pand­ing in Europe and China. But it feels like it’s just get­ting started. The next decade should bring in­cred­i­ble in­no­va­tion and ex­per­i­men­ta­tion. Fa­vorite movie or an­i­mated character of all time: My fa­vorite an­i­mated film of all time is the clas­sic Chuck Jones short,

In­cred­i­ble wit and satire in just un­der seven min­utes. A per­fect film. Ca­reer begin­nings: I got started at Dis­ney in the early ’80s, just be­fore Roy Dis­ney Jr., Michael Eis­ner and Jef­frey Katzen­berg took over and su­per­charged pro­duc­tion. It felt like the end of an era with Eric Lar­son still men­tor­ing an­i­ma­tors and Frank and Olly com­ing by to visit with an oc­ca­sional Marc Davis or Ward Kim­ball sight­ing. We all longed for the golden age to re­turn but as­sumed it never could. Then it did.

The world of an­i­mated film pro­duc­tion is ex­cit­ing, frus­trat­ing, ex­haust­ing, in­spir­ing. Never lose heart or hope.

set­ting for our­selves as an an­i­ma­tion com­mu­nity. We’re tak­ing on tough sub­ject mat­ter and telling emotionally so­phis­ti­cated sto­ries. Fa­vorite movie or an­i­mated character of all time: Bugs Bunny and To­toro. Ca­reer begin­nings: I used to make stop-mo­tion movies as a kid. They were bru­tally vi­o­lent. Then my an­i­ma­tion ca­reer went on hold for about 15 years, un­til my mom en­cour­aged me to at­tend Sheri­dan Col­lege in On­tario. I got an in­tern­ship at the Florida Dis­ney stu­dio, and then I was off to Cal­i­for­nia to work in the story depart­ment on Mu­lan. I’ve been at Dis­ney Fea­ture An­i­ma­tion ever since. Best ad­vice: I sup­pose to any­one en­ter­ing the an­i­ma­tion in­dus­try I’d say pre­pare to work very hard. The stu­dios are at a very high level and de­mand great work, as well as sacrifice. Learn to draw bet­ter. Keep draw­ing. Carry a sketch­book and draw all the time. It forces you to re­ally see the world. And try to foster an en­vi­ron­ment were peo­ple feel com­fort­able dis­agree­ing with you.

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