The LEGO Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are somewhat synonymous with high-end comedy after a number of successes on the big screen. 2014’s acclaimed adaptation of the connecting bricks into a movie saw Chris Pratt star in a film that wowed critics and film fans alike, as it blended visual gags with subtle, razor-sharp wit that appeased the adults and looked bright and colorful for the kids. The pair are also responsible for the hit action/comedy 21 Jump Street and its follow-up 22 Jump Street, which further propelled them to the top of Hollywood’s most sought-after filmmakers.
With great comedic timing, comes great comedic responsibility – so after the aforementioned hits, as well as the off-beat Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Lord and Miller took another leap forward in 2015 when they became attached to direct the anticipated Han Solo Star Wars Anthology Film (which is currently scheduled to arrive in 2018). The pair have also continued to work on such well-liked TV comedy series as The Last Man on Earth.
The first images have been released for another upcoming Lord/Miller-backed venture: a live-action/animated comedy TV series titled Son of Zorn. Revealed over at EW, Son of Zorn is a hybrid show commissioned by FOX and set to debut during the next TV season, with Lord and Miller producing only. Jason Sudeikis (We’re The Millers) is voicing the muscle-bound Zorn, the defender of Zephyria, as he moves back to Orange County to take a job as a soap dispenser salesman, while trying to reconnect with his estranged son played by Johnny Pemberton (The Night Is Young) and win back his ex-wife played by Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm). Tim Meadows (Trainwreck) costars as Hines’ love interest: an online psychology professor, which proves troublesome for our scantily clad hero.
Miller had the following to say about Son of Zorn when interviewed by EW:
“[Zorn] tries to be a family man, but he is a barbarian warrior from another land who doesn’t quite fit in. The thing I like about this show is that while the premise is really outrageous and ridiculous, the tone of the show is finding the practical, real, understated minutia of daily life. And the parts of the show that feel the most interesting to me are the [ones that] play it relatively grounded for such a ridiculous concept.”
Lord was eager to share his favorite moments from the show with EW, emphasizing how Zorn will be thrown into a rather mundane, familiar lifestyle that will be quite familiar to most people watching the series at home:
“My favorite scenes are Zorn in the break room at his office, putting cream cheese on a bagel with a sword and talking to weird strangers. Even though he’s a wild character, it’s all just really well-observed, funny, strange details about our life. Because he’s a foreigner, he’s highlighting what is ridiculous about the way we all live.”
The first images from Son of Zorn imply we could be in for a particularly funny series, which blends a cartoon of Zorn (who looks suspiciously like 1980s beefcake He-Man) with a cast of real-life characters and environments. Of course, films like the classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Disney’s Pete’s Dragon (which has a remake in the works), as well as Bedknobs and Broomsticks spring to mind. Whether this’ll poke fun at those films in terms of visual similarity is anyone’s guess – though based on Lord and Miller’s track record, it’s a strong possibility.
Son of Zorn will slot into FOX’s schedule alongside the likes of Family Guy and American Dad! and aims to provide something a little different to the norm of straight-up comedy, especially since it strives to be genre-less. The series is, to no small degree, ambitious, with the costs of making a live-action series then exasperated by the addition of a CGI character. As such, its biggest challenge will be proving that it can sustain itself even once the initial “cartoon in a live-action world” premise is no longer fresh. Having Lord and Miller on its side will no doubt help, in that respect.
Son of Zorn is set to premiere on FOX during the 2016-17 TV season.