Phil Lord & Chris Miller Interview: Into the Spider-Verse

Phil Lord and Chris Miller are the dynamic filmmaking duo responsible for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The LEGO Movie, and the live-action comedy 21 Jump Street and its sequel 22 Jump Street.  They are also producers on Fox’s Last Man on Earth and Cartoon Network’s Unikitty!  The pairs most recent project is developing, and being producers for, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Screen Rant: Guys, amazing job. I've already said this is probably one of the best films of the year. This is incredible.

Phil Lord: Oh, thank you.

Screen Rant: But in any universe, you kind of have to create your own kind of rules. And even as mind bending as this is, especially with multidimensions, what were some of the rules you guys created for the Spider-Verse?

Phil Lord: I mean, honestly, the biggest one was, we want to make sure we've experienced this through Miles eyes, right? And you have a single character that you're rooting for. And Miles Morales is such an interesting guy, with such an interesting family and constellation of people around him. And that emotional journey of, “I'm not sure I'm capable of doing this. But maybe with the help of everybody around me I can pull it off.” That was a universal thing that we wanted to make sure it was in the foreground of the whole movie.

Chris Miller: And so, at the end of the day, we're like, “If we're not experiencing this really through Miles point of view, we can't really be on it for too long.”

Screen Rant: Sure. Is there anything that you guys learned from working on The LEGO Movie that you were either able to take with this, or even stuff that you learned negatively on The LEGO Movie?

Phil Lord: I would say we learned that the audience rewards risk. And that movie, you know, took a lot of weird risks. And we weren't sure if anybody would like it. And it didn't really matter to us. We wanted to make sure that, you know, we're always pushing the boundaries forward. So, it really just raised the bar for what we thought people would accept.

Chris Miller: I had a similar feeling at the mix of this movie, as I did a mixing the sound for that movie. Where it's all coming together and it's all done on. And I had a feeling of like, “Wow, this is really special. I'm really proud of this. I just hope people appreciate it and appreciate all the love and hard work that so many people did.” And I felt the exact same way on this movie. And it's really, really nice to see when people seem to actually be appreciating it.

Phil Lord: You know, in both films there’s a sincerity to the message of it. And it's a message of inclusion and empowerment that heroism is not limited to a group of elite people. That it's accessible to everybody and belongs to all of us

Chris Miller: And is the responsibility of all of us. We're counting on you and everyone.

Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse Miles Morales Costume

Screen Rant: Right. One cool thing about this that I hope doesn't go overlooked is the song selections in the soundtrack. How did that come about? Because the music is its own thing too. And it just plays together so well in this world.

Phil Lord: Well, you know, everybody has their own soundtrack, right? Especially these days. And we wanted to make sure that, when we were with Miles, that the movie sounded like something that Miles would be listening,

Chris Miller: Like his personal playlist. And then we went to Uncle Aaron's.  We thought he would have a little bit more of an old-school hip-hop kind of thing. And so, that will be what he's listening to.

Phil Lord: And we, we put Biggie in one of the test screenings. And people went nuts. We were like, “God, I hope we can pay for this. I don't know how to beat it.”

Chris Miller: But yeah, that was the idea. We wanted to have the feeling of, an authentic feeling of, what a kid in Brooklyn, who was a teenager, and what he's listening to. And what his world feels like. And it all came to together so well.

Phil Lord: And there’s bilingualism too, right? Like you go through his house, you could barely hear it, but like his mom has her own soundtrack going on, like in the house. And then you get to hear Spanish spoken without a lot of subtitles, or any subtitles. We wanted it to represent what it feels like to be in a city like New York or a city like Brooklyn.

Screen Rant: Well, I talked to the directors also, and they, as you guys told me earlier, nobody did, cast at least, nobody did read the script. They kept it pretty close to the chest. Now, you guys said you'd been working on this for two and a half years, even all the way up until last week. I would assume that you've had plans to flesh out Miles even further. Yes or no?

Chris Miller: [chuckles] You know, we have a lot of ideas. And the character of Miles is someone we've fallen in love with.

And we love from the books, but now we feel like protective of him. And so, there's so many possibilities with the multiverse.  There's so many ways to go with what Miles would be like now that he's comfortable in his skin. And is comfortable in a suit. But it's still so very early, that we were just trying to make the best movie we can right now. And then open the door for possible future anything.

More: Jake Johnson & Shameik Moore Interview for Into the Spider-Verse

Key Release Dates
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) release date: Dec 14, 2018
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