Comic-Con: THE LEGO MOVIE Panel Recap; Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, and Cobie Smulders Join Voice Cast as Superman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman

     July 20, 2013


Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have a knack for delightfully goofy and fun storytelling with their previous films Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street, and early next year they return to the world of animation with The LEGO Movie.  The first trailer was greeted to a positive reception, and Lord and Miller took the stage in Hall H at Comic-Con earlier today to talk about the film and show off some more footage.  They revealed that Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, and Cobie Smulders have joined the voice cast as DC superheroes, talked about blending CG and stop-motion, how they got LEGO to sign off on the film, and more.

Hit the jump to read my full recap of the Comic-Con panel for The LEGO movie.

The moderator introduced producers Dan Lin and Chris McKay, and then writers/directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller.

How did they attack the world of LEGO in a movie?

  • the-lego-movie-comic-con-posterLord said that they “had like a four hour movie” last year.  They started by looking at the LEGO fan-films online.

  • At one point there were 14 characters in the film.  Miller insisted on having a classic space character.  They have LEGO city, LEGO Wild West, and LEGO space.  Miller’s childhood space set is actually used in the film.

  • The film is a hybrid between CG and real LEGO stop-motion.  Miller said they don’t want anyone to know which is which, so they’re trying to make the transition seamless.

They then showed some footage.  It opened with some LEGO “auditions” as the animated characters were trying out different lines.  The highlight was the directors trying to get Batman (Will Arnett) to say, “I’m Batman.”  He was too busy on his Batphone reading his Bat-email to be bothered, but when Superman popped his head in and said “I’ll do it!” Arnett didn’t miss a beat and quickly struck a pose, saying “I’m Batman.”  We also got a look at Liam Neeson’s cop character, who swipes his head back and forth between “Good Cop” and “Bad Cop.”  Will Ferrell’s villainous character Lord Business sports a giant head piece/bad guy hat, and he quickly took over the auditions from Lord and Miller to direct the other LEGO actors.


  • Lord revealed a couple of LEGO cameos in the film, including Channing Tatum as Superman, Jonah Hill as Green Lantern, Cobie Smulders as Wonder Woman.  This is the first time that Wonder Woman will be portrayed in a feature film.  There are still some IP characters that will be revealed later.

How does the building of LEGO factor into the story?

  • lego movieThe premise is about different styles of how people build things.

  • There’s nothing in the movie that’s not LEGO; the explosions are LEGO and the water is LEGO.

  • Lin said that you could literally build the entire movie out of bricks.  They didn’t want any cheating.

How did they convince LEGO to sign off?

  • Lord said, “We kind of tricked them.”

  • They’re making the film in Denmark, where LEGO is based, as well as New Zealand and L.A.

  • LEGO embraced the idea that this movie had to feel different from all of the other LEGO movies in the marketplace.

  • Lord said the entirety of the film will have taken three years to make.

Are they still able to maintain their subversive humor?

  • the-lego-movie-logoLord said it’s “the weirdest kids film that’s ever been committed to celluloid.”  He thinks it’s really punk rock to make kids films.

Closing thoughts:

As a huge fan of Clone High, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and 21 Jump Street, I’m in for pretty much anything Lord and Miller do.  The LEGO Movie promises to be just as goofy and irreverent as their previous films, but I’m really excited to hear that the full film is being built using real LEGOs with minimal CG.  It should be fun to try and figure out how some of these elements (like water and explosions) look in the film.  The voice cast is also spectacular, with Tatum, Hill, and Smulders making excellent additions.

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