Lego Executive Speaks on 'The Lego Movie' Sequel

Chris Pratt poses alongside the physical world his character, Emmet, inhabits in 2014’s "The Lego Movie." Octan, the corporation featured in the film, has appeared in Lego sets for decades. TIM RUE/CORBIS/GETTY IMAGES

This article, and others celebrating the 60-year anniversary of the Lego Brick and 40 years of the Lego Minifigure, is found in Newsweek's Special Edition: Lego—The Toy That Changed Our Lives.

Can you tell me a little about how The Lego Movie came to be?
We weren't out in Hollywood running around pitching and trying to convince people to make a movie about the Lego universe. We were in the fortunate position where people were coming to us, and it happened organically.

Why do you think Hollywood came to see the Lego universe as a viable franchise?
We owe a little of bit thanks to the success of Transformers. We started to get calls from people who were looking to work with us and do something tied to the Lego universe after Transformers proved that kind of product-based film could work. What we always redirected them on was that they needed to first come with an idea that made sense for the brand and was authentic and would resonate. So we focused a lot on embedding The Lego Group's values into what we were doing, and that was what was most important to us—creating a story and characters that could help convey the message of the brand. But the finished product exceeded all of our expectations just in terms of the critical response. We were really pleased that it seemed to touch a chord with people.

The Lego building system has always emphasized being able to create your own world, and this is something that translated really well into the movie. How did the filmmakers and the Lego Group go about translating it to the screen?
A lot of filmmakers sort of shied away from a Lego project initially because they felt they wouldn't be able to get all the different players involved to agree. But [it worked] because of our existing relationships and because people understood kids authentically play with Lego in a conglomerative way—kids don't care if it's Darth Vader talking to Batman, that's fine with them.

What about the aesthetics of the film? Who was responsible for the merging of the real-world Lego brick with the world of The Lego Movie?

When we first brought Phil Lord and Chris Miller on board (they wrote and directed the first movie) their aspiration really was to do something like it was 100 percent built out of bricks. We honestly kind of questioned that a little bit. We weren't sure how they would actually make it work. The concept art convinced us they could pull it off.

What can fans look forward to in the aptly named The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part?

One of the things we're really focused on with this film is ensuring we're creating something that is going to appeal to a very broad audience. We've done quite well, in particular with The Lego Movie, having the broadest appeal [possible]. We really want to make sure we're communicating that the film and the brand is very relevant for girls as well as boys. We know for these films to be successful they need to have a broad audience that's coming to see them. We really try to get that multilayer humor to get across that there's something for kids and also for adults as well.

This article, written by Issue Editor Tim Baker, was excerpted from Newsweek's Special Edition: Lego—The Toy That Changed Our Lives. For more on the No. 1 building system in the world, pick up a copy today.

Newsweek Lego Final Cover
Topix Media Lab