Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

Last updated
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Chris Miller & Phil Lord by Gage Skidmore (cropped).jpg
Miller (left) and Lord at the 2015 WonderCon
Born
Philip A. Lord
(1975-07-12) July 12, 1975 (age 43)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Christopher Robert Miller
(1975-09-23) September 23, 1975 (age 43)
Everett, Washington, U.S.
Alma mater Dartmouth College
Occupation Filmmakers, actors, animators
Years active1998–present
Notable work
Spouse(s)Robyn Murgio (Miller)
Children2 (Miller)

Philip A. Lord (born July 12, 1975) and Christopher Robert Miller (born September 23, 1975) are an American filmmaking duo. Having met at Dartmouth College, they are known for directing and writing the animated films Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009) and The Lego Movie (2014), as well as directing the live-action comedy film 21 Jump Street (2012) and its sequel 22 Jump Street (2014). Lord and Miller produced the animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), cowritten by Lord with Rodney Rothman, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Lord and Miller also co-produced the television series The Last Man on Earth for Fox Broadcasting Company and Unikitty! for Cartoon Network.

Dartmouth College private liberal arts university in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States

Dartmouth College is a private Ivy League research university in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States. Established in 1769 by Eleazar Wheelock, it is the ninth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. Although founded as a school to educate Native Americans in Christian theology and the English way of life, Dartmouth primarily trained Congregationalist ministers throughout its early history. The university gradually secularized, and by the turn of the 20th century it had risen from relative obscurity into national prominence as one of the top centers of higher education.

<i>Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs</i> (film) 2009 animated film by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a 2009 American computer-animated science fiction comedy film produced by Sony Pictures Animation and loosely based on the 1978 children's book of the same name by Judi and Ron Barrett. It was written and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller in their directorial debuts, and stars the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Bruce Campbell, James Caan, Bobb'e J. Thompson, Andy Samberg, Mr. T, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Al Roker, Lauren Graham, and Will Forte. In the film, an aspiring inventor named Flint Lockwood develops a machine that can convert water into food following a series of failed experiments. After the machine begins to develop food storms, Flint must destroy the machine in order to save the world.

<i>The Lego Movie</i> 2014 animated film by Phil Lord and Chris Miller

The Lego Movie is a 2014 3D computer-animated adventure comedy film written and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from a story by Lord, Miller, and Dan and Kevin Hageman. Based on the Lego line of construction toys, its story focuses on an ordinary Lego minifigure who finds himself helping a resistance stop a tyrannical businessman from gluing everything in the Lego world into his vision of perfection. Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, and Morgan Freeman provide their voices for the film's main characters. The film was dedicated to Kathleen Fleming, the former director of entertainment development of the Lego company, following her death in Cancún, Mexico in April 2013.

Contents

Early life

According to The New York Times , Lord is from Miami; his mother is a Cuban-born psychologist, and his father recently retired from the aviation business and before that directed a dance company, Fusion, for 10 years. Miller is from the Seattle area, where his father runs a lumber mill. [1]

<i>The New York Times</i> Daily broadsheet newspaper based in New York City

The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 127 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 17th in the world by circulation and 2nd in the U.S.

Miami City in Florida, United States

Miami, officially the City of Miami, is the cultural, economic and financial center of South Florida and the seat of Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida. The city covers an area of about 56 square miles (150 km2) between the Everglades to the west and Biscayne Bay to the east. Miami is the sixth most densely populated major city in the United States with an estimated 2018 population of 470,914. The Miami metropolitan area is home to 6.1 million people, the second-most populous in the southeastern United States and the seventh-largest in the nation. The city has the third tallest skyline in the U.S. with over 300 high-rises, 55 of which exceed 490 ft (149 m).

Cubans or Cuban people, are the inhabitants, citizens of Cuba and people born in Cuba. Cuba is a multi-ethnic nation, home to people of different ethnic and national backgrounds. As a result, some Cubans do not treat their nationality as an ethnicity but as a citizenship with various ethnicities and national origins comprising the "Cuban people." The majority of Cubans descend from Spaniards. Despite its multi-ethnic composition, the culture held in common by most Cubans is referred to as mainstream Cuban culture, a Western culture largely derived from the traditions of Western European migrants, beginning with the early Spanish settlers, along with other Europeans arriving later but in much smaller numbers, such as the English, French and Italians. There is a West African cultural component which has been somewhat influential, with many Afro-Cubans also being of Jamaican or other Afro-Caribbean origin. In summation Cubans, Puerto Ricans, any Spanish speaking people are most likely descendants from Spain unless they were natives to that particular island or area and then assimilated to the current culture.

Lord and Miller both grew up making short films with an affinity for animation. On campus, the two had separate columns in the school newspaper. Lord was a member of Amarna, a co-ed undergraduate society while Miller was a brother at Alpha Chi Alpha. During his time in college, Christopher met his girlfriend, now wife.

Alpha Chi Alpha fraternity at Dartmouth College

Alpha Chi Alpha (ΑΧΑ) is a fraternity at the American Ivy League university of Dartmouth College. Alpha Chi Alpha is a member of Dartmouth's Greek system, which currently has fourteen fraternities, nine sororities and three co-ed undergraduate houses that fall under the umbrella of the Greek system.

During their time at Dartmouth, the school paper published a profile on Miller, which caught the attention of then chairman of Disney, Michael Eisner. According to Lord, Eisner brought the profile to the attention of his fellow Disney executives who then offered to set up a meeting with Miller. Miller agreed to the meeting as long as he could bring Lord. After three months, the two moved to Los Angeles and after one meeting were offered a two-year development deal for Disney Television Animation. [2]

Michael Eisner American business executive

Michael Dammann Eisner is an American businessman. Eisner was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Walt Disney Company from September 1984 to September 2005. Prior to Disney, Eisner was President and CEO of rival film studio Paramount Pictures from 1976 to 1984, and had brief stints at the major television networks: NBC, CBS, and ABC.

Disney Television Animation television animation production arm of Disney Channels Worldwide

Disney Television Animation (DTVA) is an American animation studio that creates, develops and produces animated television series, films, specials and other projects. It is a division of the Disney Channels Worldwide, ultimately owned by The Walt Disney Company.

Career

Though nothing they pitched made it to air, they produced the pilot to Clone High , which was subsequently dropped by Fox. After they wrote and produced on a series of sitcoms, MTV informed the duo that they were interested in purchasing a 13-episode season of Clone High. Although the show was met with acclaim, MTV canceled the series after hunger strike protests occurred in India over the show's portrayal of Gandhi as a motor-mouthed partier. [3]

Clone High is a Canadian–American adult animated television series created by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Bill Lawrence. The comedy centers on a high school populated by the clones of famous historical figures. The show's central cast includes adolescent depictions of Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc, Mahatma Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, and Cleopatra. The series also serves as a parody of teen dramas; every episode is introduced as a "very special episode".

In 2003, the two were tapped to write a screenplay for what would become their first feature film, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs . After a year working on the script, they were fired for story issues and replaced with new writers, who after a year were also fired. Lord and Miller were then re-hired in 2006. The two completely redid the script, this time with the creative input of their crew. The new draft had the protagonist as a failed inventor who wanted to prove himself to his town. The two were almost fired again after Amy Pascal, the head of Sony Pictures at the time, criticized the film for a lack of story. Although the film succeeded on the comedic front in the animatic stage, Pascal cited the lack of an anchoring relationship in the film as a failure in the story telling. Unable to create new characters and environments to suit the new story demands, the two elevated the character of the tackle shop extra to be the protagonist's father, thereby creating the relationship Pascal had requested. The pair's experience on Cloudy taught them two valuable lessons: the power of creative collaboration and the importance of emotion in a story. [4]

Amy Beth Pascal is an American business executive and film producer. She served as the Chairperson of the Motion Pictures Group of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and Co-Chairperson of SPE, including Sony Pictures Television, from 2006 until 2015. She has overseen the production and distribution of many films and television programs, and was co-chairman during the late-2014 Sony Pictures hack.

Sony Pictures American television and film production and distribution unit of Sony

Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. is an American entertainment company that produces, acquires and distributes filmed entertainment through multiple platforms. Through an intermediate holding company called Sony Film Holding Inc., it is operated as a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., which is itself a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, a wholly owned subsidiary and the US headquarters of the Tokyo-based multinational technology and media conglomerate Sony Corporation. Based in Culver City, California, it encompasses Sony's motion picture, television production and distribution units. Its group sales in the fiscal year 2017 has been reported to be $9.133 billion.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was released in 2009 to critical acclaim. After the film was released, the two sought to try to make something different from Cloudy and pitched themselves as possible directors for the 21 Jump Street script that Michael Bacall and Jonah Hill had written. The studio agreed and the two directed their first live-action R-rated film, once again released to critical and popular acclaim which led to the production of a sequel titled 22 Jump Street .

In an interview with Robert K. Elder for his book The Best Film You've Never Seen , Lord stated that "in an animated feature, you remake the movie three or four times, and it's really easy to get bummed out that the way you did it before didn't get greenlit, didn't get paid, and you're making a totally different version of that movie." [5]

During the production of 21 Jump Street, they pitched a take on a possible Lego film to Dan Lin. Lin and Warner Bros. loved the take, so Lord and Miller wrote and eventually directed their third feature film together, The Lego Movie . The duo were picked by Warner Bros. to write the script for the upcoming superhero film The Flash . [6] The duo were also picked up in 2015 by Sony Pictures Animation to make an animated Spider-Man film with the option to direct. The film was eventually made as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), which they produced and which Lord co-wrote. [7]

The duo have recently developed a live-action/animated series, Son of Zorn , for Fox, with Jason Sudeikis voicing the lead role of animated character Zorn, and Johnny Pemberton and Cheryl Hines playing the live-action roles. [8] They are also producing a cable-TV drama based on the popular NPR/ This American Life spinoff podcast Serial . [9]

Also, they will produce an R-rated animated Netflix original film called America: The Motion Picture alongside Will Allegra, Matt Thompson, Adam Reed, Channing Tatum, Reid Carolin and Peter Kiernan from a screenplay by David Callaham and directed by Thompson. [10] [11] [10]

In January 2017, Lord and Miller began directing the then-untitled film Solo: A Star Wars Story , a standalone Star Wars movie based on the Han Solo character. On June 20, 2017 it was reported that they had been fired from the project by Lucasfilm, after over four-and-a-half months of filming, about three-quarters through principal photography. [12] Lucasfilm announced that "creative differences" were the reason, with Entertainment Weekly reporting that Lord and Miller were going off-script and trying to make the film into more of a comedy. They were unwilling to compromise with Lucasfilm and writer Lawrence Kasdan on the direction of the film, preferring their vision. Two days later, Ron Howard was announced as the replacement, to complete the film and reshoots. [13] [14] Lord and Miller received executive-producer credits on Solo: A Star Wars Story. [15]

In November 2017, Lord and Miller commented on their departure from Solo: A Star Wars Story. Lord stated "The experience of shooting the movie was wonderful. We had the most incredible cast and crew and collaborators. [...] We’re really proud of the work we did on the movie and we wish everybody the best.” Miller added "As Phil said, we had such a great relationship with cast and crew, we were really rooting for them. After we took a much-needed vacation, we got back into it and now we’re writing and producing a sequel to The Lego Movie and producing a Miles Morales animated Spider-Man." [16]

Lord and Miller are now set to direct two projects following their departure from Solo: Artemis , an adaptation of Andy Weir’s novel of the same name for Disney's 20th Century Fox, and The Last Human for Sony's TriStar Pictures. They also made a five-year deal with Sony Pictures Television to develop animated Marvel series, including a possible Into the Spider-Verse series. [17] Lord will co-write the comic Spider-Man Annual #1, marking his first involvment on a comic book. [18] He and Miller will also co-write a Marvel comic celebrating the company's 80th anniversary, marking Miller's first time writing a comic book. [19] [20] Lord and Miller are set to produce The Mitchells vs. The Machines. [21]

Filmography

Film

YearTitle Director(s) Writer(s) Producer(s) Notes
2008 Extreme Movie NoYesNoCo-writers with Adam J. Epstein, Will Forte, Andy Jacobsen, Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, John Solomon, Jorma Taccone and Erica Rivinoja
2009 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs YesYesNo
2012 21 Jump Street YesNoNo
2013 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 NoStoryExecutiveCo-story writers with Erica Rivinoja
2014 The Lego Movie YesYesNoCo-story writers with Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman
22 Jump Street YesNoExecutive
2016 Sausage Party NoNoNoSpecial Thanks
Storks NoNoExecutive
2017 Brigsby Bear NoNoYes
The Lego Batman Movie NoNoYes
The Lego Ninjago Movie NoNoYes
2018 Solo: A Star Wars Story UncreditedNoExecutiveReplaced as directors by Ron Howard
Smallfoot NoNoExecutive
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse NoPhil LordYesStory writer (Lord only), screenplay co-written with Rodney Rothman (Lord only)
2019 The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part NoYesYesCo-story writers with Matthew Fogel
2021 Artemis YesNoNoin development
TBA The Last Human [22] YesNoYes

Television

YearTitle Directors Writers Producers Notes
1999 Zoe, Duncan, Jack and Jane NoYesNoEpisode: " Crossing the Line"
2000 Go Fish NoYesNoEpisode: "Go Wrestling"
2002–2003 Clone High YesYesExecutive13 episodes; also co-creators and supervising directors
2003 Luis NoNoSupervising5 episodes
2004 Method & Red NoYesConsulting9 episodes
Episode: "Well Well Well"
Cracking Up NoNoConsulting6 episodes
2005–2006 How I Met Your Mother NoYesYes17 episodes
Episodes: "Sweet Taste of Liberty" & "Belly Full of Turkey"
2013 Brooklyn Nine-Nine YesNoExecutiveEpisode: "Pilot"
2015–2018 The Last Man on Earth YesNoExecutive67 episodes
Episodes: "Alive in Tucson" & "The Elephant in the Room"
2016–2017 Son of Zorn NoNoExecutive13 episodes
2017 Making History NoNoExecutive9 episodes
2017–present Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: The Series NoNoNoExecutive consultants
Unikitty! NoNoExecutive
2019 Bless the Harts NoNoExecutive

Acting credits

Phil Lord

YearTitleRolesNotes
1998–1999 Caroline in the City Bill3 episodes
2002–2003 Clone High Principal Dr. Cinnamon J. Scudworth and Genghis KhanVoice roles
2009 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Additional Voices

Christopher Miller

YearTitleRolesNotes
1998–1999 Caroline in the City Cliff3 episodes
2002–2003 Clone High JFK and Vice Principal Mr. ButlertronVoice roles
2009 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Additional Voices
2014 The Lego Movie TV Presenter
2018 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Additional Voices
2019 The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part Horse, Chocolate Bar, Plantimals, Paper Boy and Chad

Recurring collaborators

The following contains a list of recurring actors in films and TV shows directed, produced, and/or wrote by Lord and Miller.

Clone High Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 21 Jump Street Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 The Lego Movie 22 Jump Street The Last Man on Earth Son of Zorn Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
Will Forte
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Bill Hader
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Anna Faris
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Jake Johnson
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Jonah Hill
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Nick Offerman
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Channing Tatum
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Jason Sudekis
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Kristen Schaal
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Johnny Pemberton
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Jorma Taccone
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Accolades

YearAwardNominated workResult
2009 Satellite Award for Best Animated or Mixed Media Feature Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Nominated
2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Animated Feature Nominated
Annie Award for Best Animated Feature Nominated
Annie Award for Directing in a Feature Production Nominated
Annie Award for Writing in a Feature Production Nominated
2012 Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie: Comedy 21 Jump Street Won
2013 People's Choice Award for Favorite Comedy Movie Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Comedy Nominated
Empire Award for Best Comedy Nominated
2014 Teen Choice Award for Choice Summer Movie [23] 22 Jump Street Won
National Board of Review: Top Ten Films [24] The Lego Movie Won
National Board of Review Award for Best Original Screenplay [24] Won
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Animated Feature Won
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay Nominated
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Animated Film [25] Won
New York Film Critics Online Award for Best Animated Film Won
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Animated Film Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Picture Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Animated Film Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Animated Film Won
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Animated Film Won
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Animated FilmWon
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Animated Feature Won
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Animated Film Won
2015 People's Choice Award for Favorite Movie [26] 22 Jump StreetNominated
People's Choice Award for Favorite Comedic Movie [26] Won
People's Choice Award for Favorite Family Movie [26] The Lego MovieNominated
Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film [27] Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Animated Feature Won
Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Comedy 22 Jump StreetNominated
Annie Award for Best Animated Feature [28] The Lego MovieNominated
Annie Award for Directing in an Animated Feature Production [28] Nominated
Annie Award for Writing in an Animated Feature Production [28] Won
Satellite Award for Best Animated or Mixed Media Feature [29] Nominated
Satellite Award for Best Original Screenplay [29] Nominated
BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film Won
Saturn Award for Best Animated Film Won
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series The Last Man on Earth Nominated
Monmouth Award for Communication Excellence (MACE) [30] Lifetime contributions in the field of communicationsWon
2018Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Picture [31] (With Dan Lin) The Lego Batman Movie Nominated
2019 Annie Award for Best Animated Feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Won
Best Animated Motion Picture (With Avi Arad, Amy Pascal and Christina Steinberg)Won
Annie Award for Writing in a Feature Production (Only Phil Lord) with Rodney Rothman Won
BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film (Only Phil Lord)Won
Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film Won
Academy Award for Best Animated Feature
(With Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman)
Won

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References

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  20. https://www.polygon.com/2019/5/10/18564573/marvel-comics-80th-anniversary-1000-book
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