February 1 was family day at the Regency Village Theater in the Westwood section of Los Angeles, where such A-listers as Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg and Elizabeth Banks turned out with their pint-sized broods in tow for the world premiere of “The Lego movie,” Phil Lord’s and Christopher Miller’s long-awaited, computer-animated ode to Denmark’s ubiquitous toy juggernaut.
Ferrell, who sported a Seattle Seahawks sweatshirt and blue and orange sneakers to the Saturday morning matinee, described the 3-D film’s humor as “subversive.”
“He literally runs every single aspect of the Lego World,” noted the comic actor of his character, President Business, a controlling Lego despot angling to squash the fun out of freestyle brick building (sans instructions) by gluing together the entire Lego universe en masse. “He’s not about any sort of creativity.”
“The movie is really about this idea that there are many of us in this world that go around acting as if we’re robots,” added Will Arnett, who voices Batman, a Lego Master Builder with designs on Banks’ Wyldstyle, a scrappy, street smart Master Builder with Ninja moves and Emo hair. “It examines what happens when we head out on our own to create our own separate paths.”
Alison Brie, who plays Unikitty, a candy-colored half-unicorn/half-kitten, walked the red carpet clutching the fruits of her own creative efforts: an assembled Unikitty minifigure.
“I spent an hour putting together Unikitty and her whole little town and it was really fun,” said the “Mad Men” and “Community” star, decked out in a coral pink J. Mendel mini-dress and beige patent leather Laboutins that were, admittedly, a size too small. “She has a fun house that has things that move and twist and a little flower that kinds of goes up and down.”
Others on hand for the premiere were “Lego” producer Dan Lin, and co-stars Chris Pratt (“Emmet”), Cobie Smulders (“Wonder Woman”) and Charlie Day (“Benny”). Industry moms Busy Phillips (“Cougar Town”), Anna Faris (“House Bunny”) and Jaime Pressly (“Two and a Half Men”) were also in attendance.
While some waxed nostalgic about growing up with Lego blocks aplenty—“We both were really into the classic space stuff from the 70’s and 80’s,” said Lord; “Grey triangles were a major part of my childhood,” said Miller—Morgan Freeman admitted to never having played with them as a kid.
“I never had any Legos,” revealed the Oscar-winning vet, who plays Vitruvius, an old wizard Master Builder. “What I did was play cowboy. I’d use the handle of a broom and pretend it was a pistol.”
Following the film, guests gathered outdoors for a Lego-themed fete. Warner Brothers went all out, erecting a makeshift Lego universe complete with a “Bricksburg” candy bar where kids could bag handfuls of gummy bears, jelly rings and other sugary treats; fake tattoo parlor; hula hoop toss and giant Jenga game; and play tables where kids could build Lego sets to their heart’s content. Actors in Emmet and Wyldstyle costumes circulated the party snapping pictures with toddler and tween fans, all of whom received Lego gift bags stuffed with trinkets, a book and t-shirt.
Edible fare was of the kid-friendly, comfort food variety: pizza and hot dogs, an In-N-Out burger truck and a Tex-Mex taco stand with cheese quesadillas, gluten-free rice and beans, and chips and guacamole on its menu.
Miller chowed down on a cheeseburger while discussing the inspiration for the film—and its twist of an ending.
“We always felt like we wanted to take it somewhere surprising at the end,” he said of the script, based on a story idea by Dan and Kevin Hageman. “We always wanted to do the ‘Matrix’ for children, or ‘Prometheus.’”
“We wanted it to feel like it was from the mind of an 8 year-old,” continued Lord, “but with a story that makes sense so that was sort of our guiding principal.”
To research the film, Miller and Lord, currently editing “21 Jump Street,” spent time at the original Lego factory in Billund, Denmark.
“We saw the crazy robots that make the toys,” said Lord. “We visited the archives and the museum and really got an appreciation for their culture and their philosophy which is pretty awesome.”
“Denmark is a great place,” said Miller, finishing the final bite of his burger. “There’s a lot of bacon and salted fish. Their portions are very large. They’re a very large people. They used to be Vikings, you know.”