The phrase "the smartest person in the room" usually refers to that individual being surrounded by smug, dull as dishwater, stupid people who usually wear the additional moniker as being "in charge."
Writers/directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, self-described "nerds," have transcend such simple labels and in abandoning antiquated titles are simply conquering the cut throat world of film and TV and remaining the smartest and funniest people in the (board) room.
Lord and Miller connected freshmen year at Dartmouth College, and headed to Hollywood. That was 1997
with a mutual ambition to make a career in animation. Pitch after pitch, to create nifty Saturday morning ideas for Disney, failed.
The determination to dominate landed the duo 13 episodes of MTV's animated "Clone High and established themselves as sitcom writers/ directors. That followed with writing and directing their first animated feature, 2009's "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs."
Staying on the theme of being "the brightest in the room" the studio helped Lord and Miller to cross over to live action with (2012's) " 21 Jump Street," which generated $200 million in worldwide grosses.
Then Lord and Miller hit the "ball out of the out of the universe" with the mega, awesome hit "The Lego Movie" which created a franchise for Warner Bros. earning $462 million worldwide.
On June 13 Lord and Miller are going to "make it rain" with the release of the tremendous, hysterical sequel "22 Jump Street" starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, who are both producers on the sequel.
"22 Jump Street" does everything right and it's difficult to review without spoiling most of the hidden gems that make this film a critical success and an instant classic.
Lord and Miller shared that on June 13, they are unplugging their communication devices for a quick vacation before jumping into the new Will Forte comedy at Fox.
Both men are 38 years young and have significant loved ones: Miller has two, young children, and Lord is in a long-term relationship with jewelry designer Irene Neuwirth.
Chatting at the NYC press day here are a few interesting things that I learned about success.
We started thinking of the movie as a companion piece to the first movie and finally accepted that the first movie was going to be a big part of the sequel. Once we made that discovery, and was happy with that, the rest of the movie came a little easier.
We used many true stories from Jonah and Channing's life. When we were developing the story, we would sit down with him and talk about what it would feel like to be 30 and feeling insecure.
Channing had an experience where he almost got a chance to play college football but didn't, and so this was sort of a wish fulfillment for him. We found that the more you can tailor a movie to the people, the more funny and true stuff you're going get out of them.
On the Lego Movie's success,and Lego franchise:
We are confessed workaholics and we're not attending rehab. Example, we are working with [producers] Dan [Lin] and Roy [Lee] and Warners on developing more installments of the franchise and a few standalone offshoots. The Ninjago movie is slated already for 2016.
Musing on the chemistry of a hit:
In testing, "22Jump Street" tested 10 points higher with women than with men. The reason is that it's about a relationship. It's not a traditional relationship, but it's about feeling hurt. It's not just dumb jokes and things explode.
The movie is a romantic comedy about those two guys bonding. And obviously, the fact it stars Channing Tatum doesn't hurt.
In the marketplace when a movie plays well to men and women, especially a comedy — you capture a lot of heat.
On every movie we just try to make ourselves laugh and not to talk down to people. The only difference is the language we can use and the fact that we can shoot people. It just so happens that our sense of humor is juvenile enough.
June 13th " 22 JUMP STREET!" starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, are undercover cops continuing their adventures, this time in college!