Chris Miller and Lord Phil shared how Agatha Christie helped them create The Afterparty
by Jaskiran Kaur | Sun, 06 Feb 2022 18:39:14 GMT
Image Source: Rotten Tomatoes, DiscussingFilm

The creators of The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street, and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Chris Miller and Phil Lord, came together to share their experience when making Afterparty and listing all of their favorite films, series, and books. 

Chris Miller started by sharing how he came up with the idea of Afterparty. "I grew up as a huge murder mystery fan and read all the Agatha Christie books and watched Columbo, Clue, The Last of Sheila, and whatever we could get our hands-on, and had always wanted to do a murder mystery," he revealed. "Then I had this idea to do it in a sort of Rashomon way where each suspect could tell their version of the night, and then you could figure out who did it by hearing all of the different stories, which was a fun puzzle to solve, so we wrote it as a movie."

The movie could not become a reality for a long while as Chris Miller got busy with other projects and films. However, once he was done with them, he had the time to think about how he wanted to shape Afterparty. The 'breather' helped him to change his perception of things. He shared that things could feel like characters on a paper, 'caricatures' or two-dimensional' beings. 

"But if you see it through someone else’s eyes, you’ll realize that they’re surprising, complicated, and going through their own stuff – there’s a lot more going on than you realize," he disclosed. 

And yet, the same theory was difficult to translate into a 'two hours' film. "Each story, each person’s perspective doesn’t give you a lot of time. So we thought, what if we open it up into a series where we give each character their own episode, then we can really dive into them individually and get to empathize with them," he explained. "Then also, we can lean into how they see the world and the styling of how they are the hero of their own movie. That really let us push them each as their own film genre. And that’s when the whole thing really blossomed into something special."

When it was revealed that Sam Richardson liked Noir, Phil Lord shared that that particular episode 'turned out better than I would have guessed somehow.'

Lord explained that things are different on set, 'spooky' in a sense, and the creators do not get to be sure of how things can come out to be. The music track and the timing of the scenes add a lot more substance to the film or series, and that can only be assessed once the work reaches the editing room. 

"It’s hard to know if you’re succeeding when you’re shooting that stuff. At least, that’s what I noticed," he elaborated. Whereas, like, the musical is the opposite. Where it’s like, you’re doing all this preparation, and it comes together at that moment, and the way Chris decided to shoot it was in a lot of big chunks that were, you know, the pretty long shot takes. And so it comes to life, and it’s there, and it feels like magic, and you get really excited. That was a really fun experience to witness on stage."

To this, Chris Miller added, "What’s crazy about it is that each one was really hard because you’re making a bespoke movie for each episode that has all of its own unique things like there’s different lenses and film camera styles, there’s different lighting, there’s different costumes, etc."

Revealing the easter egg hidden in the film, Miller divulged, "Each character has a slightly different costume in each episode that only really savvy viewers will notice. There are different challenges, and like the musical one, obviously, you have to make and write a bunch of songs and do a bunch of choreography and rehearsals to prepare for that."

But despite all the challenges, Phil Lord and Chris Miller went head-on for this initiative because they really loved doing this new thing in the cinematic arts and wanted to see how it all would turn out. The series will also have some animated episodes with caricatures of the actors starring in the roles. Miller said that it was created with a distinct 'pipeline' as they managed to create a different environment for all the characters according to their narrative. 

"At the same time, while we’re trying to shoot a really ambitious show, it ended up being really rewarding because each day you’re going, “Alright, we’re doing something totally new,” and it was really fun," he gushed. 

The creators continued on to name The Thin man, Murder by Death, Knives Out, books by Agatha Christie, Last of Shiela by Stephen Sondheim as their favorite works of the past years. 

When sharing his favorite watch from 2021, Chris Miller shared, "I’m just gonna cop out and say Mitchells vs The Machines." "Like, I thought this season of Succession was very compelling. It’s funny how they always sort of like ring a bell and then spend the season unringing the bell and then ring a new bell at the end of the season. But it’s so wonderful," he continued. "It’s a comedy, but it’s a drama, and it’s a mystery to me because all the characters are terrible people conceived by wonderful people. And I still somehow empathize with them. And I’m compelled to find out what happens, which sort of goes against my very understanding of how stories work. So it’s a real feat, that show."

The AfterParty is an Apple TV+ comedy by Lord Phil and Chris Miller; Credits: Apple

And then Phil Lord divulged that his favorite watch of the year would be King Richard, Coda, and Cmon, Cmon. He also added Power of the Dog to the list. "I thought there have been a lot of great movies and the ones that I’ve gravitated towards are the ones that don’t just hold up a mirror to how challenging our times are, but rather offer something hopeful or inspirational, or try to help us imagine what goodness looks like," he ended. "That’s what I appreciated about a lot of those movies this year."