Sophia Takal is an actor/director/producer. She directed the feature film Green and is editing a new one called Always Shine. She produces and acts in her husband, writer/director Lawrence Michael Levine’s movies like Gabi on the Roof in July and Wild Canaries, which just came out on Netflix! She also acts in other people’s movies.
Over the first two weeks of January, Talkhouse Film is running the “What We Missed” series, comprising pieces on notable movies from 2014 which were not previously covered, (almost) all of which were released prior to the launch of this site. — N.D.
The Lego Movie is the best commercial I’ve ever seen. I watched it two nights before Christmas and by the end of it I was hoping and praying that Santa would leave a ton of Legos under the Christmas tree and The Lego Movie soundtrack (which I assume is strictly comprised of versions of “Everything is Awesome” by Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Lorde, Idina Menzel, Beyoncé and Jay-Z) in my stocking.
And isn’t that what a movie should be? Something that makes you want to buy a lot of stuff? I think so. Which is why I want to take this time to pitch everyone my latest film. Well, films really, because this first one is bound to be a hit and will inevitably spawn countless sequels and spin-offs.
It’s called The Best Adventure Movie Ever (sequels will be named as follows: An Even Better Adventure Movie; We Were Wrong, This One’s A Greater Adventure; We Didn’t Think Adventures Could Get Any Better, But They Did). The film will be really HIGH OCTANE — a lot of explosions and some trippy sequences that are fun for kids and adults alike. I am talking A MASSIVE ADVENTURE MOVIE with A BOY AND A GIRL AND A SIDEKICK AND A BAD GUY! The sidekick will have his own spin-off and maybe, depending on if Girls are still in, we’ll let the girl have her own spin-off too.
The film could either be live action with lot of CGI or fully animated. Either way, we cannot set this film in the real world. No one wants to watch movies set in the real world, it’s too depressing. In a far-off land filled with candy and adventures, anything is possible.
The characters should be very likable and should be played by celebrities. Celebrities are more likable. I don’t want any new faces in this film, strictly people that I’ve seen 1000 times before. I need to know what I’m getting myself into! I’m not going to waste 90 to 120 minutes of my life with some unknown doofuses. I see enough unknown people every day on the street! If I want to stare at unknown people, I’ll take the subway! I want to watch celebrities doing things and eating candy and going on adventures!
If we go the animation route, we really should make sure that celebrities voice all the characters. Celebrity voices are more pleasant. I don’t want to hear any new voices in this film, strictly voices I’ve heard 1000 times before. I need to know what I’m getting myself into! I don’t want to waste 90 to 120 minutes listening to some voices I don’t recognize! I can listen to voices I don’t recognize on the subway!
An added benefit of putting celebrity voices in an animated film is that when the grownups get bored they can play “who is the voice of the bad guy?” and “who is the voice of the good guy?” “who is the voice of the bad guy?” and “who is the voice of the love interest?”
We’ll sell avatars of the characters for people who like to live their lives online. We’ll sell action figurines for people who still like to play in the real world. We’ll have TBAME toothbrushes, band-aids, miniature villages, candy, ice cream, apps, backpacks and clothes. And, if we are lucky, we might even be able to open up some brick-and-mortar stores that exclusively sell products based on the film. We’ll open these stores on the blocks that have the most banks — you know, the streets with four banks in a row on them? People will have to shop there because it will be the only place to spend the money they just took out of the four ATMs they walked by.
We shouldn’t spend too much money on a big soundtrack because everyone only remembers one song per movie anyway. I don’t think we’ll need to hire Elton John or Randy Newman. We’ll just stick with hiring someone to write one song and have a soundtrack where a lot of different versions are sung by people like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Lorde, Idina Menzel, Beyoncé and Jay-Z. It’s gotta be as catchy as “Let it Go” or “Everything is Awesome.”
But the most important thing about this movie is that we make sure that we are critical of the exact thing that we’re trying to promote. The Lego Movie did this so brilliantly that I want to take a cue from them: we have to be sure to take a brief but critical look at society — we’ll draw parallels between our fictional world and the real, boring and depressing world. We’ll take a stand against conformity and capitalism, pointing out how we’re mindless, brainwashed people. I know, I know, you think that’s too radical. We’re trying to maintain the status quo here! But that’s the beauty of it — by vocalizing the dissent, we can trick people into thinking this movie is different! And that it’s good for their kids to watch because it’s critical of how bad the world is! I swear it will work, they’ll still want to buy our action figures.
We’ll release it in the summer.