This kid is going places!
Preston Mutanga first took an interest in animation when his father introduced him to a new graphics software, Variety reports.
“[He showed me] this 3-D software called Blender and I instantly got hooked on it. I watched a lot of YouTube videos to teach myself certain stuff,” the teen recalled.
When “Across the Spider-Verse” released its trailer, the Toronto teen saw it as the perfect opportunity to put his skills to use, recreating the trailer using LEGO blocks and uploading it to Twitter. Preston’s work caught the eyes of producers Chris Lord and Phil Miller, who were both amazed. Lord and Miller also directed the 2014 film “The LEGO Movie,” and knew how hard it was to animate those shots. When the “Spider-Verse” team decided to create a scene set in the LEGO universe, they knew they needed to connect with Preston.
“We found out that it was a 14-year-old kid who made it and we were like, ‘This looks incredibly sophisticated for a nonadult, nonprofessional to have made. It blew us all away, including some of the best animators in the world,” Miller told reporters.
“‘The LEGO Movie’ is inspired by people making films with Lego bricks at home. That’s what made us want to make the movie. Then the idea in ‘Spider-Verse’ is that a hero can come from anywhere. And here comes this heroic young person who’s inspired by the movie that was inspired by people like him,” added Lord.
The teen jumped at the opportunity, working remotely from his home in Toronto, spending every other week on video calls with Miller and the team to animate a LEGO sequence for “Across the Spider-Verse.” His work got used in final cuts and now the budding animator has a credit on the blockbuster film that’s already raked in more than $235 million worldwide. Preston said he learned a lot from the experience and is even more excited to pursue a career in animation full-time, once he finishes high school of course.
“One new thing I learned was definitely the feedback aspect of it, like how much stuff actually gets changed from the beginning to the final product…I adored the first movie and was so hyped for the second one, so getting to work with the people who actually made this masterpiece was honestly like a dream,” said Preston.
Check out his original recreation of the trailer below and catch “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” currently playing in a theater near you!
I recreated the entire Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse trailer in LEGO! @philiplord @chrizmillr @terry12539 @LEGO_Group @SpiderVerse #LEGO #SpiderManAcrossTheSpiderVerse #animation #Blender3d pic.twitter.com/kYY19go7Fc— LegoMe_TheOG (@FG_Artist) January 3, 2023
Cover photo: Meet the 14-year-old who was hired as an animator on “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”/Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures/The New York Times