When 14-year-old Preston Mutanga shared his passion project on Twitter back in January, he had no idea it would set off a chain of events that would turn his artistic dreams into reality.
On Jan. 2, the Lego-loving aspiring animator posted a video he created as a tribute to the trailer of the upcoming movie “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (which has since been released). Using computer software, Mutanga created a shot-for-shot video of the trailer but changed the traditionally animated characters to Lego Minifigures, mirroring the style of “The Lego Movie.”
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
Mutanga’s video caught the eye of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, two writer-producers of the new “Spider-Verse” film and directors of “The Lego Movie.”
“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,’” Miller told The New York Times. “It blew us all away, including some of the best animators in the world.”
After some quick conversations behind the scenes, Christina Steinberg, one of the movie’s producers, reached out to the teenager to ask if he wanted to animate a Lego-style scene for the new movie.
With the premiere date racing closer, Mutanga dedicated his after-school time and spring break to working on the animation for the scene. He consulted with Miller weekly to ensure everyone was on the same page with the artistic style and storytelling. Not only did the teenager learn more about his craft, he told the Times he gained an understanding of the collaborative process.
“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,” he said.
On June 7, the newly minted film animator confirmed his role in the movie on Twitter — where his incredible story started.
looks like I can officially confirm it now-
yes, I animated a part for #AcrossTheSpiderVerse! it was honestly such an amazing journey and working with @philiplord, @chrizmillr, @CSteinberg9, and the rest of the spider-verse team was a dream come true. you guys absolutely ROCK pic.twitter.com/QnSZrcOf99
— LegoMe_TheOG (@FG_Artist) June 7, 2023
“It was honestly such an amazing journey and working with @philliplord, @chrizmillr, @CSteinberg9, and the rest of the spider-verse team was a dream come true,” Mutanga wrote in the post. “You guys absolutely ROCK.”
Congrats to Mutanga on the huge accomplishment! See his creation in “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” which is now showing in select theaters.