When Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse voice actors Hailee Steinfeld, Daniel Kaluuya and Shameik Moore took the stage to present best screenplay at the Golden Globes earlier this month, the trio claimed their intro had been written by studio executives.
But, instead, it was Spider-Verse writers Phil Lord and Chris Miller who crafted the memorably stilted dialogue, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
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“We were really happy that they wanted to have Hailee, Shameik and Daniel present and present a prestigious award,” Lord tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I think it’s a nice acknowledgment that the cast of our movie is full of Oscar nominees. Hailee is an Oscar nominee and an Academy member. Kaluuya is an [Oscar] winner. And we wanted to make sure they looked great. It’s a fun show, but you want to make sure you don’t go up there and whiff on a bit. So I think our objective was: How do we make something for them that makes them look great, that honors the category, that is still playful?”
In coming up with the segment, the duo — who have a history of writing for the Lego and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs franchises and for Apple TV+’s The Afterparty but who admit they’re “not professional variety show writers” — came up with eight options, trading ideas and soliciting suggestions from friends even as late as the Friday before the awards show. The Spider-Verse team ran through the options in rehearsal, and they knew the “studio executives” bit was a winner.
“It was very clear anytime it was pretend banter, it just always felt canned,” Lord says. “At least with the three of them, the thing that they gravitated toward and really were able to lean into and felt really confident about was the thing where they could play it really straight but still be in on the joke.”
The segment also offered one of the show’s few allusions to last year’s writers strike, which was appreciated by the head writers for the Globes, who explained they hadn’t yet found a way to acknowledge the strike, Lord and Miller recall. “They were excited about the bit because it was a way to do it with a friendly touch,” says Miller.
The moment was a hit with the star-studded audience, which included the executives who supported Spider-Verse who were sitting next to Lord, Miller and Spider-Verse directors Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson and Joaquim Dos Santos, who spoke with THR about the bit at the National Board of Review Awards last Thursday.
All three directors, who were on hand to receive the best animated feature award, said they enjoyed the intro, adding that they were “cracking up” at the “hilarious moment.”
Powers elaborated that he thought that segment reflected the film.
“I think that speaks to the spirit of the film that we made and the characters that we had them portray,” Powers told THR. “It was great to have our actors in our film, who are great personalities in their own right, highlighted.”
As for why they attributed the speech to studio executives and not AI, Miller calls the technology “comedy clam,” or something a bit “hackneyed.”
“We certainly have no love for AI and don’t want it anywhere near script-writing,” he added.
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