CARLSBAD, Calif. — How do you build the perfect Lego movie? Piece by piece.

That’s the approach Dartmouth buddies and co-writers/co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller took when turning a famed toy into a box-office blockbuster (it is expected to hit the $100 million mark this weekend, according to Variety).

Like a game of Sorry, writing the script for “The Lego Movie” came with its own set of rules.

“We didn’t want to sell toys,” Lord says. “You might not know it, but the Lego toy company is doing really well. They didn’t need a movie.”

Warner Bros. was “very supportive,” Miller says, when the studio came to the duo best known for the hits “21 Jump Street” and “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.”“They let us make the movie we wanted,” he says. “We were told, ‘Make a bold movie and take some risks.’ ”

Reverting to childhood habits helped the project. “We did have to sit on the floor and play with Legos again while writing the script,” Miller says. “It made us remember that Legos are really a left brain toy and a right brain toy all at the same time. That is their magic.”

The film tells the story of Lego piece Emmett (voiced by Chris Pratt) who thinks he’s just an ordinary nothing. Then he’s recruited by a MasterBuilder to stop an evil Lego tyrant (Will Ferrell) from gluing their universe together.

Some 3.8 million actual Legos were used to create the film’s extensive sets. Production designers were also given use of Lego’s digital designer to add 12 million additional computer bricks.

What do the directors want audiences to walk away with after spending time with talking toys?

“They should be inspired to be create, build and innovate,” Miller says. “Also, I want them to take away the desire to see it again.”

Big Picture News Inc.