Before releasing the sequels to Spider-Man: Next Generation in the cinema, the duo returns to the small screen for a wildly ambitious AppleTV+ series, both schoolboy comedy and cleverly orchestrated Cluedo, anchored in a high school reunion. …Phil Lord and Chris Miller tell us about the concept.
After playing the LEGO and at Spiderman, you wanted to launch a Murder Party?
CHRIS MILLER: I’ve always loved that. I read a lot of Agatha Christie books when I was younger. We watched on a loop Dangerous Invitations (1973), our favorite murder mystery, to Phil and me. Or key (1985). And then the series Colombo… huge ! I think there is something very human behind all this: the desire to solve puzzles! I thought it would be cool to tell a “murder mystery” through different perspectives, in the style Rashomon (the same event interpreted and told in a contradictory way by different protagonists Editor’s note). This is something that has never been done before.
the Rashomon effect what exactly does it bring to the genre?
CHRIS MILLER : So… I’m in love with Rashomon. I saw the movie when I was little and it completely blew me away. It was even downright trippy (laughs). I love this idea that everyone sees the world in their own way. It’s fascinating and it’s an inexhaustible source of inspiration in fact. Everyone thinks they are the hero of their own adventure. the Rashomon effect is perfect because it helps to show how subjective life is and how nearly impossible it is to arrive at an objective truth. Attention, I am not saying that it does not exist… in the case in our story: there was indeed a murder. But it’s a great cinematic tool to show that the world is never all black or all white. That it takes a certain empathy to understand the other’s point of view.
PHIL LORD: It’s really the perfect genre to highlight stereotypes and show that people are never what you think they are.
By the way, you saw The Last Duel of Ridley Scott in recent weeks?
CHRIS MILLER : Not yet, but it’s on my list, it looks great. I’m way behind on movies this year…
The Afterparty is in that a very conceptual series, as there was a very strong concept – that of the multiverse – behind Spider-Man: Next Generation. Do you like to rely on concepts to write?
PHIL LORD: I think above all that we don’t like to do something that we already know how to do… As a result, we tackle challenges that no one wants to tackle. In the case of new generation, nobody had done something like that before, in a big movie like that. Because on paper, it was really complicated to implement.
When you wrote The Afterparty, you knew from the beginning who would be the killer?
CHRIS MILLER : Yes, we knew. We had the solution from the start and we built the whole series as a kind of math problem. Same, we never changed the victim. It has always been Xavier (Dave Franco). Afterwards, we wrote everything down so that the public could guess who the killer was before the end. We’ve sown enough clues here and there. There are lots of little puzzles, codes to solve that help to discover the truth. Because a “murder mystery” is always much cooler when the killer can be found. When we say to ourselves:Damn, I missed that, it’s not possible!‘
PHIL LORD: The genre is successful when the narrative is constructed like that. That said, among the people who have seen the series so far, very few have found the right answer… Afterwards, as the (weekly) broadcast progresses, I’m sure that many brilliant Internet users will understand before the end !
Beyond the mystery The Afterparty is also a schoolboy comedy, about high school alumni who find themselves…
CHRIS MILLER : It wasn’t easy to find the right tone, for it not to be a silly and mean parody, a grotesque farce, but a fun “murder mystery”. The actors helped a lot with that. We thought of their characters as different personalities, so that they would be funny, but at the same time solid and not just caricatures. Xavier, for example, is so surreal that he could very quickly have been just a star pastiche. But Dave Franco wanted to create someone to whom you end up getting attached, who becomes more human from episode to episode. At the end of the day, we have affection for him. That’s the most complicated thing to write: finding a balance, composing a character that you really love and not just love to hate!
PHIL LORD: Especially since we know from the first second that Xavier dies. So during the whole process of the series, the viewer inevitably wants to see a justification, to feel that his death was deserved in some way. This is the case at the beginning, much less at the end…
Do you go to your high school reunions? You like it ?
CHRIS MILLER: This stuff is kind of like going on Facebook or Instagram, but for real. You show your old classmates the best version of yourself, the one you want them to see… But it’s funny because I went to one of mine recently. A bit like a study trip! (laughs) There’s stuff that happened in that meeting, for real, that I put on the show! But I can’t say which ones without spoilers…
PHIL LORD: Murder? Did you kill someone? (laughs)
CHRIS MILLER : No, calm down, it’s not a confession!
PHIL LORD: In mine, they gave out trophies and I got the one for Best Progress (“Most Improved”). No kidding ! (laughs)
The Afterparty, to be seen on Apple TV+ from Friday, January 28, 2022.