Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse seemingly came out of nowhere and exploded box offices. It’s already made over $235 million and is gaining constant and high praise all over social media. Fans of the film especially love the exquisite and innovative animation design, heralding it as “wonderfully creative” and “visually dazzling.”
It turns out that one of the genius animators was a 14-year-old kid from Canada.
How Preston Mutanga, 14, Got Hired to Animate on Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Born in Minnesota to immigrant parents from Cameroon, 14-year-old Preston Mutanga currently lives in Toronto, Canada. With a passion for comics, animation, and Lego, Mutanga started a fun project that eventually got him noticed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the writer-producers of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.
In January of this year, Mutanga posted a Lego version of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’s movie trailer, which he built and animated himself. Lord and Miller also directed The Lego Movie (2014), and when they came across Mutanga’s trailer, they were seriously impressed. Check it out below!
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
After later deciding to include a Lego sequence in the Spider Verse sequel, they knew who they wanted to animate it. The New York Times reported Miller’s reaction,
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.
14-Year-Old Spider Verse Animator is Self Taught
Preston Mutanga’s parents are luckily very supportive of their son’s dreams and undeniable gift. His father introduced him to Blender, a 3-D software that he immediately took to. Then Mutanga says he simply “watched a lot of YouTube videos to teach [himself] certain stuff.”
After vetting and confirming his son’s wild Hollywood offer was real, Theodore Mutanga literally built Preston a new computer and invested in a professional graphics card. In between homework and school, Preston chatted virtually with the production team for feedback and gained a huge highlight on his resume for a future career in animation.
The New York Times quotes Phil Lord:
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.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is in theaters now starring the voice talents of Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy, Oscar Isaac as Miguel O’Hara, Shameik Moore as Miles Morales, Issa Rae as Spider-Woman, Daniel Kaluuya as Spider-Punk, Jake Johnson as Spider-Man, and more!
Keep your eye out for Preston’s Lego sequence toward the beginning of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse!