Wirral Life October 2017 - Page 21

W W INTERVIEW L L AN INTERVIEW WITH MATTHEW ASHTON Matthew Ashton from Upton - Vice President of Design at LEGO, co-executive producer of The LEGO® Movie, LEGO Batman Movie and Head Judge on Channel 4’s LEGO Masters show talks to Wirral Life in an exclusive interview. After achieving your degree in Fashion Design, you originally went to LEGO to do freelance work, and the rest as they say is history. But do you still harbour a desire to work in the fashion industry again? While I thoroughly enjoyed studying fashion and textile design, my heart is now well and truly rooted in the toy industry. Being a toy designer was something that I dreamed about as a kid, but was something that I never really considered a ‘real’ job, it was something Santa’s little helpers did, or Tom Hanks from the movie ‘BIG!’. I had never met a ‘real life’ toy designer, and you hear so little about them, so becoming one just seemed like a pipe dream. I knew I wanted to do something creative. I was a bit of an all-rounder at Art College, and I kind of fell into fashion as it seemed like the best thing for me at the time. Luckily for me, some LEGO talent scouts stumbled across my work at an exhibition in London, where I had minimized my final catwalk collection and displayed them on Barbie dolls. They loved my work and plucked me from obscurity and made that little ‘7 year old version of me’ dreams come true. After the enormous success of the first LEGO movie and the LEGO Batman movie (with a combined gross of nearly half a billion dollars), can you tell us if you will be producing more LEGO superhero movies - LEGO Avengers, etc? Or are you going in a different direction? There are more LEGO Movies in the works but I can’t go into the specifics of what they are as that information is highly confidential. What I can tell you is that I am currently working on The LEGO Movie 2, which is incredibly exciting but also extremely ambitious. It’s so nice to be able to bring Emmet and co. back to the big screen, but I’m afraid you guys are going to have to wait until 2019 to see what kind of adventure we are taking the gang on! You were recently head of the judges on the very popular Channel 4 show ‘LEGO Masters’. Where did that idea come from? Will there be another series? It all stemmed back to when we made a behind-the-scenes documentary for Channel 4 called ‘The Secret World of LEGO’. Part of that program focused on the recruitment process that we use for finding new talent to work in the LEGO Product Design Department. We receive so many applications for our Design Positions that we have found the best way to identify who the best people are for the job, is to select who we feel are the most appropriate candidates, and then fly them to LEGO Headquarters in Billund, Denmark for a recruitment workshop. This is where they will be interviewed but also asked to complete a series of design and building challenges, so we can see up close just how skilled and talented they are in real life, how well they work in teams and if they have the right profile to fit the job. Some very clever people at Tuesday’s Child (the production company) and Channel 4 thought this would make a perfect format for a challenge show, so they put together a pitch and presented it to the LEGO Group. We loved it and we decided to give it a go. I was then asked to go through a series of screen tests along with some other LEGO Design Employees before being cast in the very exciting but also extremely daunting role of Head Judge. The show has been amazing to be part of. I have met so many wonderful people, and all the contestants were incredible and so inspiring! The first season was quite short with just 4 episodes, so while it was a lot of fun, I really didn’t feel I got into the swing of things until the final episode and then it was all over. I really hope we get to make a second season, but I am still waiting to hear if it gets recommissioned. Fingers crossed Melvin and I will be back in the ‘Build Room’ with some brand new teams and exciting challenges at some point next year! Working with Warner Bros on the movies must have been pretty exciting compared to your normal day, was it as you dreamed it might be, or quite a challenge? Oh my gosh, when I look at my life, I can’t believe the journey I have been on. Just landing my dream job as a toy designer was incredible in itself! I would never ever have imagined that one day I would also be working on a TV show and helping to make movies too… it’s been mind-blowing! Of course, like all things in life, these projects have had their ups and downs. We have been incredibly lucky to work with some of the most talented directors, writers and animators that we could have wished for - that in itself has been a blessing. But of course on any project like this there are crazy deadlines, and heaps of opinions that cause bumps in the road - but at the end of the day, we pulled it off and made some movies we are incredibly proud of. So many people were sceptical about us venturing into movie-making territory, so the pressure was on from the get-go. It was huge relief when we received such positive reviews and overwhelming audience reactions. Those films mean so much to me! A popular reaction when we announced you as the next big interview was “Wow - he must have the world’s coolest office”. S ɕ)ѡЁ光ͥѥ́ѡݽɱͥѽ)a她dݥѠ1<́e׊eɔͼ܁ɝ)ѕԁѥЁѥѼ)ḛѡɕɔ̰́ͽɕ́Ё́ɕ)ѡ́Ё́$ٔ՝ɕͥ䁽͡ձ̸Q)1<Ʌ́Սٕɕ͕Ʌɽ́ѡݽɱͼ)ɔѡЁݔɕєɽՍ́ѡЁٔѼȁፕe)хѥ́啅ȁѕȁ啅ȁեє$ՍݽɬݥѠ)ݥɅ