Before Phil Lord and Chris Miller hit big with the one-two punch of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (2009) and 21 Jump Street (2012), they were probably best known for creating, along with Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence, the cult animated series Clone High. First airing for one season on Canadian TV and then only getting a portion of its run broadcast on MTV before getting cancelled due to low ratings, the show centered on the teenage clones of John F. Kennedy, Cleopatra, Abe Lincoln, Joan of Arc and Gandhi, all attending a high school controlled by a shadowy organization known as the Secret Board of Shadowy Figures. Although it did not reach much of an audience initially, the show’s reputation and fan base have grown over the years.
For Lord and Miller, the show has not been far from their hearts either. While doing the publicity rounds for their latest film, 22 Jump Street, the pair told Collider that they have been thinking about possibly moving the show to the big screen. But there are some hurdles that will first need to be cleared.
Miller: We talk very regularly now with Bill every few months or so, we talk about ‘How are we going to get this back in whatever form we can?’ We get our lawyers to talk to each other, and business affairs people to talk to each other. It’s very complicated.
Lord: And then we get tired.
Miller: It’s very hard (laughs). Because it’s at Viacom/MTV, we have a TV deal at Fox, he has a TV deal at Warner Bros. It’s all very complicated, and then it’s ‘should we do a movie, or a TV show, or whatever?’ But, we’re working on it! It’s hard!
But beyond just working through everyone’s contractual commitments, the pair state that there is the more practical consideration of exactly what shape would a movie version of the series take and to what kind of audience would they be trying to appeal to.
Lord: It’s also a tricky thing because we basically made a PG-13 TV series, and if you’re gonna do a movie you wonder, ‘Am I gonna have to justify the budget that it’s gonna take by trying to broaden this to a family audience, and is that gonna kill what was fun about the original thing?’ Because there’s so much blood in the original series (laughs).
Miller: And innuendo or whatever.
Lord: And JFK sex jokes. Are you going to wind up defanging it?
Miller: Are you gonna make it R? PG-13?
Lord: It’s trying to cross-reference what it’s gonna cost and what it’s gonna make.
Miller: [Hard R-rated animated films] I think is a hole in the marketplace, because people love R-rated comedies and there’s teen boys that love all the Family Guy, Simpsons-type of shows. There’s a market there for that.
Lord: The Simpsons Movie was PG-13. It had male-frontal nudity in it.
Miller: South Park movie was R. There’s a place that people are not occupying thinking that animated has to be family always, and I don’t think that’s true. I think [Sausage Party] is gonna do great. Those guys are so funny and talented.
If a Clone High feature were to come, it is still very far off.