Animator Preston Mutanga isn’t old enough to drive, and he’s still making moves in Hollywood. After the 14-year-old whiz kid from Toronto, Canada, recreated the Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse trailer shot-for-shot with digital LEGO®, he got the call to animate a segment for the actual film. But he almost missed the call due to a technical glitch.

“They sent me an email. But I didn't see it until two months later because it got sent to my junk,” he declares. Luckily, they were persistent. Mutanga got a direct message on X (formerly known as Twitter). 

The next hurdle? Getting his father, Theodore Mutanaga, to believe it was a true request. “He had to contact someone who worked at Sony, a production designer there, just to ask if it was real or not,” the younger Mutanga says. “And thankfully, yeah, it was.”

Mutanga's love of LEGO® started at a young age. “He started doing a lot of complicated constructions and built some car models with LEGO® and I thought, I gotta take a picture and store it,” states his proud papa. “We always thought that he's very artistic and one thing led to another. He started making animations, and the videos he made would be high-quality. We're happy he was found by the right people.”

With Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse currently available on VOD and out on Blu-ray on September 5, EBONY caught up with Mutanga to swing alongside his amazing journey. 

EBONY: What inspired you to recreate the trailer with digital LEGO®?

Preston Mutanga: I was super excited for the movie. When the trailer came out I was like, “Wait, there's gonna be a second one?” I also do LEGO® recreations on my channel, so I figured I could recreate the trailer using LEGO®. I knew it would be long and it’s nothing I'd ever done. But I wanted to try something different.

Did you always love Legos as a kid? 

Kind of since forever. I remember when I was young, maybe five-ish,  just really loved Legos, being creative with them and building my own stuff. That's why I like it so much. For the trailer I made, I tried to replicate the lighting based on what I was referencing and animate it close to the original. I also wanted to stay as true to LEGO® as possible.

What was your work process to get it done for the movie?

All the animation was done in my room. That took three months and a lot of it was done on March break. They sent a storyboard for me to base the animation loosely on and I worked with that the entire time.

You got to go to the premiere to see the final version the first time. What went through your mind when it popped up on screen?

It was pretty surreal. I just started off making animations in my room. Going from there to seeing my work on the big screen is amazing.

What do you want to do when you grow up?

I want to keep innovating. For now, I'm just working on uploading to my YouTube channel @legome_theog. In the future, I want to be a director and professional animator.

What advice do you give to other Black boys interested in LEGO® and the world of animation?

The best advice that I can give is just to keep doing what you love. If people say, 'Oh, you can't do this, that’s just for children,' you see how it can be turned into a full-blown job. People can do big, unexpected things; don't let anyone tell you you can't. Because you definitely can do it.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is available for purchase on streaming platforms like Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Google Play.