Boss Baby: Interview with Scribe McCullers

The Boss Baby, which dominates the box-office,stars Alec Baldwin as a suit-wearing, briefcase-carrying baby on a mission to contain families’ insurmountable love of puppies while escaping his new older brother.


Adapting Marla Frazee Book?

DreamWorks brought the book by Marla Frazee to me, along with the idea that it should be a sibling point of view about getting a new baby brother or sister, which is a huge part of a kid’s childhood.  I realized there’s never really been a kid movie that hits the sibling rivalry thing head-on. I got four kids–and a dog– so I immediately connected with it. I always like to pick somebody to help sharpen the voice while writing. I thought of Alec Baldwin from the start, and how he would deal with a seven-year-old.

Jokes about corporate culture?

It’s for the adults or people who don’t have kids–a lot of people know what it’s like to have a bossy baby, but even more people know what it’s like to have bosses who are basically babies. If you work in an office, you’re going to recognize some of the childish behaviors. I’ve never had a “real” job, but I’ve been around movie studios that are corporate enough to find the funny things. We tried to get enough in there to make it fun and have layered humor for kids and adults.

Editing out?

There was this joke about synergy, and someone says, “You know you made that word up,” and Boss Baby is like, “I wish!” But we figured not enough people had heard the word “synergy” for it to work.

We had to cut another scene that everybody liked but it just took too much time — Boss Baby captured a puppy in his backyard and interrogated it in the playhouse. It was the traditional hard-boiled interrogation scene, but the puppy just has these big brown eyes.

Trump References: Boss Baby’s golfing while “delegating” and the line “You’re fired”

That is a total coincidence, a gift or a nightmare, I don’t know. I first took a look at the book in 2011 and did the writing in 2012. Most of the animation was done before Trump was a serious contender. The baby turned out blonde–that also sort of made him look more like Trump, but that’s from five years ago. These movies take a long time, and there’s not been much tweaks to the content in a year or so something because they’re rendering and adding lighting and all that. There’s an overlap in “business guy” tropes, but no, it’s in no way based on Trump. It’s based on an immature, sometimes greedy business man, so if people want to draw their own conclusions about that — but no, it really wasn’t.

Audiences making political connections–Baldwin spoofs Trump on SNL?

I care more about the movie than I care about Trump. There was no political intent to the movie, just an extra weird coincidence that Alec Baldwin did Trump. People can find that connection amusing. If you go looking for a political statement in the movie, there really is one. If it makes people interested in seeing the movie, I’m glad; if it distracts people from what the movie is about, then I’m sad.

Consulting kids while writing?

I don’t product-test too much with them, but once in a while, I will. My daughter is 16, and she was very helpful.  She definitely has a point of view. My 8 and 10-year-old are good test-screening audience and helpful in seeing what kids find to be interesting.  It actually helps to not talk down to them–if you have kids, you realize they know way more than you think.