'Lego Batman Movie' Premiere: Will Arnett Says He's the "Absurd Batman"
The actor told THR that while he didn't consult with any of his Batman brethren before taking on the role, he did spend time with both Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck.
Will Arnett could tell you the secret to his Lego Batman voice, but then he'd—well, he wouldn't have to kill you, but there would be some fierce litigation.
"I can't. I'm all lawyered up. It's a Lloyds of London insured thing with Warner Brothers, Time Warner, and a bunch of other corporations out of the Cayman Islands and stuff," he joked to The Hollywood Reporter at the red-carpet premiere of The Lego Batman Movie in Westwood on Saturday afternoon.
The actor told THR that while he didn't consult with any of his Batman brethren before taking on the role — "I don't have a phone," he quipped — he has spent time with both Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck.
"I met Michael Keaton last year, which is pretty awesome. I'm such a big fan of his in general, and I loved — he was the first Batman on film, and I just loved what he did, and I think he's awesome. And then, I don't really know Ben, but I've kind of gotten to hang out with him a few short times over the last year, and he's a great dude. He plays this crazy, brooding, really muscular feel, like he's going to knock you out of this planet Batman. So that's cool."
For the record, stars Rosario Dawson and Jenny Slate, along with director Chris McKay and producer Dan Lin, all told THR that their favorite film Batman is Keaton.
But Lego Batman is an entirely different take on the character. "My Batman, first of all, he's Lego Batman," said Arnett, who also confirmed that the character will appear in The Lego Movie Sequel. "Doing this film in animation, it allows us to get into scenarios that are a little more preposterous, and we can kind of get away with it. I'm the absurd Batman, maybe."
Directing a Lego Batman versus a human Batman has one big difference, Lego Batman director McKay told THR: "[It's] much smaller!"
"Animation filmmaking is storytelling in slow motion, so we can actually press pause on the film and really adjust tone," he continued. "I think that's probably the biggest difference between doing a live-action movie and an animated movie — you can actually, literally, slow down the storytelling process in a way and fix all the things you need to fix, story-wise."
The family-friendly event featured a pre-party with kid-centric activities like face painting, ice skating, Lego Batmobile building and lunchbox decorating, and food including Jon and Vinny's pizza along with In-N-Out Burger, Free Range, and Van Leeuwen Ice Cream trucks. The bars were stocked with beer and wine — along with plenty of soda and Honest Kids juice boxes.
Before the screening, held at the Regency Village Theater, McKay told THR his best advice for Mike Mitchell, who was just announced as director of The Lego Movie Sequel: have fun. "The audience loves these movies, and on the first two movies, on Lego Movie and Lego Batman, we wanted to make movies that felt like we were getting away with something. It was sort of like the punk rock version of movies.... I would say just go crazy and have fun with it."
Lin said there could be many more films in the Lego Movie universe. "I hope it's endless! I approached these Lego movies as if we're trying to reinvent different genres in a Lego way. The first movie was kind of a cult adventure movie, kind of a kids' Matrix. This one is a superhero movie. The next one is a martial arts movie, and then we go into Lego 2 after that. I can't tell you about the other genres, but we're really looking at each genre and going, how do we tell it in our own Lego way?"
That means there could definitely be Lego Batman spin-off. "There are so many stories to tell, and you'll see in this movie there are multiple Lego superheroes," Lin said. "So I would love to tell more Lego superhero movies."
Dawson, for one, would be thrilled if that spin-off involved her character, new police commissioner Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl).
"I'm really excited to be able to play two different versions of [a strong woman] in this one film," she told THR. "She's Barbara Gordon, she's an incredible student and athlete, and she's well-trained in everything. She went to Harvard and she studied every single thing possible, so she can fly planes and ride motorcycles. She's so adept. She can do every type of [martial arts]; Krav Maga, she can just do everything. She works really, really, really hard because she's inspired by Batman and she wants to be as great as him, so she knows she's got to put in a lot of work to do that."
If that sounds like a sequel pitch, it kind of is. "She's got so much to offer, man! Come on."
Slate, who plays Harley Quinn, also told THR that she wouldn't mind her own spin-off. "Why wouldn't you do a Harley Quinn movie? Let these ladies shine!"
The Lego Batman Movie opens Friday, Feb. 10.