Jackie Chan’s Dying Wish And Other Confessions From The Cast Of The LEGO NINJAGO Movie

LEGO Ninjago Jackie Chan Justin Theroux Olivia Munn Michael Pena

Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Fred Armisen, Abbi Jacobson, Olivia Munn, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Peña, Zach Woods, and the legendary Jackie Chan voice LEGO characters in the The LEGO NINJAGO® Movie, and they are revealing a few behind the scenes secrets.

The stars and filmmakers of the latest LEGO movie traveled to the motherland - Legoland in Carlsbad, CA for a two day press tour adventure. Jackie Chan (“Kung Fu Panda,” The Karate Kid”) stars as Master Wu; Justin Theroux (“Megamind,” “The Leftovers”) is Garmadon; Dave Franco (“Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising”) plays Lloyd; and Olivia Munn (“X-Men: Apocalypse”) is Lloyd’s mom, Koko.  Making up the secret ninja crew, Michael Peña (“Ant-Man,” “The Martian”) is Kai; Fred Armisen (“Portlandia,” “SNL”) voices Cole; Kumail Nanjiani (“Silicon Valley,” “The Big Sick”) is Jay; Abbi Jacobson (“Broad City”) plays Nya; and Zach Woods (“Silicon Valley,” “The Office”) voices Zane.
In this big-screen NINJAGO adventure, the battle for NINJAGO City calls to action young Master Builder Lloyd, aka the Green Ninja, along with his friends, who are all secret ninja warriors.  Led by Master Wu, as wise-cracking as he is wise, they must defeat evil warlord Garmadon, The Worst Guy Ever, who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad.  Pitting mech against mech and father against son, the epic showdown will test this fierce but undisciplined team of modern-day ninjas, who must learn to check their egos and pull together to unleash their inner power.  

During the press conference at Legoland, the cast and filmmakers revealed some interesting facts and behind the scenes details.


Building LEGO Movie

Director Charlie Bean said they treated the movie like a LEGO set building it “brick by brick.

“We tried to make it tactile and photo real as possible. We wanted to simulate real plastic.”

Producer Dan Lin added “The LEGO NINJAGO Movie is the brightest and most beautiful. All three movie in the LEGO franchise have a different look. The Batman LEGO movie is the darkest of all three.

The NINJAGO movie is the first movie in the franchise not to use LEGO bricks for natural elements. The filmmakers created real water, smoke, fires, trees and plants.

Jackie Chan's Dying Wish

The Chinese-born legend wasn't aware of LEGOS because they didn't have them in China while he was growing up. He says his work on the movie playing Master Wu is his first experience with the toys. At first he said he was baffled that Warner Bros. wanted him to voice an animated character because of his strong accent.  “Are you sure?,” he asked the filmmakers.  He admits it took him a while to get Garmadon's name right  Now he’s got it down and he utters the name a few times during the press conference to prove it.

Jackie Chan hasn’t voiced animated characters outside of his animated series, “Jackie Chan Adventures,” so a role in “The LEGO NINJAGO® Movie” will expand his fan base to young children.

“I wanted to do it because I make a lot of action movies but sometimes these action movies, children aren’t able to see it,” said Chan. “So this is why… how can I let the children know me too?”

Chan adds he’s been working for 57 years in the industry, and his dying wish is to be remembered by even his smallest of fans.

“I want the children before I pass away to remember me.”

Good thing his Master Wu character never dies, he jokes.

Sound Booth Confessions

On animated movies, actors are often isolated from one another when they come in individually to record their character’s voice. Olivia Munn who voices Lloyd’s mom, Koko, revealed the experience was a lonely one, but after initially laying down tracks the cast for over a year later, the cast came together for additional recordings. For Justin, it was also a good experience being with the group of actors.

“You feel like a total mental case.” said Justin Theroux of his experience making funny sounds such as gasping 10 different ways in a booth by himself. “It feels like your sanity has returned when you’re in a group.

Dave Franco who plays the main hero Lloyd also thought the group dynamic was a much easier environment for improvising and being quick on your feet. “It felt a little more natural,” said the LEGO NINJAGO star.

Kumail Nanjiani (voices “Jay), on the other hand, enjoyed his alone time. “I prefer recording alone,” joked the “Silicon Valley” actor.

Fred Armison also needed no help in the sound booth. “I’m a one take person. I got it right away,” kids the former SNL cast member. At the press conference, he also revealed he wasn’t allowed to create a voice of Cole.

“I was told not to do a voice. ‘No, stop! Calm down!,’ Armison said sarcastically.

Besides Justin Theroux’s Garmadon, none of the actors created a unique voice for their characters, according to Olivia Munn. The LEGO ninjas are regular high school kids so it wouldn’t make sense to make them caricatures.  However for Theroux, who has to play the worst guy ever and dead beat dad, Garmadon’s voice had to be much deeper and sinister, says Theroux.

One of the funniest things about The LEGO NINJAGO® Movie is when Garmadon repeatedly mispronounces his son’s name Lloyd as Laloyd because of the two Ls. Munn credits Theroux with coming up with that genius improve.  Munn admitted she was a little jealous of her costar who was the only one who masked his own voice.

The LEGO NINJAGO® Movie is now in movie theaters.

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