We Spoke to the Cast of “Lego Ninjago” About Voicing the Characters & Martial Arts
The Lego Movie, Lego Batman, and now the latest to the universe, The Lego Ninjago Movie!
Recently, Warner Bros. Pictures invited us down to beautiful Carlsbad, Calif. to visit Legoland, in honor of the franchise's latest big screen film. In addition to screening the Ninjago film and then visiting Legoland, along with a night at the Legoland Hotel, we actually got to chat with the star-studded cast during the official Ninjago press conference, including Jackie Chan, Dave Franco, Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Pena, Abbi Jacobson, Olivia Munn and Zach Woods, among others.
Each told us about what drew them to the new Ninjago movie, what it was like voicing their characters, and Chan even to offered advice to future martial artists.
What made you guys decide to jump in on the Lego movie franchise?
Dave Franco: The creative team behind these movies somehow finds a way to make the humor appeal equally to my nephews, who are all under 5 as it does to my friends who are in their 30's. That's not an easy task.
Michael Peña: For me, I didn't care who was making the Ninjago movie, I was going to be in it. My son and I watched the first two seasons and we love it for that. My son was so excited for it, we came into Legoland and his head exploded about three times. He said it was the best movie he's ever seen.
Jackie, there are a lot of future martial artists out there after this movie. What is your advice for future kung fu and karate artists?
Jackie Chan: Just practice. You don't have to practice by knocking somebody down, just do martial art exercises. Good for your brain, good for your health, good for your everything. Martial art is a good exercise sport.
Jackie, how early on did you know that you weren't only going to voice Master Wu, but also design some of the choreography for some of the Legos.
Jackie: First, I don't know they hired me to be the voice. I don't speak perfect English, why me? and they said, "that's what we want. You speak how you are." Later on, I saw some of the action and just thought that it didn't make any sense. I told the director how it would actually work and we sat down and talked about it.
Did you guys do your voice recordings alone or together and how did that help with the movie?
Justin Theroux: We did both. Dave and I did a bunch of stuff together as father and son. There were some days where we were able to do a bunch together and it was a blast.
Olivia Munn: For this, it was pretty easy because you come in and voice multiple ways and then hear them after in action and just choose. The other day Abby and I were at dinner and we were talking about how we used our real voices, but Justin came up with a voice for his character and we were wondering if we should've done a special voice too. I could've been British!
Dave: It's more fun being in the room with the other actors for obvious reasons you can improvise together and find things that weren't on the page. When you're improvising you find things come out a little bit more natural and everyone here is such a great comedic actor and I remember the day when we were all there together I got to sit down and watch them all work as a fan.
Kumail Nanjiani: I definitely preferred just recording alone. Not having to say hi to a bunch of people. I had to ask everybody to turn away so I can do my lines.
Jackie, why did you decide to hop onto this project?
Jackie: I decided to do it because I do a lot of action movies that kids can't really see. So a long time ago I had Jackie Chan Adventures, every time I traveled the world kids would run up, "Jackie, Jackie!" and I just thought wow all this from an animated show. So nowadays everybody tells me, "Jackie I watched all your stuff growing up!" I want the children now, before I pass away, to remember me so that's why I did the Lego movie for the kids now and the future. Master Wu never dies.
Ninjago is out in theaters now and you can purchase tickets here.