The LEGO Movie took more than $450m after its release in 2014 and Arnett’s Batman character was one of the highlights of the well-received production, the actor and comedian telling Entertainment Weekly that the decision to make the LEGO Batman Movie was taken almost immediately.
“The returns kept coming back bigger and bigger, and we felt really good about the movie and were all out celebrating – everybody that was part of the team, the studio, the producers, the cast – and it was kind of tipped that night. ‘Alright, next up is Batman,’” he recalls. “And I was like, ‘What?! Really?’ They’re like, ‘Yeah man, let’s do it.’ That’s literally how it happened.”
The LEGO Batman Movie is set for release in early 2017 and Arnett confirmed the block-built caped crusader will continue to be the surliest representation of Bruce Wayne’s alter ego perhaps ever seen. “What came out of The LEGO Movie was the idea of, Batman’s the Dark Knight, so why is he so moody? What’s going on? Why is he so banged up? And wouldn’t it be fun to get in there and explore that?” he explains.
“[Exploring Batman’s moodiness] was always the intention, but as you record a few sessions and you get on these tangents, you end up taking the entire story down a road that wasn’t necessarily the intended road. It can totally drastically change the narrative just through goofing around.
“Sometimes what’s funny is when Batman is at odds emotionally with what we think we know about him in our version. We have moments where we make him a little bit insecure, and moments where you make him weirdly confident in ways he doesn’t necessarily deserve to be.
“When we were first finding the Batman voice and finding what was making us laugh the first time around, it took us a beat to wade through the different things we liked and found funny about each Batman. I tried to look at all of the Batmen.
“Now, I feel like I’m in a zone where I’m just really lucky that I’ve got all of these great guys who played Batman before me, and the comics before that, and I get to draw on this deep well and just mix and match.”
The LEGO Batman Movie contains an all-star cast to rival the LEGO Movie, with Rosario Dawson as Batgirl, Ralph Fiennes as Alfred, Michael Cera as Robin, Mariah Carey as the Mayor of Gotham City and Zach Galifianakis as the Joker, and has Robot Chicken’s Chris McKay as director. LEGO Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are producers, with Seth Grahame-Smith the LEGO Batman Movie writer.
Arnett feels his friendship with Galifianakis comes through in the film. “I’ve known Zach forever. The dynamic we landed on for Batman and the Joker that really works for us,” he acknowledges. “I would describe [the dynamic] as… refreshing. It’s a little bit surprising. It’s not what people are accustomed to with regards to these two characters.”
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