The LEGO Movie Cast Talks LEGO Memories
By: Lynn Barker
At LEGOLAND in southern California, actors Elizabeth Banks (WyldStyle), Will Arnett (Batman) Chris Pratt (Emmet) and Morgan Freeman (Vitruvius) got together with reporters to reveal what the kids in their lives think of LEGO toys and their take on their cute, “mini-fig” characters in the new LEGO Movie.
Batman and superheroes
Q: What is your earliest memory of LEGO in your lives?
- Elizabeth: My earliest memory of LEGOS is grabbing them from my sisters. “No! I’m playing with them!”. I was very bossy about it. Now, I have two young sons and I like to build things. I’ll admit that. I’ll spend time with my sons on the floor and build something cool and present it to them and they will immediately smash it. That’s part of their process.
- Chris: I like to make swords and weapons and whack people with ‘um. That was my thing; hit my brother with a LEGO sword and try to see how fast you could swing a LEGO sword without it breaking. Even then I was really strong.
- Morgan: My kids are grown up now but were little at one time. My memory of LEGO was just little pieces of Legos scattered all over the apartment. I don’t have any creativity with LEGO and neither did my kids. Not sure which one of them got the gift for Christmas but the pieces just wound up on the floor.
- Chris: Stepping on a LEGO piece with a bare foot is about the worst thing that can happen.
Morgan Freeman recording the voice of Vitruvius
Q: Will, any inspiration for finding your Batman voice?
- Will: We talked about listening to all the Batmen that came before. We were trying to see what would make us laugh and what we liked about all those Batmen. The first couple of sessions we spent a lot of time finding that voice. We kept hitting on (the fact that) the more serious Batman took himself, the funnier he was. That’s where we ended up.
- Morgan: Why was there no Robin? Holy Batburgers Batman! (Everybody laughs and the directors say the movie would have been too long!).
Will Arnett recording voice of Batman
Q: Are your kids excited about the movie?
- Will: I have a three year old and a five year old and they are both extremely excited. My youngest keeps referring to the movie as “the LEGO Batman movie”.
- Chris: I’ve got a one-and-a-half-year-old so he’s a little young for LEGO but I’ve got four nephews from 10 to 15 and are huge LEGO nuts and big fans. I flew them here to see the movie and go to Legoland for a Christmas present.
Chris Pratt recording voice of Emmet
- Elizabeth: At this point my nearly three-year-old son calls my mini-figure WyldStyle “Mommy-LEGO” and I let him think that.
Emmet, WyldStyle and Vitruvius with Batman in the background
Q: Did you have any backstory on your characters to work with or did you develop one?
- Will: I had the easiest job in a way because everyone knows who Batman is but what was fun is taking that iconic character who is such a part of popular culture and changing the rules a little bit. That was fun and funny. He’s not necessarily the Batman we’ve become accustomed to. But he was ultimately cool. In the end he redeems himself. He has (some good action) and gets into a few scrapes.
- Chris: Emmet’s journey in this movie is very clear. If, as an old man, he were to say “Let me tell you the story of my life”, he would just pop in the LEGO movie DVD and say “this is the entire story”. There wasn’t a lot of backstory because you know who he is when he starts out. He’s this sadly lonely character who doesn’t feel like anyone thinks he is special and through the course of this movie he’s given the opportunity to do something very extraordinary and test himself and prove he can believe in himself and become less lonely by inheriting this family of master-builders. Didn’t need too much backstory other than dufus with extraordinary things happening around him. I know how to do that. It’s happening in my real life.
Emmet out to save the day
- Elizabeth: I felt that WyldStyle really wanted to feel special in her life and isn’t quite sure what her place in the world is. Her real name is Lucy. WyldStyle is the personality that she takes on so that she can date Batman basically. She’s dark and brooding in hoodies and too cool for school. And through the course of the movie she realizes that he is just a narcissistic jerk and she can do better. I love that. She has a lot going on in the movie.
Emmet and the gang run from destruction
Q: Elizabeth, was it cool to not have to wear fancy hair and make-up for this role (after her extreme Effie look in The Hunger Games films)?
- Elizabeth: That was the best thing about it. The best thing honestly is that the girls on a movie set have to be there two and a half hours before the boys show up. So sleeping in was great and not caring about hair and make-up was great. In the recording booth, I do most of the recordings barefoot for two reasons. You’re not allowed to make any other noises. You can’t wear a watch that goes “tick, tick, tick” because they hear everything. Then I also felt very grounded to bounce around and jump around. It’s an action movie and we had to vocalize all the movement. It’s a good workout actually.
Elizabeth Banks recording voice of WyldStyle
Q: Any parallels between your Effie Trinket character and Wyldstyle in this movie?
- Elizabeth: Well they both have great hair and cool costume changes.
WyldStyle and Emmet in action
Q: Will, you sing a Batman song in the movie. What’s the story on that?
- Will: That was the directors’ idea. This Batman character that you know has this crazy dark side with stuff going on you don’t really know about. That song was a treat to do. It was kind of rough. I have a terrible singing voice so that was great. We were sing-screaming.
Batman in action with Emmet
Q: What lesson should kids take away from this movie?
- Directors: Be inspired to be creative, build, try new things and innovate. That’s a message for everybody. The film is about realizing that there is something in you that is special even if society doesn’t recognize it. There is something unique about you. Emmet discovers that.
The LEGO Movie Assembles in theaters February 7!