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The LEGO Ninjago Movie’s Kick Butt Cast Interview

Sep 20, 2017

By: Lynn Barker

Some of the lead characters in The LEGO Ninjago Movie are Garmadon (a master villain voiced by Justin Theroux), his secret Green Ninja son Lloyd (Dave Franco) and ninja sensei Master Wu (Jackie Chan). You might be a fan of the T.V. series or just have fun with LEGOs and the recent movies featuring the cool little plastic figures.

The gang is ready to save the cityThe gang is ready to save the city

In the film, there is a huge battle for Ninjago City. It’s warlord Garmadon vs. The Green Ninja (secretly Lloyd) and his teenaged fellow ninjas and their cool Mechs. Unfortunately, everybody hates Lloyd because he is Garmadon’s son but they love The Green Ninja. Master Wu is trying to shape up and organize the young warriors; teaching them to discover that each has a master power controlled from within. Right now they are just surviving high school and kicking butt.

Green Ninja in his dragon MechGreen Ninja in his dragon Mech

Check what Jackie (famous martial artist/actor and voice of Monkey in the Kung Fu Panda films), Justin Theroux and Dave Franco say about LEGOs and creating voices for their tiny but mighty plastic characters.

Q: Dave, what made you want to join the cast of this movie?

  • Dave: The creative team behind these movies somehow finds a way to  make the humor appeal equally to my nephews who are all under the age of five and to my friends who are in their 30’s. That’s not an easy task.

Q: Jackie, how about you? Why did you want to be a part of this movie?

  • Jackie: A lot of times I do an action movie and kids can’t see it (R-rating). This one I said “How can I let the children know me too?” A long time ago I had “Jackie Chan Adventures” (An animated TV series starring a version of Jackie) so all over the world kids are going “Jackie! Jackie”. They knew me growing up. Now there will be new kids because Master Wu never dies.

Master Wu instructs the young ninjasMaster Wu instructs the young ninjas

Q: Jackie, what advice would you give to all the young would-be martial arts practitioners out there?

  • Jackie: Just practice. You have to practice to knock somebody down. Just treat martial arts like exercise. It’s good for your brain, your health, everything. When you know martial arts, you respect everybody; your parents, your teachers, nature, the whole world. I think martial arts is a good exercise sport.

Jackie Chan tells the Ninjango storyJackie Chan tells the Ninjango story

Q: Jackie, how early on did you know that you would not only be the voice of Master Wu but also do the fight choreography for the LEGO characters in the film? How was that process?

  • Jackie: First, I don’t know why they hired me to be the voice (he has a very thick Chinese accent). I don’t speak perfect English. The director said “That’s what we want”. You are Master Wu. You speak Jackie Chan English. “Okay”. When I saw some action for the film that didn’t make sense I’d tell the director “Hey, it should be like this or that”. We’d sit down and talk. The director would have an idea, I’d say hire a stunt team, we can teach you how to do it. We are all actors. He did. I’d fly all around (the world) to do (voice recording) for this character. Now I know how famous these movies are. I didn’t grow up with LEGO.

Ninjago City under attackNinjago City under attack

Q: Justin, did you get to record your Garmedon voice with anyone else or all alone?

  • Justin: Dave and I did a whole bunch of stuff together (as Garmadon and Lloyd) then we had one day where (the whole cast) got in a room together to comb over the movie and do stuff there. It was a blast. It’s my first voice thing. I’ve never really worked in this process but it’s a very forgiving process for people doing the voices because there is no pressure to nail it on the day. You can come in many times and keep doing things.
  • Dave: And it’s more fun being in the room with the other actors because you can improvise together and find things that weren’t initially on the page. When you’re improvising, the dialogue always feels a little more natural. Everyone (in the cast) is such a great comedic actor. On the day we were all together there was a point when I just sat down to watch all of them as a fan because they are all so quick-witted and it’s really inspiring.

Warlord Garmadon at his worstWarlord Garmadon at his worst

Q: Justin, you don’t sound like Garmedon. Did you feel you needed to create the voice?  

  • Justin: Yes because my voice isn’t particularly scary. The voice kind of just fell off the truck. We were just playing around and obviously Garmedon needed to have a bigger voice (as the villain). We started with scenes where I’m attacking the city so I’d have to be like screaming. In scenes with Lloyd, I’d have to be more sinister so I lowered my voice.

Blonde Lloyd and his ninja palsBlonde Lloyd and his ninja pals

Q: How was doing lines with Jackie?

  • Justin: It was fun to have fight scenes with Jackie with zero chance of getting hurt.

Q: Wasn’t it your idea to call Lloyd La-Lloyd because there are two “l’s” in a row in his name?

  • Justin: Yeah, through the entire movie. It’s so annoying

Kids on the school bus hate LloydKids on the school bus hate Lloyd

Q: And hilarious! Jackie, you’ve been in the “Adventures” TV series and in Kung Fu Panda movies. Are animated films good at showing what martial arts can do?

  • Jackie: Sometimes in the real world martial arts has limits but in cartoons (animated films), it’s unlimited. You can do anything and everything and you never get old.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie PosterThe LEGO Ninjago Movie Poster

You can see The LEGO Ninjago Movie in theaters Friday, September 22nd!


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