In order to get the choreography right in The LEGO Ninjago Movie, legendary actor and martial artist Jackie Chan advised the production team on the fights. The upcoming animated movie marks the third installment in the burgeoning LEGO Movie franchise that began three years ago with Phil Lord and Chris Miller's LEGO Movie, starring Chris Pratt in the lead role alongside several dozen other characters. And one of those characters was Batman, voiced by Will Arnett, who received his own spinoff film earlier this year: The LEGO Batman Movie.
Before The LEGO Movie 2 hits theaters in 2019, Warner Bros. has scheduled The LEGO Ninjago Movie for later this month. The animated movie marks the first major feature film for TRON: Uprising director and animator Charlie Bean. LEGO Ninjago features an impressive voice cast consisting of the likes of Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Michael Peña, Kumail Nanjiani, and Olivia Munn, as well as Jackie Chan, who plays Lord Garmadon's brother, Master Wu. But, Chan had a bigger role in making sure the LEGO Ninjago movie is the best it can be.
Ahead of the movie's release later this month, Bean sat down with SFX Magazine to discuss the next installment in Warner Bros.' LEGO franchise. In the recent interview, he revealed that Chan had consulted the creative team on how to choreograph the fights. However, the director says that Chan wasn't always interested in the task, because he didn't think that kung fu was feasible in LEGO form.
“He’s literally a kung fu master! Working with him was a rare honor. The first thing he did was move his arm in a really stiff way, and he didn’t think [LEGO kung fu] would work. So I showed him some of the tests we’d done, asked him to trust me and said to choreograph the moves as he would normally do them. Then we’d follow him and figure out how to interpret it in LEGO!”
Aside from getting the fights down right, those who are worried that they may not understand anything happening in the film because they hadn't watched the LEGO Ninjago TV show shouldn't fret. Bean says that the movie only takes basic ideas from the series but branches off into its own. Furthermore, he confirms that the movie does, indeed, exist within the overarching cinematic universe.
“We take the basic canon of the show, the characters and the concepts, and tell our own story. We’re very much in the same LEGO Cinematic Universe. The aesthetic from the beginning has been stop-motion with LEGO, and this is also very much in that vein. Also, the tone and irreverent brand of humor that all the LEGO movies have connects them together.”
When it comes to cinematic universes, the general public may be entirely focused on shared superhero universes from Marvel and DC Comics, but Warner Bros. has been slowly brewing another shared universe on the side; one set around their LEGO movies. Now, The LEGO Ninjago Movie will push the franchise forward, possibly in new directions.
Source: SFX Magazine
- The LEGO Ninjago Movie (2017) release date: Sep 22, 2017
- The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) release date: Feb 08, 2019