Fight­ing Fit

THE LEGO NIN­JAGO MOVIE Mini-fists fly in the lat­est brick-based spin-off…

Total Film - - Teasers - JF

The job for us is: how do we in­no­vate with each movie?” asks Lego Nin­jago Movie pro­ducer Dan Lin. Af­ter three block-busters in as many years, it’s a fair ques­tion. The an­swer? Get drunken mas­ter Jackie Chan to chore­o­graph the film’s larger-than-life fights. “The mar­tial arts is not like any­thing you’ve seen in an an­i­mated movie,” beams di­rec­tor Char­lie Bean. “It’s a chal­lenge to get them to fight real, chore­ographed kung-fu.”

Bean is talk­ing to Teasers from Syd­ney-based stu­dio An­i­mal Logic, where Nin­jago, The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie were all pro­duced. Un­like its pre­de­ces­sors, Lego Nin­jago has been adapted from an ex­ist­ing an­i­mated se­ries about a team of gi­ant ro­bot-rid­ing nin­jas who pro­tect their city from the evil Lord Gar­madon. But the film has reimag­ined Nin­jago’s world in line with The Lego Movie’s ir­rev­er­ent tone and stop-mo­tion style. “The movie and the se­ries share a lot, but you’ll see from the film that it’s one per­son’s view of what Nin­jago is,” Bean ex­plains. “The way these Lego movies work, we’re fast and loose with canon.”

With the Lego films known for their rapid-fire gag rate, Bean pop­u­lated his cast with com­edy stars in­clud­ing Dave Franco as Green Ninja Lloyd, Chan as his sen­sei Mas­ter Wu and Justin Th­er­oux as Gar­madon, who also

hap­pens to be Lloyd’s dad. “We didn’t just go af­ter the fun­ni­est peo­ple we could find, but peo­ple who are writ­ers as well,” Bean says. “Some of the fun­ni­est things that Gar­madon says is stuff that Justin came up with him­self.”

Lego Movie di­rec­tors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are “very, very in­volved” ac­cord­ing to Bean, and Nin­jago will riff on that film’s sur­prise third act by fur­ther blur­ring the lines be­tween re­al­ity and an­i­ma­tion. “This is a big ac­tion epic, so I thought, ‘Let’s bring it out­side. Let’s imag­ine that you’re play­ing in the back­yard,’” Bean says. “So any­thing that is nat­u­ral like plants and fire and wa­ter, they’re all pho­to­re­al­is­tic. And to scale, so it all feels very minia­ture. It’s the big­gest tiny film you’ve ever seen.”

ETA | 13 Oc­TO­bEr / ThE LEgO NiN­jAgO MOviE OpENs LATEr This yEAr.

brIck­ING IT?

The Green Ninja, voiced by Dave Franco, leads the charge, while Jackie Chan’s Mas­ter Wu (be­low) as­sumes the po­si­tion.

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