The LEGO Batman Movie may show you the ins and outs of Batman’s road to self-discovery – as well as his love affair with lobster thermidor – but we’ll do you one better. Here’s a behind the scenes look at our favourite black-and-yellow LEGO flick.
Director Chris McKay’s love for LEGO films started young
Like most of us, Chris McKay had his own bucket of LEGO bricks as a child, and would make his own amateur LEGO films. In a way, you could say he was kind of born to direct The LEGO Batman Movie. “I actually made very bad – but fun for me – little stop-motion movies with hand-puppet characters and the LEGO sets that I built. They allowed you to create any set you wanted to, and you could shoot anything in it” McKay said.
“So, as any kid would do, you make your own mash-up of all the things mixed up together in your toy box. It was Luke Skywalker and the GI Joe guy in the LEGO world. Those are the kinds of movies that, right away, I made as a kid. Naturally, that’s exactly what I’m doing now as an adult”.
Actors were encouraged to improvise in the voiceover booth
You’ve got to have a strong funny bone to make it in the comedy business, and even though The LEGO Batman Movie took a lot of careful construction where animation was concerned, actors and actresses were encouraged to bring their own creativity to the table by way of the script.
“There’s a ‘writer’s room’ mentality to it”, McKay says. “Sitting down in a voiceover booth with these guys and saying, ‘Just go ahead and try it. If it doesn’t work, you can try something else’… I’m a big believer in letting the DNA of all of these people you’ve invited into this process really inform the movie”.
The LEGO characters and effects were made to look as real as possible
We don’t mean like real humans, villains or superheroes – we mean like real LEGO bricks. The animation team worked tirelessly to make LEGO elements look like the well-loved bricks that they are, fingerprints, smudges, plastic sheen and all.
In total, more than 3,200 LEGO bricks were used in the making of the film, combined with both brick-based and photo-real effects. The smoke in the opening scene took more than a thousand frames to create, which meant that the actual scene took almost three months to complete.
Actors and actresses got to try on different roles for size
The LEGO Batman Movie may be taking animated films up a notch, but it also offered actors and actresses a chance to flesh out their CV. Actor Ralph Fiennes, who plays Batman’s butler and father figure Alfred Pennyworth, is known for playing the villain in most of his films – most notably Voldemort in the Harry Potter franchise. Now he finally has the chance to do a little good.
Billy Dee Williams once played the role of Gotham’s District Attorney Harvey Dent in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film, but never his evil alter ego Two-Face. Williams finally gets the chance to take on the role in The LEGO Batman Movie, showing off his villainous chops as one of the many bad guys Batman encounters.
The wonderful world of LEGO Gotham is full of surprises. Check out The LEGO Batman Movie, available on DVD now.