Will Arnett is happy going batty for Batman
Will Arnett says it's fun to bend the rules a little when playing the Lego version of the comic icon
Batman fans believes he is the coolest, handsomest, buffest and most awesome leading man of all time.
Lego Batman certainly says so all the time in the animated The Lego Batman Movie, and Will Arnett, the 46-year-old actor who reprises the role after the unexpected success of The Lego Movie (2014), agrees.
"I love this character because he has a lot of depth and mystery. Everything he does comes from an emotional place.
"Plus, he's not a guy who was born with a superpower. He is someone who faced tough times and was forced to use his head to get on top of each situation. He's Batman, but he's not perfect.
"And I think people will understand that and find it funny and human."
However, Lego Batman is also selfish, vain and a bit of a jerk.
The central theme of The Lego Batman Movie, now showing in cinemas, is teamwork and the value of friendship.
The gloomy billionaire is a go-it-alone vigilante who merely wants to save Gotham City on occasion, then retire to his Batcave to watch chick flicks and write melancholic metal rap to relieve his angst.
When the Joker (Zack Galifianakis) and his team of baddies attack Gotham City in a series of heists, culminating in a bomb that Batman must defuse, Batman must learn how to ask for help to defeat his nemesis.
Michael Cera voices the teenager Dick Grayson, who eventually becomes Batman's sidekick Robin. Rosario Dawson is the city's police commissioner Batman is smitten with; and Ralph Fiennes plays Alfred the butler.
So how did you come up with your version of Batman?
It's fun to take an icon like Batman, who has been around for over 70 years, and bend the rules a little bit to play up his flaws and make him a little goofier without entirely losing his coolness.
That was really fun the first time, and we got to do it more and more. We miked up a room and got on our feet and worked on these scenes and had an idea of where we wanted to go.
Everything he does comes from an emotional place. He’s Batman, but he’s not perfect.Will Arnett (above, second from far left), with Michael Cera and Rosario Dawson
Zach and I have known each other for a long time and we just ended up turning it into this, almost like, a lover's quarrel, these guys who couldn't get along.
And it became this other thing that just made us laugh. It ended up becoming the engine for a lot of the movie.
The fans seem to have embraced your version.
One of the great things about this movie, by virtue of the fact that it's an animated film, is that it takes a lot of chances with very beloved characters and messes around with that.
There's a fan base who is pretty vocal if you mess with what they love.
(Director) Chris McKay is a visionary and he is a really, really talented, creative dude. I am proud of some of the stuff that he has done in this. It's unlike a lot of other things.
Was it hard to record alone in the booth?
I joke that when I am working in the booth by myself, I am working with my favourite actor (laughs).
I worked with Rosario a little bit. I didn't work with Michael in the same booth but I have known him for a long time and I got to listen to a lot of what he was doing.
And that is one of the messages of the movie really, is that you can't do it alone and you are only as strong as your weakest link.
Did you ever play with Lego as a child?
My kids love Lego. I played with them when I was a kid and I have a brother who's almost 10 years my junior.
And so when I was 16, 17, I had a good excuse to play with Lego, even though I was doing it to help him.
It wasn't cool to play with it when you were a teenager, but I did it anyway.
And now that I have two sons, I play Lego with them all the time.
Did they get your action figure right?
No, not really. Maybe sometimes the crooked smile. When he turns his head and does the crooked smile, sometimes. And the abs (laughs).