Will Arnett, on his third go-round as the Dark Knight in “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” sees a big difference between himself and some of the other stars to play Batman on the big screen.
“I think all of those guys are great at what they do,” he says. “And those guys are really excellent. I get to be this kind of Batman with an asterisk. I think of myself as the fun Batman.”
That’s a fair assessment. His Lego Batman amps up the darkness and seriousness to comedic effect, presenting an egotistical, cocky hero.
Pressed to reveal his "process" for getting into the mindset of the Dark Knight, Arnett, who is also finishing up work on the second half of the fifth season of "Arrested Development," walks things back a little.
“Calling it a process would probably be a bit of a stretch,” he says. “I don’t know. I try to stay sensitive to the material and what we want, what the story is overall. And I try to never forget the rules of Batman — of where he comes from and what his story is."
But that doesn’t mean Arnett’s Batman is a stagnant character. Instead, he considers one of the more unique aspects of the Lego Dark Knight to be that this odd, comical brick world is filtered through Batman’s perspective.
“If he was faced with this, if he was faced with that, if he’s being attacked, if he’s being loved,” Arnett says. “How is he equipped to deal with any one of these situations?”
BACK TO BRICKS
Growing up, Arnett called himself a Lego builder, but that diminished as he got older, until he had kids of his own and it re-entered his life, "really kind of simultaneous with me becoming part of the Lego Cinematic Universe," he says.
The actor says his own experience with the films was heightened by watching his kids develop their own relationships with Lego.
"What I want to make sure is, because I am so involved, I don’t want to in any way poison their relationship with Lego," Arnett says. "I want them to be able to have their own organic relationship with it, and just not because it’s something that dad does."
That said, the kids — Archie, 10, and Abel, 8, with actress Amy Poehler — have no trouble separating dad from his alter ego.
"I take a certain degree of pride knowing that despite the fact that Lego Batman is voiced by me, that I can still watch them enjoy playing with Lego Batman and using their own imagination to create their own scenarios and build and play and whatever and that is a little bit outside of what I do. And that is pretty — I don’t know … I’m happy. I’m happy that they’re able to carve out their own experience."