The latter plays the female master builder Wyldstyle. Banks says, “I enjoyed being an action hero. Wyldstyle is trying to live up to her name. She has a nice rebellious streak in her, which is something I think most kids can relate to, and she’s pushing the envelope a bit to establish her own way in life and her own look. What I loved about the character is that she’s smart and strong. She has kick-butt powers and a lot of sass and she’s no damsel in distress. She’s there to save the day.”
While recording her dialogue, “I rarely wore shoes,” Banks reveals. “I was usually barefoot because I like to jump around and move. You can’t make noise over your vocals, so I have to take my shoes off, especially in an action movie. There’s a lot of punching and jumping and running, and I did all of that behind the microphone.”
Will Ferrell who plays Lord Business calls his character “a real control freak. Lord Business runs everything and doesn’t want any creative expression or anyone building anything that’s not on the instruction worksheet. He’s built the entire universe just the way he wants it, just perfect, and it drives him crazy that people come around and dare to change things.”
Lord Business is also remarkably tall for a LEGO minifigure, notes Ferrell. “In his public persona as President Business he has a more pleasant look, very corporate, three-piece-suit and a tie and not a hair out of place. However, when he reveals his true self, the maniacal Lord Business, he wears an impressive cape and 20-foot-tall boots—or, the 20-foot equivalent in LEGO terms—so he can look even more evil and terrifying.”
Lord Business’s number one enforcer is the alternately intimidating and wacky Bad Cop/Good Cop, a swivel-headed minifigure with a split personality, each of which is voiced by Liam Neeson.
“What’s so fresh about Bad Cop/Good Cop is that we literally see both sides of him,” says producer Dan Lin. “He’s Bad Cop whenever he’s executing Lord Business’s orders, and that’s the straight-ahead tough guy we’re used to seeing in the movies. Then he’s got the Good Cop side too, so he’s fighting with himself. One side of his face has the mirrored sunglasses and gritted teeth and is very stern, and the opposite side is much softer, with a smile, and Liam gives each of them their own identity.”
“When I saw some of the animation, and bearing in mind the history of New York police, I thought he should be Irish, and specifically from the North of Ireland,” says Neeson, who gave Bad Cop that particular accent, while bringing a distinctly different inflection to his better half. “The Good Cop, he’s Irish too, but he’s a wee bit more feisty.”
Neeson and Ferrell acted out some of their interactions and improvised together, via headphones, while Neeson was in a recording studio in New York and Ferrell was in Los Angeles. “Liam’s measured and mostly serious delivery as Bad Cop juxtaposed against Will’s outsized comedy take on Lord Business is hilarious,” says Lin.
In Morgan Freeman’s case, it’s his famously rich and authoritative voice that makes his characterization of the presumably wise wizard Vitruvius so laughable. Whether in his dramatic roles or noted documentary narrations, Freeman’s delivery unfailingly lends an air of truth and substance to whatever is being spoken. However, audiences will quickly grasp that not everything Vitruvius says can be trusted—or even makes much sense.
An ancient hippie sage clad in sandals and a tie-dyed shirt barely visible under his voluminous white beard, “Vitruvius talks a good game but he’s a little hazy on the details: like the prophecy and how, exactly, they’re going to stop Lord Business,” Miller concedes. “It’s almost as if he’s making it up as he goes along.”
Longtime fans of Freeman’s work will be surprised that this is the first time he has applied his resonant voice to an animated movie.
Opening across the Philippines on Thursday, Feb. 6, “The LEGO Movie” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.
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