LEGO and DC Comics have banded together again!
LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Cosmic Clash premiered at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles and New York. The Geek Chic Elite attended the New York premiere on Feb. 27. On hand were voice actors Troy Baker (Batman), James Arnold Taylor (Flash) and Khary Peyton (Cyborg), along with director Rick Morales, screenwriter Jim Krieg and producer Brandon Vietti. The film is available for digital download and comes to DVD and Blu-Ray on March 1.
The movie displays the classic humor audiences have come to know and love, despite its influence from Grant Morrison’s definitive Batman run Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne. Batman indeed time travels to the caveman days, the age of pirates and to the future. Writer Jim Krieg joked in the Q&A after the screening that he really wanted to include the most important exercise equipment in the DC Universe: the Cosmic Treadmill. It leads to a very tired Flash (and a product placement from Batman).
The Justice League faces off against Brainiac, who has been collecting planets and sets his next target on Earth. While some of the Justice League are captured and dispersed throughout time, it is up to Batman to call upon his inclusive knowledge of the league to restore them to present day, with a little help from the Legion of Super-Heroes.
Here are some of the highlights of our chat with Troy Baker, Khary Peyton and Brandon Vietti. In addition, watch snippets from the Q&A panel in the video below.
Troy Baker, Batman
Is there a different approach to how you return to Batman vs. doing a new character?
– Well yeah, you’ve got more than 75 years of history to pull from, that’s why I think I like doing LEGO Batman more than if I had to do, like if Christopher Nolan wanted me to be Batman that would lead to me peeing my pants first. The fact that we can pull from movies, pull from 60’s Batman, pull from the comics, pull from the animated series, and pull from all these things and make it into a buffet of Batman, it takes the pressure off me. And, Batman in this, he is the epitome of part. He’s just this great guy, and surrounded by genius. We have people like Khary Peyton and James Arnold Taylor who can really land the jokes, and it’s a series of lay-ups. So, the approach is just get out of your own way.
Do you record in the same room?
– A lot of times yeah. A lot of the times it is in pieces, so in this one there are a lot of scenes between Batman and Flash, so James and I recorded together, Khary was in there with us as well a lot of the times. They intentionally don’t put Nolan [North] and I in the same room together because nothing would ever get done.
Is that why Nolan is not here?
– That’s why he’s not here today! It’s like ‘all right, we do a coin toss, who is going here? Ok, Troy you’re going here this time.’ Fortunately, it’s one of the coolest perks of the job to be on the scene and recording. Everyone is happy recording and admiring of each other’s talents.
Is there anything worse then stepping on a LEGO brick?
– There is nothing worse than that. I think that has caused a few world wars.
Being that the characters time travel in the film, where and when would you time travel to?
– Man, that’s like the ultimate question, because these are the kinds of thoughts that literally keep me up at night. There is a lot of me that would love to go to Medieval times, but more so a sanitary version of that.
Like Medieval Times?
– Exactly, so if you could go and there and, knights and dragons, but indoor plumbing, and no dysentery, that would be like if I could have my amusement park version of that time period.
Brandon Vietti, Producer
What attracted you to doing LEGO Films?
– Well, so much, it’s fun, it is toys and it’s DC all coming together. It’s really my childhood and getting to play.
How much free reign do you get in working with both LEGO and DC Comics?
– We get to do the stories we’d like to do. And also with working with LEGO, we get their ideas. It really is like working with your friends.
Khary Peyton, Cyborg
Being that the characters time travel in the film, where and when would you time travel?
– This is always a weird question for me, because before toilets, I’m just not going back before toilets! I’d probably go into the future somewhere and see how that goes. Before toilets I just feel like I would be hit by the sights and sounds and smells, horses – they leave behind a lot and they literally almost shut down New York City. I think I’m going to the future.
Is there a difference in how you approach a new character v. a character you’ve done before?
– Of course there is the familiarity with Cyborg I’ve been doing for so long, and he was my first audition and first job. I was pretty much just playing myself.
So you were hungry all the time?
– I got a metabolism! Always looking for granola!
Is there anything worse then stepping on a LEGO brick?
– No! There is nothing worse, but there is also nothing better than putting together LEGOs. It’s one of those things that you take your time with.
Who are your favorite voice actors?
– My favorite voice actor period is Dee Bradley Baker. And it doesn’t matter what he does. He’s always the monster in the first Teen Titans and to watch him work, they would ask for a plasma monster and he would sound like a plasma monster. And then they would be like we need an ice monster and he would change the monster, there would be no English and it would sound like an ice monster. He’s absolutely the most brilliant and sweetest man you ever meet. Dee Bradley Baker- it begins and ends with him.
What is the difference between your Teen Titans Cyborg and your LEGO Cyborg?
– In LEGO, he is a fanboy of the crew. He’s crazy about just hanging out with Batman and Superman. In this time, he is starting to come into his own and be a member of the team and not feel so the little brother. He still feels like it a little bit. He feels like he has to step up in this movie.
How long does it take to put your voice part together?
– It takes months; we don’t record it all in one shot. We record it in maybe ten sessions throughout the year, so it’s a different kind of process with LEGO. Whereas, it is a TV show you record it all in one go in four hours. With something like this, we’re layering animation on top of voice and then we play around with a little bit. I stick to the script a little more with the LEGO movies, but I do play around a little bit. A lot of the times they’ll come back and be like ‘we changed these things and we now want to do this now,’ and they’ve really honed their craft with these LEGO movies. I think that better and tighter. This one is the funniest out of all and everyone will enjoy it.