The Lego movies have made families laugh and cry together. It turned out The Lego Movie was really about a kid who wanted his father to play with him.
Even Lego Batman was about Batman learning he needed people. Now Dave Franco, star of The Lego Ninjago Movie, found himself getting genuinely choked up in a scene.
Franco plays Lloyd, the Green Ninja and secretly the son of villain Garmadon (Justin Theroux). Lloyd has had to live in his father’s evil shadow, and Garmadon won’t even acknowledge his son. The climax of The Lego Ninjago Movie brought real tears out of Franco.
The star, who previously talked about the emotional scene during an appearance on Conan, has now opened up about what happened in a one-on-one interview with Monsters and Critics.
“There’s a scene towards the end of the movie where I am really opening up to Garmadon,” Franco said. “[I] found myself crying in this booth.”
Perhaps Theroux took on a father figure role for the younger Franco brother. Animated movies usually record all the voices separately, but The Lego Ninjago Movie gave Franco and Theroux a few sessions together.
“That was one of the days where Justin and I were in the booth together,” Franco said. “Just having him there and feeling his energy and just the nature of the scene, I ended up getting very emotional.”
The takes of Franco crying are actually in the movie.
“That entire climactic scene is based on one or two takes that we did where I was pretty uncontrollable,” Franco said. “We tried to mimic the emotion in other recording sessions but we never quite reached the levels we did in that first session.”
Franco is best known for comedies like 21 Jump Street and Neighbors or the magic adventures Now You See Me 1 and 2. Perhaps Lego Ninjago gave him a taste for drama.
“Honestly, when I take a step back and think about all the other roles I’ve played in my career, I don’t know if I’ve cried that hard in a scene which is weird to say because this is an animated movie,” Franco said. “I guess it goes to show just how character-driven and complex these movies really are.”
The Lego Ninjago Movie is in theaters September 22 for the whole family.