Director Chris McKay infuses 'LEGO Batman Movie' with notes of 'Naked Gun,' 'Jerry Maguire'

By Karen Butler  |  Feb. 10, 2017 at 1:11 PM
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Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Director Chris McKay reveals he had some surprising sources of inspiration when creating his animated epic The LEGO Batman Movie.

The film follows Will Arnett's brooding loner Bruce Wayne/Batman as he reluctantly teams up to fight villains with Rosario Dawson's butt-kicking Police Commissioner Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, Ralph Fiennes' loyal butler Alfred and Michael Cera's enthusiastic orphan Robin, and, ultimately, learns what it means to be part of a family again years after the loss of his own parents.

As of Friday, the hilarious, action-packed family flick had a 90 percent fresh rating on the review aggregator

"I'm glad that people have liked the movie, so far, and are really into it and get what we are trying to do," McKay told UPI in a phone interview Thursday. "It's tough to follow the shadow of The LEGO Movie, which I worked on [as animation co-director,] as well. It was not only a great experience for me and the crew to work on, but a fun movie for audiences and critics. ... So, we tried to make our own thing that was sort of a part of the family, but, also, I love Batman! I love Gotham City, I love comic books, I love superheroes and I wanted to make a story about Batman. My pitch to the studio [was] that I wanted to make Jerry Maguire as directed by [Heat and The Last of the Mohicans filmmaker] Michael Mann with some jokes in it and they got behind it and they allowed me to do something like that."

McKay admitted he loved the Airplane!-Naked Gun, parody aspect of the project, but he emphasized he also wanted it to have heart like the cherished dramedies Jerry Maguire, About a Boy and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

"Movies that are about these people who are remote men, who aren't in touch emotionally and have got, maybe, a big pain in their heart, a big hurt that they fear going through the same kind of pain again. And having them overcome it," he explained. "That Michael Jackson quote... the minute that we hit on that, that idea of being confronted with change and needing to change and changing to be a better person, in this case, a better Batman, that was all stuff that I felt, at least, if I could get that and make that work, the audience will want to follow us with the jokes and the crazy plot machinations."

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