West. Keaton. Kilmer. Clooney. Bale. Affleck.
Many great actors have played Batman over the years, but when you think of big-screen portrayals of the famed DC Comics superhero, "Arrested Development" star Will Arnett probably isn't the first name that comes to mind. But, sure enough, The Toronto-born actor stars as the LEGO version of the Caped Crusader in this week's animated comedy "The Lego Movie."
Although Arnett simply provides the voice of Batman in the movie, he did have a few thoughts for the next big-screen Batman, Ben Affleck.
Now that Arnett is a Batman veteran, does he have any advice for future Caped Crusader Ben Affleck?
“The only advice I could give Affleck is that he doesn't need any advice from me,” Arnett joked to Yahoo Movies Canada recently. “He’s a very talented and successful dude, and great filmmaker and actor. But you know, from my experience of being part of this – and I'm sure that he realizes this now – Batman is a very revered iconic character. It's a great responsibility in this culture to be associated with him or to be carrying that torch – whatever capacity you carry it in. Even as the Lego Batman, even that is a tremendous responsibility that I take very seriously, and I recommend he do the same.”
Asked to pick his favourite Batman actor to date, Arnett struggled for an answer.
“My favourite Batman actor? It’s hard to say, I think that they were all good in their own ways, you know?” Arnett finally said. “I think [George] Clooney got a bad rap. I thought he was really good as Batman. They were all good for different reasons. I won't take sides!"
So how is Arnett’s version of Batman different from those past iterations of the character?
“All the Batmen from all those other movies took themselves so seriously,” Arnett said. “Starting with Adam West, he took himself the least seriously; then Christian Bale took himself the most seriously. And so we wanted to take that even further. He would take himself so seriously that is was funny.”
Arnett said that he worked closely with writer/directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller to develop what can only be described as a “jerkier” version of the legendary DC Comics superhero.
“We wanted him to be kind of the jerk to the extent that, he's Batman,” Arnett said with a laugh. “So yeah, he thinks a lot of himself because he's really cool and what he does is really awesome and does help people, but also he also takes himself very seriously. He's this brooding artist, and he thinks that his use and his value to society is extraordinary.”
“The Lego Movie” co-stars Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, and Liam Nesson and is directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (the pair behind the original "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" and "21 Jump Street"). The film hits theatres on Feb. 7.