No one knows the evil warlord Garmadon (voiced by Justin Theroux), aka The Worst Guy Ever, better than his ex-wife, Koko (voiced by Olivia Munn), and when it comes to their son Lloyd (voiced by Dave Franco), the eternally optimistic mother just wants to help him survive adolescence. But in The LEGO Ninjago Movie, being a high school teenager isn’t easy for Lloyd because everyone knows that his father won’t stop until he’s achieved world domination, which can make friendships tough to keep and teenage life insurmountable.
While at the LEGOLAND California Resort for the film’s press junket, Collider got the opportunity to sit down with actress Olivia Munn to talk about why she wanted to be a part of The LEGO Ninjago Movie, what she loves about her character, why Koko was so much fun to play, what she’s like her superpower to be, if she were a secret ninja, and why she wants to move in with Justin Theroux and Jennifer Aniston. She also talked about her cameo in Ocean’s Eight and how she was responsible for her own wardrobe, hair and make-up, and why Simon Kinberg, who’s making his directorial debut on X-Men: Dark Phoenix, makes such a great director.
Collider: What sold you on The LEGO Ninjago Movie and made you want to be a part of it?
OLIVIA MUNN: Well, I didn’t really have to be sold. I hadn’t seen LEGO Batman yet, when I signed on for this, but I had seen the first LEGO movie. What’s so great about the LEGO movies is that, from the get-go, they were made in a way that wasn’t just adult-friendly, but you don’t have to have a kid with you to go see them. They’re edgy and funny and clever. The toys are the toys, and I love that about these movies. It really allows for the actors to bring so much life to them, and I really love that. It was so much fun!
Who is Koko and how does she fit into the city of Ninjago?
MUNN: What I love so much about Koko is that she’s this always optimistic mother. A lot of kids his age are going through some tough times, and he happens to be going through a very tough time ‘cause his father is an evil warlord and the whole school knows it. It’s like, “You’re dad’s the worst guy, ever, and we know that!” She tries to be so positive, and I just love that so much about her. And I love that she has this other side to her, that gets revealed in the movie, but she chose to keep that private from her son. I love that she has this whole other dimension to her. I wanted her to be a positive force in Lloyd’s life. No matter what, she was going to love him through it and be super positive. And then, we find out this other side to her life, and I loved that so much. You might look at her like a mother who’s just being super positive, and that there’s all there is to it, but when you find out about the other life that she’s had and what she’s capable of, it makes you realize that, out of all the roads she could have chosen with all of her capabilities, she chose to be a mother. She could have been a hero for many, but she chose to be a hero for one. That, to me, was so special because it really shows the importance of what being a mother is. Out of all the amazing roads she could choose, she chose the most amazing of all, which was to be a mother to Lloyd. I loved that so much.
Even before we know about Koko’s previous secret life, we get to see what a fierce temper she has when it comes to Garmadon. Was that fun to play?
MUNN: That was really fun, to play the momma bear who’s like, “I don’t care if you’re the biggest evil warlord! You’re annoying me right now, and I’m not afraid to tell you that!” That’s why I feel I had a kindred spirit with Koko. That’s how I live my life. The one thing we all have in common is that I exist as much as you exist. You can be the President of the United States, you can be an evil warlord, or you can be the head of a studio, but I’m here and you’re here. We may have different paths. You may be a lot more powerful and really wealthy, and all of those things, but we both exist and we’re both here, so I’m gonna treat you as a human being. What I see in you and how you treat me is what you’re gonna get back, and that’s Koko. She’s the one person in the world who’s not intimidated by Garmadon because she’s like, “I know you! You can be fancy with all of your evil warlord get-up, and your helmet and block clothes, but I know who you are! It’s all a facade, and I don’t care!”
Could you ever have imagined a world where you and Justin Theroux would be playing parents to Dave Franco?
MUNN: It’s actually art imitating life. Justin and I have decided to adopt Dave. He didn’t ask to be adopted, but we felt he needed it, mostly because I wanted to move into Justin’s home with Jennifer Aniston ‘cause it’s beautiful. I was like, “For this movie and for the press tour, I should be living with you guys. We should really think about whether to put Dave in private school, or whether we should go the Montessori route.” They haven’t really accepted my offer yet. It’s coming. I think it’s gotta come! Side note: Jen and I are friends now, which blows my mind. We filmed a movie together. We meet a lot of people through social parties and work parties, and I’ve been able to meet a lot of the people that I’ve idolized, and who are at the top of their game or who are the most famous people. Out of everyone, Jennifer Aniston is the nicest, most down-to-earth person. She’s nice, in the way that I think of nice. She’s so real. She’s the real deal. She’s in life. She doesn’t have a horde of people around her. She’s always engaged and talking to people. I just love her to death. That’s why I want to move in with them. Maybe this article can be about that.
We’ll put in a good word for you!
MUNN: Oh, my god, please! That would be great! I’ll just start Uber-ing over there. I’ll be like, “The Uber just dropped me off here, and I don’t really know how to get back. Maybe I should just stay forever!”
You got to be a part of Ocean’s Eight.
MUNN: I got to do a cameo in Ocean’s Eight.