Olivia Munn talks Lego and reveals why she may never film another cameo after 'Ocean's Eight'
Olivia Munn has brawn, brains and beauty, but that doesn’t mean she was always the cool kid.
“I moved around a lot as a kid, so I was always the new girl in school,” she replies when asked what she was like in high school. “I wouldn’t say I was awkward, but there was an awkwardness of just trying to blend in.”
In a wild career that’s seen Munn be named one of People magazine’s Most Beautiful, the 37-year-old has flitted between comedy (TV’s Perfect Couples), drama (HBO’s The Newsroom), the X-Men (she plays Psylocke), the Daily Show (she’s a correspondent), co-hosting a pop culture TV series (Attack of the Show!), books (she wrote Suck it, Wonder Woman: The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek) and the sports pages (Munn dated the Green Bay Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers for three years).
Now, you can add the Lego universe to the list.
In this Friday’s The Lego Ninjago Movie, Munn plays the pint-sized Koko, the mother to the socially awkward Lloyd (voiced by Dave Franco)
Lloyd’s got a secret. He’s the Green Ninja, who, along with his friends, form a group of secret ninja warriors. Led by Master Wu (Jackie Chan), Lloyd and his pals must defeat evil warlord Garmadon (Justin Theroux), a.k.a. the Worst Guy Ever, who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad.
It’s the type of role Munn has been waiting to come her way.
“Justin Theroux and I were talking earlier about how when we watched the first Lego movie we both had the same thought: ‘How do we get in these movies?’” she chuckles. “And just two movies later, we’re in Ninjago and it’s just so great.”
Fresh from her appearance on Good Morning America earlier this week, Munn rang up to tell us what sets this Lego movie apart, why she won’t ever film another cameo and reveals the best advice she ever got.
You were a fresh face in X-Men: Apocalypse, now you’re a new addition to the Lego franchise. What’s it like to join the Lego cinematic universe?
There are a lot of great animated movies and while they are always kid friendly, sometimes the creators forget to make them adult friendly. This movie has everything you’d want to please the adults who are going to have to watch it over-and-over as their kids watch it hundreds of times. Kids are going to fall in love with it, but adults are going to enjoy it as well.
How much research did you have to do to get yourself up to speed on the Ninjago universe?
I didn’t know what Ninjago was before I got involved with this. But as soon as you talk to anybody with kids under 10, you find out that Ninjago is kind of like Fight Club for kids – they all know about it, but no one talks about it. It’s ninjas and Lego and punches and fire... and the kids know everything.
I feel like I didn’t know what Ninjago was until I saw my nephew playing with them earlier this year.
It’s a new thing, but it’s been around long enough that the kids that know about it are obsessed with it.
The Lego Ninjago Movie is a coming of age tale for Lloyd. What kind of person were you like growing up?
I just wanted to blend in enough so that people didn’t bother me [laughs].
Lloyd gets advice from his evil dad Garmadon in this movie. I’m wondering what was the best piece of advice you ever got?
The best advice I ever got was from Jon Stewart. He told me something that I think about a lot, which was: ‘When you bet on yourself and win, you win big.’ I always try to remember that.
In the film, the kitty turns out to be the Ultimate Weapon. How do you think cat lovers are going to take that?
Well, our director is a big cat lover. He loves his cat, so it was definitely done with a lot of affinity and love. People who love cats are going to love the cat in Ninjago. The cat is definitely scary to the Ninjago people, but it’s done with a lot of love.
Where are you keeping the Lego version of you?
My Lego version of me is on my nightstand in my hotel room in Vancouver where I’m working right now.
You have a packed movie schedule next year. You’ve got the Predator, Ocean’s Eight and X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
Ocean’s Eight is a cameo. I feel like I need to let the whole world know that. Can you make that your headline? ‘Olivia Munn wants you to know that she just has a cameo in Ocean’s Eight.’ I don’t think I will ever do a cameo again [laughs]. I did Zoolander 2 and Ocean’s Eight and it seems I do a cameo and it becomes a thing.
OK, well what about the Predator revival, then?
I loved working on the Predator. It’s a standalone Predator film, but it lives in the same world as all the other Predator films. It’s really great because we get to see what happens as these aliens evolve and change – they’ve gotten smarter and stronger and people are going to see that.
And X-Men: Dark Phoenix?
I’m not allowed to talk about X-Men [laughs].
You’ve done comedy, drama, action, what are you digging most as an actor?
Right now, I love doing action. I love being able to get in there and do stunts. I love what Keanu Reeves did with the John Wick movies and how he really did a lot of his own action. That was really amazing and inspiring.
So should we try and get you in the third one?
Um, I don’t know about that. The movies that I love, I just want to watch. I don’t want to act in them.
What would the young Olivia Munn think of the grown up Olivia Munn?
I think the young Olivia Munn would be blown away that I’m able to do what I do for a living. I think the young Olivia would be pretty excited and super surprised.
Can we get your thoughts on the World Series and Super Bowl 52?
I’m horrible at predicting sports outcomes, so I’m going to bow out on both of those [laughs].
What three movies would you bring with you to a desert island?
Bridesmaids and Forrest Gump. I would also bring Cast Away, because that would help me figure out how to get off the island. I know those last two are both Tom Hanks films, but that’s just how it is.
The Lego Ninjago Movie opens Friday, Sept. 22.