Franchise Fred Interview: Abbi Jacobson On Lego Ninjago, Disenchantment & Broad City

It’s time to explain to your kids who Abbi Jacobson is. They’re going to hear her voice in The LEGO Ninjago movie and then ask what Broad City is. At least, that’s what I would do if I was still a kid.

Jacobson plays Nya, the female ninja warrior. I got to speak with her about her contribution to the LEGO franchise and upcoming role in Matt Groening’s Netflix series Disenchantment. I also got an update on Broad City before we were done. The LEGO Ninjago Movie opens Friday, September 22.

Franchise Fred: What does it mean to you to do a film for the whole family?

Abbi Jacobson: It’s very cool, especially because of the way my career has been going so far. I’m mostly more of the adult demo, so again because I have these young nieces, it’s really cool. And also LEGO does such a good job and it is so hard to do, to create movies where parents are just as into it as the kids. It’s just operating on different levels which is exciting.

FF: They always film you and try to add your gestures and expressions to the animation. Is it harder to see yourself in a LEGO character?

Abbi Jacobson: Yeah, they didn’t do that for this movie. They did, Jackie Chan had his stunt people do these fight scenes and they mimicked those professional fighters. So even though it is the stiff arm version, they are copied off of actual fight scenes which is pretty cool.

FF: When you make a LEGO movie, do you get to play with LEGOs?

Abbi Jacobson: Well, I haven’t gotten them yet but I was just made aware that I get my set for my mech, based on the water mech. I think there’s a set based on everybody but I haven’t seen it yet.

FF: What do you play in Disenchantment?

Abbi Jacobson: Disenchantment is about this princess who becomes disenchanted with her kingdom and meets these two creatures. One is good, one is evil. So I play the princess, Bean. She’s a drunk and she’s become disenchanted with her dad who is just this terrible ruler, terrible king. She’s sort of torn between these two creatures that become her best friends and they go on these adventures together and they try to save the kingdom. It is so fun.

FF: Does it have a Simpsons vibe?

Abbi Jacobson: Yeah, and I can improvise more on my level. I don’t think they’ve released any. It’s like a medieval [era]. It’s beautiful. The landscape is just… I can’t wait. I haven’t seen anything move yet but I’ve seen stills.

FF: And it’s streaming so it can be more adult, right?

Abbi Jacobson: Mm-hmm, it’s on Netflix, yeah.

FF: Is 6 Balloons a chance to show a more dramatic side?

Abbi Jacobson: Wow, you have my whole resume over there. Yeah, so it’s Dave [Franco] and I. I know Dave from that. I really love that script and it’s about the heroin epidemic in upper middle class America. I, unfortunately, am familiar with that in the town I grew up in. That topic was something I was interested in telling. It’s dark and it was a challenge. It was very scary to do that movie and I want to do projects like that

FF: Was going back to do LEGO Ninjago recording a relief after you made that?

Abbi Jacobson: Yeah, I mean, we’ve been recording for two years but also this project was scary in a different way. This is the biggest movie I’ve ever [done]. This is a huge franchise. I’ve never been a part of anything this big. Just driving around L.A., this is nuts how many billboards there are for this movie. So it’s so exciting in a whole different way. It’s become a thing that Charlie [Bean], the director, is in Australia. It’s been such a cool thing. Every time I record, time has passed. So we’re like, “How are you? What’s going on?” It’s like old friends.

FF: Could Nya appear in other LEGO movies?

Abbi Jacobson: I hope so. I think so.

FF: Do you think Abbi and Ilana would go see The LEGO Ninjago Movie?Broad City

Abbi Jacobson: I think so. Yeah, I think it’s definitely up their alley in terms of something they would get high and go see.

FF: Would they also have some disaster on the way to the theater?

Abbi Jacobson: Yeah, they might not make it to the movie or they might knock over all the big cutouts in the lobby or something.

FF: Are you going to keep doing more seasons of Broad City as long as you can?

Broad CityAbbi Jacobson: Yeah, I think it’s just about figuring out – the show is so personal and we have a lot of people that make the show with us, but at the end of the day, it’s like the two of us. We come back and we rewrite everything. We would never want to do it past the point where every episode feels like it’s our baby. That’s I think when we’ll know when we should stop.

FF: What comedy do you love right now?

Abbi Jacobson: Well, I loved The Big Sick. I haven’t seen a successful rom-com in a long time. I love comedy that has a heart to it. I love Bojack. I get to play a character on that show. I’m not a big character but it’s been cool to get to be. I just went to a table read and it’s just so cool to see them at work. I love it. There’s not a lot of animated comedies that have dealt with real issues in the way they have with depression. Girls Trip. Come on. That knocked me off my seat. And then I’m obviously a fan of everyone we have on the show. Hannibal [Burress] gets me, everything he puts out. I love 2 Dope Queens, I love Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams. They have amazing guests on it too. Just their dynamic and banter is very natural.

Written by
Fred Topel also known as Franchise Fred has been an entertainment journalist since 1999 and specializes in writing about film, television and video games. Fred has written for several outlets including About.com, CraveOnline, and Rotten Tomatoes among others. His favorite films include Toy Story 2, The Rock, Face/Off, True Lies, Labyrinth, The Big Hit, Michael Moore's The Big One, and Casablanca. We are very lucky and excited to have Fred as part of the We Live Entertainment team. Follow him on Twitter @FranchiseFred and @FredTopel

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