On February 6th Warner Bros. Pictures hosted a press junket for the new LEGO BATMAN MOVIE at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. The main room was like walking into a colorful toy store with merchandise displayed and showcased. A giant 2-story inflatable LEGO Batman loomed over the banquet room making sure everyone got their fair share of Eggs Benedict and sausages. Photo booths and video games occupied the press until the main event – Rosario Dawson.
Rosario Dawson, who voices the new Gotham City commissioner Barbara Gordon, talked with us about playing such an iconic character. By day Barbara Gordon upholds the law as the head of Gotham City, but by night she dons her purple and yellow outfit to become Batgirl!
I always find it so endearing when actors in films spawned from comic books or existing series were actually fans as they grew up. Rosario Dawson was no different.
“I grew up with Batman. My uncle’s a comic book artist. My mom is six foot tall, so she was always Wonder Woman. I grew up with these really major characters that I loved so much. So, I literally was getting my hair and makeup done in a Batman onesie, not because of this movie, but just in general like I just love everything Batman.”
That was how she began the junket and already I felt like I wanted to hear more. This is not the first superhero Rosario Dawson has played/voiced. She voiced Wonder Woman in DC’s Justice League: Throne of Atlantis video game. She also plays Claire Temple, nurse to many superheroes, in Netflix’s Daredevil, Jessica Jones and the upcoming Iron Fist all for rival comic company, Marvel Entertainment.
A few minutes into talking about growing up on Batman, and the Caped Crusader himself crashed the event. Will Arnett, who provides the gravelly tone to LEGO Batman, sat in for a few minutes. The conversation went to a weird place as the two discussed how much they try not to curse at these things and how we, the public, worry about the wrong things. “Everybody’s so worried about that instead of actual attitudes or the way that we treat people, violence, all that kind of stuff. That stuff’s okay, but God forbid somebody says (expletive), and it’s the worst thing ever.” Will’s got a point there, but let’s get back to business.
Will Arnett did his 5 minutes and left. Time to discuss the strong character of Batgirl. The way Rosario Dawson gushed about her character you would think she is talking about a close family member.
“There is something so remarkable about (Batgirl). It’s so different than so many of the other origin stories, and a lot of it’s tragedy that brought them to that position. You can have tragedy in your life like the Joker and end up becoming insane and just pushing that violence onto other people, it happened to me, why not you, or you could have that tragedy hit you like Batman and go, you know what, I’m going to do everything I can to stop that from ever happening for somebody else.
Having the regular police force, you’re going to need to marry that to someone like a Batman that you can trust. And for her to grow up inspired by that, go to school to train to be the best version, not take it for granted that she’s just going to follow in her dad’s footsteps but like try to be the best to like honor his legacy and to be so inspired by Batman that she also then takes that to push her limits even more to be that much more excellent. And that she’s an amalgam of that and her own spirit.
She’s not like trying to be Batman, and she’s not trying to be her father Commissioner Gordon. She’s trying to be the version of herself and it’s beautiful to see what her contribution is.”
Rosario Dawson continues with the powerful attribute in Batgirl and that is her amazing confidence.
“I think that’s where that confidence comes from, because she’s someone who knows her purpose. She knows what she wants, she knows what she’s capable of and what she’s willing to do to get what she wants. And that’s really, really powerful and a gorgeous lesson.
I hope that other people see that because that’s where confidence should really come about, not other people complimenting you or like you getting a lot of likes on your post, but about the work that you put in for the things that you care about and having that have an actual effect in the world and then seeing what that ripple effect is. That should be where you get your confidence from.”
That’s a lesson that should be instilled in every child in America. A question was then asked about the importance of Girl-Power and she gave an answer that took the subject to a bigger and wider scope.
“We need to continue celebrating just how amazing people are, men and women, girls and boys. We really need to start honoring that and recognizing just how much we can get from not casting aside half the population of the planet. I think there’s something so powerful about this to say, you know, this girl could actually really teach you something about being badass. What does it always have to be one version of it?
So, it’s really a big deal when you have an opportunity to put these kind of stories out there because it’s not just for girls. Boys were like, she’s dope. So, you need that. It felt totally normal. And boys and girls were all there, and they’re all showing up, and they’re all excited, and it was just really nice that it wasn’t like just be excited for him kind of thing. It really felt really equal.”
Like Batgirl, Rosario Dawson is a champion of the people and is committed to social change. She supports numerous causes and has co-founded Voto Latino which empowers Latinos to be agents of change. Growing up with activists in New York City, she has literally watched how the city has changed. For her, it’s part of a well-rounded life that may have been a big help in getting her the role.
“When I first met with Chris McKay [Director], that was the whole conversation (Chris said) we really like that you’re an activist in your real life and that you’re involved with so many different organizations, and it’s a direction that we’re trying to think about going with Barbara Gordon and like playing with that and we just want someone who’s more authentic because we’ve got a lot of it’s improv.
I really loved that like it wasn’t about just being preachy, that it wasn’t about being a woman, talking about we need to be community, and it takes a village. It wasn’t just like talking points and like that kind of thing. She really had all of it. She was like multiple characters in one. She’s an inspirational speaker and really incredible woman who’s just coming up with these incredible points and all those kind of things that we could all go by, she’s also got the position of power to do it, and she’s also even willing to go beyond that.
It’s beautiful to see someone so dedicated to their vision who really believes it and walks that walk and to just sees that. That’s a really encouraging thing, and I think we need to see more characters like that.”
We could really see the passion in everything Rosario Dawson had to say. Fueled with LOTS of coffee and energized like a bunny banging his drum, she made sure to answer everyone’s question in a speed-round finale. Then took a few extra minutes to take pics with everyone in a LEGO Batman photo-op booth.
Girls AND boys are sure to gravitate to the strong confident characters that Rosario Dawson will bring to THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE. Now, how long until we see a Batgirl spin-off movie?
A Warner Bros. Pictures presentation, THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE opens in theaters on Friday, February 10, 2017. It will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. Click here for our spoiler-free review of the film.