While Chris McKay’s current project, the LEGO Ninjago Movie, of which he serves as producer, hits theaters a week from tomorrow, his mind is firmly focused on his responsibilities as the director of Nightwing. In an interview with Collider, McKay detailed his love of Dick Grayson as well as his fondness for the characters story, both in-universe and in the greater Batman narrative.
I’m a big comic book fan, and being able to do the story of Nightwing, to do a Dick Grayson story, which is a character that every single person in the world knows, but has never really had a lot of screen time. They make a billion Spider-Man movies and a lot of Batman movies, and they’ve tried The Hulk. When they were making the Tim Burton movies, they were always like, ‘Oh, maybe we’ll do Robin in this now. Maybe we’ll save Robin for Returns. Nope, we’ll save it for the next one.’ With Christopher Nolan, people were like, ‘Is he gonna do Robin?’ When they made Batman v Superman, they were talking about it. I’m a big fan of underdog stories, and he is one of the biggest underdog stories in comics. And he’s a character that I grew up with. I like the arc.
McKay goes on to reiterate that a great deal of his love of the character comes from his evolution from Robin to Nightwing. A growth that not many characters are afforded.
You always thought Robin was the dork and were like, ‘I don’t want to be like Robin. I don’t want to play with Robin. I wanna play Batman.’ But Robin was there as a window character for little kids like me to understand Batman’s world and see into Batman’s world. There’s no other character in comics that went through this real-time transition. Every other character lives in a rough version of the age that they’re in. Very few characters actually grow up in the comics and become something else, and go from being a boy to being an adult, and have their own life and become their own thing.
As for the film itself, McKay hopes to stay away from a heavy reliance on CG, which means that whomever steps into that black suit has to be more than a pretty face.
It’s gonna be a fucking bad ass action movie with a lot of heart and emotion. It’s gonna be a crazy, fun ride. Whoever gets cast as Nightwing, and any of the other actors around, are gonna go through a fucking boot camp experience because it’s gonna be a lot. I’m not gonna do a lot of CG. It’s gonna be all real shit. It’s gonna be real stunt work, and they’re gonna need to do all of the stuff on camera and do it credibly. For the cast and the crew, it’s gonna be a visceral experience, and for the audience. It’s not gonna be like a lot of these movies where there’s a lot of CG and flying, and things like that. Everything he does is gonna have to be real. His superpower is being really fucking good, as a human being, at fighting and gymnastics and shit like that, so you’re gonna see that on screen. It’s gonna be fun!
You can’t argue that Chris McKay’s passion for the character is infectious and we will hopefully see it translated onto the big screen.