Brett Culp is the filmmaker behind the wonderful Batman documentary, LEGENDS OF THE KNIGHT. For more about Brett and the film, visit WEAREBATMAN.COM. I'm honored to have Brett participate in BOF's celebration of Batman's 75th anniversary!
For all of BOF's "BATMAN 75" coverage, visit the MAIN B75 PAGE or click the logo above or to the upper right.
1) What is your first memory of Batman?
BRETT CULP: For my 2nd Birthday, I had a Batman Birthday party. I feel like I have clear memories of it, but it’s possible they are mixed up with the family photos. I also clearly remember watching SUPER FRIENDS on Saturday morning.
2) What is your favorite Batman story from the comics?
BC: I love BATMAN #423, which was inspired by similar previous Batman stories. This issue tells three stories about Batman that each show a different side of him. One has him rescuing orphaned children and displays his huge heart. I remember reading this story as an 11-year-old and being touched by it. This issue was an inspiration for our documentary film LEGENDS OF THE KNIGHT.
3) What is your favorite Batman graphic novel or story arc put into graphic novel form?
BC: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS by Frank Miller. In my opinion, this story remains the high water mark that every Batman story since has worked to live up to regarding tone, quality, vision, and originality. When the perception of superheroes change in the public consciousness, Batman has always been the character who led that shift. And I believe Frank Miller’s work on the character in the 1980’s led a shift that still guides our modern palette for superhero storytelling.
4) What is your favorite Batman costume from any of the live-action Batman films?
BC: I love the costume Michael Keaton wore in BATMAN (1989). It’s not particularly functional, but the romantic in me loves the imagery. The images of Keaton as Batman in that bell tower are magical.
BOF's podcast interview with Brett from April of 2012
5) Who is your favorite Batman on film?
BC: I think Christian Bale portrayed a complex, but likable Bruce Wayne and Batman. He made you believe that, given the right set of circumstances, this man could really exist and we would cheer for him.
6) What was the first Batman comic book you remember buying or reading?
BC: BATMAN #362. It has Riddler on the cover. Riddler says, “Riddle me this: Who says crime doesn’t pay?”. Batman is standing behind him. He say, “I do!”. I remember loving this line & the image, so I paid 60 cents for it. I made my first Batman movie with my Dad’s video camera when I was 11 years old. It was a horrible stop-motion piece with my Batman figures. The opening sequence of my “film” used this line from the cover of that comic book.
7) The Batman logo: With or without the yellow oval?
BC: The yellow oval makes me nostalgic, and I remember the images of Batman that I loved as a child. But, today, I prefer Batman’s costume without the yellow oval, as long as the bat symbol contrasts with the chest piece and is clearly visible.
8) What is your favorite Batman film, live-action and animated included?
BC: THE DARK KNIGHT is my favorite action/adventure movie ever. I believe it re-defined the cinematic possibilities of the entire action genre, not just the comic book movie genre. It was true to the source material, but still completely imaginative and used the extensive canvas of cinematic storytelling to create something creative & very new. I think it is one of the best Batman – and superhero- stories ever told in any medium. Unfortunately, the Academy Award voters were not equipped at the time to realize the masterpiece they were experiencing.
LEGENDS OF THE KNIGHT Trailer
9) Which member of the Batman Family which isn't Batman is your favorite?
BC: For me, Robin represents the innocence that Bruce Wayne lost and that he is continually fighting to preserve for others. Robin is a constant reminder that there is something worth saving in the world. When this character is done well, he is a perfect addition to Batman & his rogue’s gallery. Unfortunately, when Robin is crafted poorly, it can be an absolute disaster. Batman is much more flexible and it’s relatively easy to tell a passible Batman story. But great stories that include Robin take more skill for a variety of reasons, which is why I think it is generally easier to simply write him out of the script. If you don’t have the time to do Robin well, or you are already juggling a large cast of characters, it seems it is often wiser to leave him out.
10) Taking all live-action Batman films into account, what is your single favorite Batman on film moment?
BC: My favorite moment is in THE DARK KNIGHT, when The Joker forces the people on the two boats to blow each other up to save themselves. This is a beautiful portrayal of an important ethical dilemma, and to me it expresses the heart of Batman. The ability to look horror in the face, but still choose to save someone else and be heroic is the essence of the character. Despite all the evil in the world, we can choose to do what’s right. Good can win, but we have to make hard, sacrificial choices. It’s a clever concept that is brilliantly executed. But, if I had to make a 2nd choice, it would be Adam West trying to get rid of that pesky bomb!
Thanks again to Mr. Culp for being a part of BOF's celebration of 75 years of Batman! You can listen to BOF's podcast with Brett about the film from April of 2012 RIGHT HERE. And make sure you check out his Batman documentary, LEGENDS OF THE KNIGHT. I've seen it several times already and it's something that every Batman fan must have! CLICK HERE for more information about the film.