BOF's wrap-up of the BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD Panel at SDCC '10, by BOF's Sean Gerber...
Much of what was shared in the panel can be found in BOF
’s interviews with the cast and crew, which you can see in our Comic Con coverage. However, here are a few additional highlights for your reading pleasure…
* Director Brandon Vietti cited the Nolan films, , and the comics that the film was based on as the influences on his art direction.
* John DiMaggio was “really scared to do this part,” which voice casting director Andrea Romano confirmed, saying that it was the first time she had seen John scared in a recording session. DiMaggio was also visibly nervous throughout the panel (just as he was when I interviewed him a few hours prior).
* None of the cast worked together during the making of the film. All of the recording sessions were performed solo, according to Romano.
* Romano praised the subtlety of Bruce Greenwood’s performance.
* Greenwood had his own praise to dish out, saying he was “blown away by DiMaggio.” He then looked at John and said, “You’re the s**t!”
* With the exception of Vincent Martella, everyone on the panel was first exposed to Batman through the 1960s television series (Martella’s was BATMAN FOREVER). This lead to DiMaggio’s hilarious tale of the crush he had on Batgirl (Yvonne Craig), which left the audience in stitches and Bruce Timm practically in tears from laughing so hard.
* A trailer for SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE was shown, which you can see in the special features section on your copy of BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD.
* Bruce Timm laid out the 2011 lineup, starting with GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD NIGHT -- which will drop in conjunction with the Green Lantern film next summer and will be similar in format to BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHT.
Also coming next year are ALL-STAR SUPERMAN and…
Wait for it…
BATMAN: YEAR ONE!
* Of course, this biggest news might have been what wasn’t said. When asked about the 75-minute time limit of the Warner Premier animated films, Timm responded that there is one story that they are working on that will be told over two movies, but he couldn’t say which one. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking, but my money’s on...
THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS!
I’d like to thank all of the participants of the panel not just for the film itself, which is amazing, but for doing this panel and allowing me and BOF to participate in their roundtable interviews. It was a real privilege to spend a little time with these outstanding artists.
On a side note, I saw John DiMaggio the next day for the B:UTRH autograph signing and made sure to tell him that he had no need to be nervous and that he did a great job. - Sean Gerber
BOF's SDCC '10 coverage continues after the jump!
UNDER THE RED HOOD - Vincent Martella (Robin)
Posted by Jett @ 3:00 PM on Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Here's our interview with "Robin" from BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD, Vincent Martella...
Are you a comic book fan?
Vincent Martella: The first real comic book or graphic novel that I read was WATCHMEN and that was when the [Zack Snyder] film was going to come out. I was ready for the movie and I wanted to go in kind of knowing what I was watching.
That’s jumping in with both feet.
VM: It really is. It’s kind of one of those things where I feel like you’re already going backwards when you read WATCHMEN because it’s so go, but then I read THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and I was like “Wow. This is great!” Frank Miller just doesn’t let people down, ever. So I started reading more graphic novels after those two and obviously researched a lot of the source material for UNDER THE RED HOOD.
BOF: What is the pressure like in being part of a Batman project like this?
VM: It’s all the pressure in the world because you don’t want to let anybody down. Fans of Batman really are fans and it’s not like anything you’ve really ever seen before. Comic Con is my first taste of this side of it. You don’t want to let anybody down Andrea [Romano] really knows how to guide an actor, so I really felt like I was in the right place in the booth. I’ve watched the movie about three or four times already, so I really like the finished product. Hopefully everyone else will like it as well. I think everyone did a stellar job on the feature. Hopefully the fans will think the same thing.
How did you prepare for the role?
VM: For Robin, I obviously looked up a lot of information on Jason Todd. He’s very different from the Robin that a lot of fans who don’t read the comics know. When you look at Jason Todd and compare him to Dick Grayson, you’ve got two completely different characters. And you’ve got the Robin in the movies [BATMAN FOERVER, BATMAN AND ROBIN] with Chris O’Donnell, so I looked at this [Grayson] Robin and he’s so happy and this is great. Then you see Jason Todd and he’s not happy. He’s got a lot of anger. He’s not just happy all the time. He is at one time just to be working with Batman, but he just becomes this dark person, this really violent person. It was definitely really cool to play.
Which Robin do you prefer?
VM: In this -- because Nightwing is in here too -- I’m going say Jason Todd because he has so much character development. Not that Dick Grayson doesn’t, that’s not what I’m saying. It’s just that of the material I’ve read, Jason’s such an interesting character to look at. That’s probably why I like watching [the film] so much is because you see this character who’s a superhero, but he’s not just always the Superman figure. He’s not always good. He wants to hurt people when they do bad things. Batman’s faced with that all the time, you know, “How do I deal with this violent killer?” I like how Jason takes his own way when he goes to fight crime. I think that’s very interesting.
BOF: Is there another Batman story you’d like to see made and perhaps take part in even if it’s not as Robin?
VM: I don’t know who else’s voice I could play right now, but someday, I think the ultimate honor would be playing Batman as well, or Robin again. Playing Robin for the period I did makes you want more. It does and after reading THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, I’d like to see that. I don’t know how it would be done/ It would be very difficult to do that well. You’d probably have to do two movies, or three. I don’t know, you’d have to do a bunch. I’d like to see that on the screen, live-action or animation, I’d like to see that done.
Zack Snyder's SUCKER PUNCH - SDCC '10 Press Conference
Posted by Jett @ 6:22 PM on Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Zack Snyder’s SUCKER PUNCH
I don’t know what to say other than “Wow!” -- visually speaking that is.
Really, while it looks absolutely outstanding, I still don’t know exactly what it’s about. I know director Zack Snyder has described it as “ALICE IN WONDERLAND with guns,” but WTF does that really mean?
While it looks absolutely outstanding, I still don’t know exactly what it’s really about. And that's cool, as I'm now in the mode of wanting to know NOTHING about the films I see. >>> CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL REPORT!
UNDER THE RED HOOD - Brandon Vietti
Posted by Jett @ 3:26 PM on Monday, July 26, 2010
Here's our interview with the director of BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD, Brandon Vietti...
BOF: How difficult is it to go through all these interviews without giving away too much?
Brandon Vietti: It’s pretty tough. Everything is so intricate and interwoven.
BOF: How about for your family and friends when they ask you about it?
BV: For friends and family I spoil it. *Laughs*
BOF: What attracted you most to this project?
BV: The more adult tone, the more realistic tone, the lack of supers. I think that adds a sense of reality to the movie. You don’t have a lot of fantasy characters. It makes everything feel a little more grounded, makes the danger feel more real. I don’t get to experiment with that a lot doing Saturday morning stuff.
BOF: Is that the Batman that you prefer? More of the “Chris Nolan Batman” than the Batman of the Justice League that rolls with super-powered beings.
BV: I like them both actually. I think Batman is one of those characters where he’s kind of proven. He’s got quite a range from Adam West to THE BRAVE & THE BOLD of course the Nolan stuff [BATMAN BEGINS, THE DARK KNIGHT] and RED HOOD. He’s got the range.
Are you a comic book fan?
BV: Yeah, I’ve collected comics since I was a kid. Batman was probably the one DC book I collected the most, DETECTIVE COMICS.
Who is your favorite comic book hero?
BV: I’m going be unoriginal and say Batman. *Laughs* He was always the main book I collected the most, going back even to SUPER FRIENDS. That was the cartoon I watched the most as a kid. Batman, he was the cool one. He’s got all the cool gadgets, he’s got the car.
How much do you work with the actors?
BV: Pretty closely. Bruce Timm and I, and Andrea [Romano], collectively we’ve all kind of read the script and lived the script in our heads several times before we even get the actors into the booth. Even before that, we all sit down and talk about who we think would be best voices to bring the characters to life on screen. Once we hire ‘em and start recording and get in the booth, we kind of help out and catch them up to speed on the story we’ve been working on for months. [Then] they bring their own things to it as well. That’s the great thing about with Andrea. She’s able to go get the actors and puts them at ease so they can find it themselves and make it their own.
UNDER THE RED HOOD - Andrea Romano and Bruce Timm
Posted by Jett @ 2:56 PM on Monday, July 26, 2010
Here's our interview with the voice director and producer of BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD, Andrea Romano and Bruce Timm...
BOF: You’ve mentioned how dark this film is and you’ve both been working on Batman animated projects for almost two decades. How does this one compare to what you’ve done before?
Bruce Timm: This one goes to eleven. It’s not a downer though. It could have been just unpleasant and there are moments where you cringe when you watch it.
Andrea Romano: There are.
BT: But it’s dramatically compelling. It’s not just gratuitously ugly.
AR: There’s a point to everything. Every bit of violence, every dark side that we see, has a reason.
Why did you choose this story?
BT: We had heard that Judd Winick, who had written the comic, wanted to pitch it to us as an animated film and I was a little skeptical of it. I had read the comics and reading the comics with keeping a film adaptation in mind, I kept thinking, “Okay, that’s not gonna work dramatically and you’d have to set this up first,” so I was skeptical. Then Judd pitched us his adaptation ideas over the phone on a conference call with us and DC Comics and he had, in advance, already figured out exactly what to excise, what to simplify, and what to streamline, and what to focus on. By the end of it, his pitch, we were sold. We were like, “This is gonna be a good movie.” It was compelling and he’s a really good pitcher too. That’s part of it ‘cause he’s an actor. It was all there, like, “Yeah, great. We’re done. Let’s do it.”
How was it working with this group of actors?
AR: Bruce and I had been talking for years about trying to find something to do with [Bruce] Greenwood and we just never could work the schedules out. I’m glad that we never did because this one is so right for him.
BT: Oh yeah.
AR: He really was caught in the role. It really was a case of the stars aligning, not just with the actors that were all available, but the directors that were available, and Bruce [Timm] and I being available, the composers. It’s really just a beautiful combination of people getting together to make something really special. [John] DiMaggio, you should see DiMaggio as The Joker. There’s some really tough footsteps to follow in. You’ve got Jack Nicholson who is one of the finest actors of our day. You’ve got Heath Ledger whose Joker performance was just stellar. You’ve got Mark Hamill who has always been a terrific Joker. All these different people and John is completely different. What I like so much about John’s is you can see The Joker enjoys being a sadist. And John was terrified to do the role. He called me the weekend before he was coming in to record and said, “Are you sure?” I was like, “I know you can do this. I know you can do this.” He came in and I think we recorded him in less than two hours.
BT: It was a breeze and he nailed The Joker. The Joker is, on one hand, is kind of simple because all he has to do is be scary and funny, but it’s surprisingly hard to be both scary and funny. [John] totally nailed it and he’s scary and funny at the same time.
AR: The key to The Joker is the laugh. You gotta have a good laugh. You gotta be able to pull that off and you gotta do it for a really long time. I’ve been working at this so long that the technical aspect is nothing, but I love giving [John] the challenge of not playing something like Bender. I love FUTURAMA, Aquaman on BRAVE & THE BOLD. It [The Joker] is so different than what he’s done. It’s a totally different challenge.
GREEN LANTERN - SDCC '10 Press Conference
Posted by Jett @ 5:53 PM on Monday, July 26, 2010
Here's our rundown from the GREEN LANTERN press conference from SDCC '10...
Q: (To Martin Campbell) There’s been this talk of building a “DC Universe on Film.” Is this film part of it and did it affect anything you did?”
Martin Campbell: No. We stand absolutely on our own and we stand as our own superhero, our own story, our own world. And a terrific story it is.
CLICK HERE FOR THE ENTIRE PRESSER Q&A!
BOF's SDCC '10 coverage continues after the jump!
UNDER THE RED HOOD - Writer Judd Winick
Posted by Jett @ 4:02 PM on Monday, July 26, 2010
Here's our interview with the screenwriter of BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD, Judd Winick...
On choosing the controversial Jason Todd character/storyline as a basis for the film.
Judd Winick: The truth is, I saw Christopher Nolan’s THE DARK KNIGHT -- which was awesome. We all thought it was awesome. Regular people were coming up to me and saying, “It’s like a real movie,” as opposed to a fake one *Laughs*. I approached Warner Premiere about how much more Batman we were doing and they were like, “We want to do as much Batman as possible.” I said, “Great. I want to do the Red Hood, I mean, UNDER THE HOOD.” They were keen to the idea. I did a quick pitch three years ago to [producer] Gregory Noveck with Warner Premiere. He loved it and said. “Alright, we want to get you in front of everyone else.” I know later, talking to Bruce Timm, [he] wasn’t to keen on the idea because the story was two years in the making and there’s also the entire backstory of Jason Todd. I knew once we started talking about it that this was a big, melodramatic story. It’s an opera. All the aspects of it that it’s Batman’s worst mistake coming back to haunt him in a horrible, horrible way. Not only does [Jason Todd] return from the grave, he comes back bad and using all the skills [Batman] ever gave him to do wrong. And they got it. I also figured out how to do A DEATH IN THE FAMILY in the first five minutes, so that was a big problem solver as far as they were concerned. But I was hoping and still hope that people respond to the character because of the real tragedy of it. Batman at his essence is always a story when you’re dealing with just Batman and not other kids knocking around in the pool, is very tragic because that’s who he is. He’s someone haunted by death and it always seems to come back at him. This was, in my opinion, one big, giant way of death coming back at him. Jason returning from the grave and messing with his head.
How many times have you watched it?
JW: I’ve seen it twice without bells and whistles. Just a rough cut with no AVR, sound effects, or music. The one after that was just spiced up with sound effects. I’ve only watched it one time with all the bells and whistles because I wanted to see it with the fanboys and fangirls. Five thousand people are going to be in there watching this, so I want to be surprised by the end. I mean, I wrote it so I’m not that surprised, but there will be, like anything you do, somewhere you always get laughs that you didn’t expect. I don’t know actually. I have no idea what they’re gonna do. Are they gonna applaud? Are they gonna yell? Proper amount of [good] booing, some laughs at inappropriate places.
Were you happy with how the film turned out?
JW: Oh yeah. I was told that it’s fairly melodramatic. There’s a lot of moments in there where it’s Batman and the Red Hood yelling and talking to one another face-to-face. You don’t see that in animated features a lot. Most movies involve a lot of people walking around in rooms talking to one another, even in action movies, but in animated films, not a lot of that emoting back and forth because you can only get so much acting [out of the face], but we have stunning voice actors who can really carry it. Batman is this much acting [points to his mouth] right here in an animated feature and Red Hood is zero, zip. Jensen [Ackles] had to over come two things. Not only did he have to make it all with his performance unseen and his performance is all in his voice, but he also has to know that Jason actually, we’re not gonna see his face at all. That’s something that while watching, keep in mind how much he’s getting out of nothing. You don’t see him smile, or wince, or anything. Bruce [Greenwood] has to deal with that to.
With this story being two years in the making, was there ever a time where you felt rushed, like doing A DEATH IN THE FAMILY in five minutes?
JW: No, I took it and with the first half, I wrote the outline without looking back at the source material. Not looking at it, going cold, you know, Batman, Red Hood, Joker, Black Mask. Okay. 1, 2, 3, 4. That’s what the story’s about and it felt right. In a lot of ways comics are these long, serialized stories which it’s a whole soap opera. In’s and out’s, the characters are up and down, back and forth, and we had this massive crossover going on in between all of this which had to be written in and characters. In the comics, we had Count Vertigo, The Hyena, and Captain Nazi, who we were not going to write into this story because, well particularly, he’s Captain Nazi. They just don’t work and they require to many questions and what not. The movie gets to streamline that story and you get to make it for everybody. I think anybody who’s seen the Batman movies can step into this quite comfortably and not feel like, “I don’t know who that character is. I’m lost there. Who’s that?” I mean even Amazo is in the comics and we thought maybe we won’t use Amazo, but you know what, I’m going to put a giant robot in here anyway that they’re gonna beat up, so I might as well do it for fanboys. It’s Amazo, who cares? Otherwise, we’re just making somebody up. It’s about what would serve the story. Screenplays are vastly different animals than comics. There’s no fat on them. They also work quickly
BOF: In converting this story from a comic to animation, were you at all influenced by previous animated series/features or the live-action films?
JW: I wouldn’t say inspired so much as trusting that I knew where it was going. I’d lived with the source material for a number of years and it was sort of a level of comfort knowing that they could totally do this and pull this off. I was doing it completely without fear because these guys did BATMAN: THE AMINATED SERIES and BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM and PUBLIC ENEMIES and WONDER WOMAN and GREEN LANTERN. They do these really great films. They’re great animators and great storytellers. Going in very fearlessly, knowing that they are gonna carry the ball and run with it, and they did.
Are there any other stories of yours you’d like to see in an animated film?
JW: Yeah. I can’t talk about that at all. **Laughs** There are some that I threw out there, which were shot down that I won’t talk about for boring, how sausage is made kind of reasons. There’s other stuff that I can’t discuss. We’ll just see how this does. With every movie that does well, it breeds what they’re gonna do next and how they’re gonna do it. If this falls in the toilet, which would surprise everybody and be enormously disconcerting, I think we’ll see a very different approach to Batman in the upcoming future.
BOF: Is there a Batman story you didn’t write that you feel deserves the animated film treatment?
JW: I’d say most of them are being done and I won’t tell you which. A lot of good ones are being done. I’d love to see TEEN TITANS: JUDAS CONTRACT. Wouldn’t BLACKEST NIGHT make a good film? I don’t know because a lot of it is just in the massive scope of what that story is. Is there a bare essence to it? At this point, I’m to close to it to even see it. I’m sure Geoff [Johns] could see it. With the success of the [live-action] Green Lantern movie, we might be seeing that too, so who knows?
UNDER THE RED HOOD - John DiMaggio
Posted by Jett @ 1:44 PM on Monday, July 26, 2010
Here's our interview with The Joker of BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD, John DiMaggio...
BOF: What’s it like stepping into the shoes of this iconic character with so many popular interpretations?
John DiMaggio: It’s a lot of pressure, but you know, it’s pressure that I’m willing to handle. When Andrea [Romano] approached me about doing the role, I was really kind of nervous. It’s an intimidating role to bite into, but I was very excited about it and I knew it was something I couldn’t not do, so we just went in and barreled through it and tried to find that voice and I think we did. It’s something that I’m very proud of, something completely different from what I’m normally doing. A lot of people know me for comedic roles and stuff like that, so to get the chance to play the world’s greatest villain is an honor and I was blown away that she even asked. I’m still kind of in shock. It’s all happening right now and tonight’s gonna be strange because they’re gonna have a showing here at Comic Con and just to get the fans’ reaction will be very interesting. I’m looking forward to it, but it was a lot of fun. It was very meaty, very meaty and I can’t even do the voice for you, you know what I mean? Normally I can do a voice for you, like “Yeah okay.” This is the most acting I’ve had to do in a long time. I had to put a lot into it, so it was a lot of fun.
BOF: So is this your most challenging role?
JD: One of them, one of them. There’s different challenging things about each thing you do. Making it enjoyable for yourself, making it tangible, making it so that what you do with your voice clearly comes through in the character layout. You give the editor something to work with, but yeah, it was definitely one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. In fact, I think it’s the most nervous I’ve been about what people [would think]. Normally, I’m like, “If they like it, fine. If they don’t, well, that’s their choice,” but because it’s such an iconic role and because it’s such a beloved villain, which is kind of strange. *Laughs* People are like, “Please don’t screw up The Joker.” But guys, he’s a maniac. “Yeah, but please, just make it good.” But it was a real thrill to do it.
Did you find that you were influenced by other Jokers, like Heath Ledger, or did you have to fight that?
JD: You know what, I think I fought it. I think that’s just one of the things where you have to just blank those guys out of your mind. Heath Ledger was brilliant and Jack Nicholson, I mean of course, he’s an icon playing an icon. Mark Hamill, you know, there’s a legion of fans who I’m sure want to hang me up by you-know-whats because I’m The Joker and he’s not now. And by the way, Mark and I get along just fine. It’s funny, I had to really block those guys out and really concentrate on what was happening, where I wanted to take my voice to go to that dark place. So yeah, that was daunting, but I think it did it and didn’t sound like any of them, but it was a lot of fun. Definitely challenging.
Is there another role out there you’d like to play?
JD: I don’t think so. Honestly, I’m very fortunate in the roles that I’ve been getting.
Other than this one, what’s your favorite role you’ve had?
JD: Bender [from FUTURAMA], really. Bender is such a broad, crazy character and anything goes. His witty, snappy comments always get a laugh. It’s either first banana or second banana, whichever button you want to press with that guy, it’s just fill in the blanks. It’s a lot of responsibility. He’s a lead character, so yeah, it was Bender before The Joker, but now this is, I’m kind of in awe still.
BOF: Mark Hamill held onto this role for the better part of two decades. Not saying you’d commit to the role for that long, but is this a character you’d like to continue on with?
JD: If they want to bring me in again, I’d love to play it again. I mean, sure, if they’re happy like that. If they’re happy with the way it came out and they want me to do it again, I’d love to do it again. But if I don’t get to do it again, I don’t get to do it again. You move on, you do other stuff. That’s part of the business. Ya shut up, kick your own ass out the door and move on.
UNDER THE RED HOOD - Bruce Greenwood
Posted by Jett @ 11:34 AM on Monday, July 26, 2010
Here's our interview with The Batman of BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD, Bruce Greenwood...
BOF: So how much fun was it to play Batman?
Bruce Greenwood: It’s pretty cool. It was a lot of fun.
BOF: Were you a Batman fan before taking the role?
Greenwood: As a kid, yeah. My parents refused to let me watch the original Batman series because “it was way too violent.”
BOF: Something about “Pow” and “Zap” was too much?
Greenwood: *Laughs* Yeah, something about “Zap” was a little heavy. So for this one I think they’d probably really have a problem with it.
On getting to work with Bruce Timm and Andrea Romano after searching for a project to collaborate on for so long.
Greenwood: I’m very grateful. It was a lot of fun.
BOF: You’re going to be playing Batman again in the new series YOUNG JUSTICE. Is that going to be a continuation of the Batman you played in BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD?
Greenwood: It’s a completely different character, to be honest. He’s not as broken as this Batman is, as far as I know so far.
BOF: Do you prefer one version over the other?
Greenwood: They’re very different people and you’re using different muscles.
Do you find it difficult to play the same character in different ways?
Greenwood: I think of them quite differently. I don’t think of them as the same character. I guess it’s different aspects of the same character, but I think of them very differently.
BOF: We were talking to John DiMaggio a few minutes ago…
Greenwood: Have you seen it yet?
*** The roundtable nods their heads “No” ***
Greenwood: He’s [expletive] amazing!
BOF: He mentioned having to block out all of the Jokers that had come before him when preparing for the role. Did you find yourself having to do the same thing?
Greenwood: I had listened to [Kevin] Conroy and I certainly didn’t want to copy him, but I also didn’t want to actively try and avoid what he’d done and omit some essential element.
About the experience of going from live-action to voice over.
Greenwood: It’s weird. As an actor, you can just think it, in film I mean. You can think it and say if without really worrying about inflection. You have all the expressions of your face. In comics, you don’t have that and my tendency was to try and over-do it, and then Andrea would say, ‘No, no, no, you don’t have to do that. Just feel it and that will take you there.’ And that’s something I didn’t really understand about the form, but if you think it, it will come across and don’t worry about it.
Would you like to do more?
Greenwood: Yeah, it’s really challenging. It’s a lot of fun and it’s scary. Even though it’s Batman and he’s broken and quiet and has a real deep feeling, Andrea with her energy is just so electric behind the glass. She’s really super engaging. When you’re around people who are that passionate, it’s infectious.
BOF: So with her having spent so much time with these characters, was she a good resource for you?
Greenwood: Yeah, she’s the well. You just try out an idea of an emotion and take it to her well.
BOF: Is there another Batman story out there, whether by title or just the type of story, you’d like to come back for?
Greenwood: You know, there are several. I’ll just keep my mouth shut on that in case I get a chance to do another one. *Laughs*
Who’s your favorite comic book hero other than Batman?
Greenwood: Not a lot of people, well, fewer people than I would imagine know Tom Swift. When I was a kid, I was huge into Tom Swift novels.
BOF: And those were allowed in the house?
Greenwood: Those were allowed in the house. *Laughs*
BOF: After playing the biggest comic book hero out there, do you want to play a villain eventually?
Greenwood: Yeah, that would be fun also, but there’s a lot of great voice talent out there. I feel really privileged to be a part of this as Batman. I won’t be wading through the forest chopping down timber for a different character. There’s plenty of work to do with Batman.
What other projects do you have coming up?
Greenwood: DINNER FOR SCHUCKS is July 30th. It’s funny, it’s bonafide funny. Then a movie called MAO’S LAST DANCER, based on a book by the same name about a ballet dancer that we shot in China and Sydney, Australia. Then a movie called MEEK’S CUTOFF, the story of the Oregon Trail, a very interesting story with Michelle Williams. Then a movie called BARNEY’S VERSION based on a novel by Mordecai Richler with Dustin Hoffman and Paul Giamatti.
You’ve done the big Hollywood movies, you’ve done voice, you’ve done indies…
Greenwood: I’ve done puppet shows. I’ve done it all. *Laughs* (Then in his puppet voice: “HA HA! OH YEAH!”)
What do you prefer?
Greenwood: They all have their different allures and challenges. I guess I don’t prefer any of them. I like certain things about each one.
BOF: You probably can’t talk about it, but is there a Batman puppet show in the works?
Greenwood: *Laughs* Ya busted it! You broke the story! Those puppets are so dark!
BOF's SDCC '10 coverage continues after the jump!
GREEN LANTERN - Diedrich Bader
Posted by Jett @ 9:40 AM on Monday, July 26, 2010
Here's our interview with The Batman of BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, Diedrich Bader...
BOF (Sean): We got the sad news today that you guys are down to the final 13 episodes of BATMAN: THE BRAVE & THE BOLD. What are your thoughts on the show and what are you going to take away from it?
DIEDRICH BADER: You know, as I said up there, I got very emotional. I kind of surprised myself. It’s my favorite role, certainly, that I’ve ever played. I’m just happy that it’s all gonna be on DVD and maybe we’ll get a little DVD movie out of it or something like that. I’d certainly like that. It was great for the time that I was able to play him. I was really happy to have the opportunity. It’s very rare that somebody that does comedy for a living can play such a deep character and I was really happy to have the opportunity.
BOF (Sean): Last year, you told us a little bit about “Chill of the Night,” which was, as you put it, “closure for Batman.” What was your experience like recording that episode? Was there a particular moment that had more weight than anything else?
DB: Well sure, when he finally confronts his parents’ killer is probably one of the most emotional moments of my entire career. It was a really beautiful thing because the character really, I felt it. Most of the time, you work towards an effect, rather than letting it affect you. You know you’re supposed to let it affect you, but frankly, you have so many takes and cameras in your face. It’s whenever you cross over the line like that. It’s a very interesting process.
BOF (Sean): Besides “Chill of the Night,” do you have another favorite episode?
DB: I don’t think so. There’s so many that I really enjoyed doing that it’s difficult to single one out, especially with the concept of THE BRAVE & THE BOLD being pairing up different superheroes. It brings out a different personality in Batman every time. The father/son relationship with Blue Beetle, the joshing straight-man relationship with Aquaman, the competition with Green Arrow, and oddly enough, the warmth that Red Tornado brought out of Batman. All sort of interesting dimensions of that character and I think, in that way, it sort of pushes that character in an unexpected way.
BOF (Jett): Do you get all the winks and nods to Batman history as you’re recording the show?
DB: No because I wasn’t really a comic book fan going in, oddly enough. I’m sort of told beforehand generally by other actors that are in there what it means for Batman at that moment. One fantastic source for this had been Tom Kenny, who is the real deal as far as being a comic book fan. He knows everything and everyone and it’s truly incredible. I was never able to keep comic books in my house. My dad threw them out, so the result of which is I didn’t really know what I was doing when I originally got the part and I was shocked that they cast somebody like me, but it’s been a fantastic journey for me. I’ll be sorry to see it go.
BOF (Jett): I love the show and I was disappointed when I heard that as well.
DB: Yeah it’s sad, but you know, with every show, the curtain comes down.
BOF (Jett): I was thinking since you brought it up, would you like to see a BRAVE & THE BOLD animated movie? I was thinking about you all doing one while I was at the panel earlier.
DB: I think that would be a great way to go out, to have an animated movie of THE BRAVE & THE BOLD. I think that the show was really interesting in many regards and we’ve already touched on the way it can push Batman in different directions for his character, but also just stylistically. Like the episode we just watched [“EMPEROR JOKER!”] is a great example of how just in animation the show can push the envelope stylistically like that. You look at JLA, which is a very straightforward show. It’s another one of James’ shows and it’s very good, but this one really just sort of pushed the envelope in a different direction. I would love to continue it in a movie and see how far we can go with it.
BOF (Sean): Considering how long the character’s been around, there’s actually a pretty short list of people who’ve voiced or played Batman. Now that you’re part of the fraternity, is there any advice you would pass on to future Batmen?
DB: That’s a really interesting question. I think, just like any actor saying to another actor, you have to understand his history and in my opinion, it’s the deepest and richest history of any character in comic books, so you have to be true to that. I mean, there’s certain things that Batman will and will not do. You have to be organic to him. That’s what’s so incredible, creating a fictional character like that. He’s a very interesting character. In other words, you can’t make him from a whole cloth. He’s not going to be organic to you, he is who he is. You really have to play him. That would be my advice.
BOF (Jett): Have you looked at any of the classic Batman Stories, like YEAR ONE, THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, etc. since you started the role?
DB: I read Frank Miller’s THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS when I was a spear carrier in HAMLET because I had a lot of time backstage. A fellow spear carrier in the production I was in had that book. I didn’t know comic books could be that interesting until I read that and it sort of blew my mind. That was my first glimpse of Batman and then doing a couple episodes as a guest star was really interesting on THE BATMAN. It’s funny doing that and listening to Rino [Romano] do it because I kept thinking to myself, “I’d really love to have the chance to do this,” and the fact that it actually came up is just amazing.
GREEN LANTERN - Producer James Tucker
Posted by Jett @ 9:00 AM on Monday, July 26, 2010
Here's our interview with the producer of BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, James Tucker...
BOF (Sean): We were just talking with Diedrich Bader and he mentioned wanting to do a BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD movie. Are there any plans for that at this time, or is it more of a pie in the sky dream that you guys want to do?
JAMES TUCKER: Pie in the sky. I would love to do it. That would be the cherry on the top, I think, of this series, but they haven’t approached us yet. Hopefully they will. I’d like to do it. I don’t know with their current initiative of doing the DVDs that are PG-13, but no one’s approached. They may have enough Batman going on with there other stuff that they’ve got going on, but you know, never say never. Once we get the sales figures for the [B:TATB] DVDs that are coming out from the series, hopefully that might push them one way or the other. I’d love to do it.
BOF (Sean): So everyone should buy two copies then?
JT: *Laughs* I think so, but I get mine for free. I’m gonna buy my own just this once to support the show. The more you buy, the more they do. Money’s the only thing they listen to.
BOF (Sean): In the final run of episodes, will there be anything else with a darker tone like “Chill of the Night,” or will the series stick with its lighter approach?
JT: They’re broader. We got a lot lighter and a lot darker. We’re doing a Doom Patrol episode that for Doom Patrol fans is pretty much their darkest time in their run. We have a couple of serious Batman episodes coming up. There’s a companion piece to “Chill of the Night” that explores Batman’s future that we think is really good and a few others. Nothing quite as dark as “Chill of the Night.” “Chill of the Night” was one of those things that I only wanted to do because it hadn’t been done in animation and it was a set of stories that I thought really should be in animation. Bruce Timm said he never wanted to bring Joe Chill into B:TAS. He wanted to leave that open so I said, “Well, let me do it”’ and I did. As far as that dark, I mean, that’s pretty bleak. I don’t think we have anything that bleak. We have some downer endings coming up, particularly the Doom Patrol episode I talked about
GREEN LANTERN Press Conference, Part 1
Posted by Jett @ 4:44 PM (Pacific) on Saturday, July 24, 2010
Just left the press conference for GREEN LANTERN
. Sadly, I didn’t get into Hall H for the GL
panel prior as that was where the footage was shown. Apparently, the line went from the convention center to Tijuana and people had been camping out since last Christmas to get in. Anyway…
I need to get through the audio, but here’s a couple of things I took away from the presser…
* Lots of passion from both the filmmakers and the cast about this film.
* Ryan Reynolds was totally the right choice for Hall Jordan.
* Blake Lively is hot.
* Mark Strong’s Sinestro = Ra’s Al Ghul in BATMAN BEGINS…but he’s only going to be “good” in this one.
* Director Martin Campbell has no desire to make sure that GL -- and subsequent sequels -- are part of a “DC Movie Universe.” He was asked about it, and said that GL is “it’s own thing.”
I’ll have more later once I get through the audio, but I think we’ve got a winner here. A few pics just for the hell of it...
Batman In Comics News From Comic Con '10
Posted by Jett @ 2:12 PM (Pacific) on Saturday, July 24, 2010
Highlights of "Batman in comics" news from Comic Con '10...
* Grant Morrison is leaving BATMAN AND ROBIN, but will still be writing Batman in a new monthly titled BATMAN INC. Art for the title will be by Yanick Paquette. Here's what Morrison had to say about this title:
"This is kind of a team book. I was looking at the Brave and the Bold cartoon, which I love. I kind of wanted to do that kind of thing. Batman with other people. We’ve come up with a structure that allows us to do something as a team book. That’s where you’ll see what Bruce is up to. The way Bruce Wayne operates things is about to change."
Wow, this is exactly what I wanted to see with Batman in comics -- more of the tail (Morrison) wagging the Bat-dog (DC Comics).
* Batman's costume is going to be updated.
* Jim Gordon is going to be featured in DETECTIVE's new backup.
* Paul Dini's doing a sequel to "Heart of Hush" -- titled "House of Hush" -- that will run in STEETS OF GOTHAM.
* As previously announced, the new creative teams of the various Bat-monthlies were acknowledged.
"Spotlight On Jerry Robinson" Panel Report
Posted by Jett @ 11:40 AM (Pacific) on Saturday, July 24, 2010
Here's our report on "Spotlight on Jerry Robinson" attended by Jett and Sean Gerber...
The panel opened up with the “Godfather of Comic Book Films” himself, Michael Uslan, deserving a well-deserved, warm welcome to comic book legend Jerry Robinson. The audience responded with a standing ovation for the man Uslan, in so many words, described as a force for comics as an art form, not just child’s play.
Robinson accepted the praise gracefully and then led us through a slideshow, spanning his 70-year career as an artist. For Batman fans, the highlight was a glimpse of Robinson’s original concept art for The Joker, as well as some original artwork for some of the more iconic Batman/Joker covers and splash pages.
That’s all well and good, but Michael Uslan wanted to get to the question everyone wanted to hear and asked Robinson, “Who created The Joker.”
“For better or worse,” Robinson answered, “I did create The Joker.” Before continuing, Robinson wanted to emphasize that Bill Finger deserves to be credited as the co-creator of Batman alongside Bob Kane. Then, Robinson dove into the thought progression that resulted in his creation of the greatest comic book villain of all time.
Robinson, Kane, and Finger were given the arduous task of writing four stories to be featured in the premiere issue of BATMAN. They were used to writing single stories every month for Detective Comics, but with a full plate of four stories, Robinson volunteered to help write on of the stories in addition to providing the artwork.
Robinson explained, “My first thought was to due a major character in the literary sense.” Robinson noted that great characters often had contradiction. When it came time to create a villain, Robinson figured that contradiction should be for the villain to have a sense of humor. That thought led Robinson to the name, Joker, which had him hunting for a deck of playing cards because he really wanted to draw from the image of a clown. From there, Robinson began fleshing out a story for The Joker to be an enduring character that would be able to out-whit Batman. Of course, by “enduring,” Robinson meant that he felt The Joker would last for a couple of issues, not 70 years!
Uslan asked Robinson about Bob Kane’s claim that he created The Joker based on Conrad Veidt’s appearance in the film THE MAN WHO LAUGHS. Robinson noted that Bob did present him with the image of Veidt, but that was “after the fact.” Basically, Robinson had already created The Joker and Kane simply recognized that the character in Robinson’s original sketch resembled Veidt and pointed it out to Robinson and Bill Finger.
Tales of who created what continued, as Uslan asked about the origination of Robin, The Boy Wonder. Unlike The Joker, Robinson said that Robin really was more of a collaboration between Kane, Finger, and himself. Finger came up with the idea of having the character be a young boy (and eventually coined the phrases, “The Boy Wonder” and “The Dynamic Duo”) while Robinson came up with the name and the costume. Robinson was inspired by or, in his words, “swiped” the costume and name from N.C. Wyeth’s ROBIN HOOD.
For the characters of Catwoman, Penguin, Scarecrow, and Two-Face, Robinson had a hand in their development, but gave most of the credit to Finger. Robinson then gave Finger sole credit for the creation of Alfred (whom Robinson did redesign), Jim Gordon, and even Gotham City itself (don’t forget that early Batman stories had The Caped Crusader fighting in New York).
Despite the controversy that surrounds the creation of iconic characters like The Joker and Robin, Robinson did have some fond memories of Kane and even shared the story of how the two of them met and how Kane subsequently got Robinson started in comics. While staying “out in the country” per his mom’s request before attending Syracuse University, Robinson was approached by Kane while the former was seated near a tennis court. Kane noticed some sketches Robinson had at his table and asked who drew them.
At the time, Robinson hadn’t even heard of Batman, but Kane offered him a job on the spot. Accepting the job meant Robinson had to move to New York City and attend Columbia University instead of Syracuse. Robinson had already been accepted to both schools and preferred Syracuse, but the ever persuasive Kane helped Robinson have a change of heart and the rest is comic book history (and controversy
For much more on the life of Jerry Robins, pick up a copy of the book, JERRY ROBINSON: AMBASSADOR OF COMICS.
Posted by Jett @ 5:10 PM (Pacific) on Friday, July 23, 2010
I'm covering GREEN LANTERN
in depth tomorrow (Sat, 7/24), but here are 3 sorta cool pics of "Abin Sur" from the Warner Bros. "booth" at Comic Con...
BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD Panel Report
Posted by Jett @ 1:44 PM (Pacific) on Friday, July 23, 2010
Here's Sean Gerber's report on the B:TB&TB Panel...
The biggest news coming out of this year’s B:TATB
panel was the sad announcement that this would in fact be the final panel for the show, as the series will be ending its run with a final 13 episodes, bringing the total run to 65 shows.
When reflecting upon the end of the series, the voice of Batman, Diedrich Bader, got a little emotional. He reiterated what he told BOF in our interview with him after last year’s panel that playing Batman has been his favorite role of his entire career. When asked by a fan about his experience recording the beloved “Chill of the Night” episode, Bader said that he actually cried during a recording session.
The panel wasn’t all about sad goodbyes, however, as producer James Tucker called BT&TB, “The enema that Batman fandom needed to cleanse itself.” James has long been a proponent that Batman has not, nor does he need to always be dark and that there is room for a lighter approach and humor.
Casting director Andrea Romano echoed Tucker’s sentiments, citing her appreciation for the humor in the series. Romano noted how humor was an aspect of the Batman character that she enjoyed with the 60s television show and was happy to have had a chance to bring it back.
Executive producer Sam Register shared the good news that the “Mayhem of the Music Meister” episode received an Emmy nomination. In discussing the reasons behind writing songs for the show, producer Michael Jelenic joked that it was because he and Tucker get residuals for the songs. Jelenic let fans know to be on the lookout for more musical numbers in the show’s final run.
In more news of what’s to come, Bader dropped the bomb that the other two members of the Justice League’s “Big Three” will be make an appearance at some point in the final 13 episodes. Speaking of the future, there were no details provided, but James Tucker is working on another Batman animated series that is in the early stages of development right now.
The highlight of the panel was a screening of the forthcoming “Emperor Joker!” episode, which is one of the better episodes the series has had. It features a new song and the series debut of another member of Batman’s rogues gallery. I wouldn’t dare spoil this episode for all those waiting for it to air, but “Emperor Joker!” is a real treat that serves as a strong tribute to the greatest superhero/super villain rivalry of all time.
To close up the panel, Brandon Vietti (director of BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD) and Greg Wiseman presented character designs and the first footage of the upcoming Cartoon Network series, YOUNG JUSTIC. The series will star Robin (the Dick Grayson version) along with Superboy, Kid Flash, Aqua Lad, and others with the Justice League (Batman and Superman included) in supporting roles. Bruce Greenwood, who just voiced Batman for B:UTRH, will reprise the role for YOUNG JUSTICE.
This year’s BT&TB panel was a bittersweet experience. I’ll be very sad to see this series come to an end, but it’s been a pleasure covering the show for BOF at Comic Con the past two years. That said, I’m very excited about what we’ll see in the series’ final episodes and I loved what I saw of YOUNG JUSTICE.
BOF @ SDCC '10 - Friday, 7/23/10
Posted by Jett @ 1:06 PM (Pacific) on Friday, July 23, 2010
OK, just got out of the panel and presser for BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD
. Got a chance to see a new episode -- “Emperor Joker” -- which was fantastic
! And Bat-Mite returns! We then got the chance to visit with B:TB&TB
’s Batman, Diedrich Bader, and producer Michael Tucker. Sean Gerber is writing up the report as we speak, so it’ll be up shortly. Stay tuned!
Diedrich Bader and Jett
(No, I'm NOT short! He's 6'4" and I'm 6' even!)
BOF Is HERE!
Posted by Jett @ 4:26 PM (Pacific) on Thursday, July 22, 2010
We're going to be very "Batman-Heavy" this year in our CCISD '10 coverage this year -- except for GREEN LANTERN
Sean Gerber will be covering BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD again this year (I might sneek in), while I'm going to focus on BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD. Sean's also going to attend the "World Premiere" of the aforementioned B:UTRH Friday night, and provided us with fan reaction and his review as well.
Sadly, our Batman/DCU comic expert Chris Clow couldn't attend this year. While his Bat-Comic coverage is top-notch, we'll try to pick up the slack.
And then there's GREEN LANTERN -- which I (Jett) will personally be covering here at the Con.
BOF's Heading to Comic Con International San Diego 2010!
Posted by Jett @ 11:45 AM on Wednesday, July 18, 2010
BOF's Jett and Sean Gerber will be attending this year's Comic Con International San Diego this upcoming week. We plan to cover as much Batman-related stuff as possible -- plus a little GREEN LANTERN as well. Stay tuned!
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