Talking about his role in Superman/Batman:
That loud sound you hear in the distance is the echo of
fanboys cheering the return of Kevin Conroy to his benchmark
role as the voice of the Dark Knight for the highly-anticipated
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, the ninth entry in the popular,
ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 Movies
coming September 28, 2010 from Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment,
Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Home Video.
at the Comic-Con Warner Brothers booth...
the voice behind the title character of the landmark Batman:
The Animated Series, set a standard that has yet to be contested
over the past 20 years. Conroy had already been seen on
soap operas and television series like Dynasty and Tour
of Duty when he aced his first audition for an animated
voiceover role in 1991 – earning the title character
role for Batman: The Animated Series. It was a casting decision
that sounds as good today as it did back then.
will share that voice in person as the featured guest when
Warner Home Video, UGO.com and The Paley Center for Media
proudly present the East Coast premiere of Superman/Batman:
Apocalypse in New York on September 23. The West Coast premiere
will be hosted in Los Angeles on September 21.
bi-coastal premieres are just part of the ongoing festivities
in conjunction with the release of the film. Included in
the activities is "Destination Apocalypse," an
interactive online promotion that allows fans to get even
deeper into the mythology of Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.
Fans can access "Destination
Apocalypse" here and explore the many
sections including games, quizzes and information about
film. Fans can even send Kryptonian messages to their Facebook
friends. In each section, participants virtually "check
in" and earn badges to unlock an exclusive video clip
from the movie. In addition, earning badges for participating
in the various activities in each section help to unlock
exclusive movie poster downloads.
helps lead a Superman/Batman: Apocalypse cast that includes
fan favorite Tim Daly (Private Practice) as Superman, as
well as Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age) as the daunting
Darkseid, sci-fi heroine Summer Glau (Serenity/Firefly;
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), and multi-Emmy
Award winner Ed Asner (Up) as Granny Goodness.
on the DC Comics series/graphic novel “Superman/Batman:
Supergirl” by Jeph Loeb, Michael Turner & Peter
Steigerwald, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is produced by
animation legend Bruce Timm and directed by Lauren Montgomery
(Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths) from a script by
Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Tab Murphy (Gorillas
in the Mist).
course, Batman saves the world... as usual."
will speak quite a bit during pre-premiere interviews and
a post-premiere panel discussion on September 23. But for
those fans who can’t attend the sold-out event, here’s
some thoughts the actor offered after a recent recording
MIEREANU: Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
features a foe powerful enough to require more than just
one super hero to step to the plate. Can you speak to the
importance of a great villain?
CONROY: Well, the major villain is Darkseid, and
he is very apocalyptic. You know, it’s in the title
(he laughs). The bigger the villain, the greater
the conflict – so as Darkseid is this epic-sized villain,
it gives a lot of dynamic for Batman and Superman to work
off, and creates that much more drama. Which means lots
of action. And, of course, Batman saves the world …
as usual. What would you expect? (he laughs)
MIEREANU: Do you have a preference for
the type of story that goes with Batman?
CONROY: What makes Batman interesting to audiences
isn't just the fact of the personal drama, or the darkness
of his having a secret identity, or his avenging his parents'
death. All of that personal drama makes him appealing to
I think of all the super heroes, what sets him apart is
that he's the only one that doesn't have any superpowers.
He is the great detective. So in every story, it always
comes down to his using his wits.
everyone relates to that and loves that about him. I really
admire that aspect of his character – I wish I was
wittier. That's why I think audiences get into him so much,
and that character trait is very important to this story.
Batman is a basically a loner. What are your thoughts about
his lone wolf approach, and how that works in a “buddy”
adventure like the Superman/Batman films?
was always the guy left back in the cave."
CONROY: Batman’s isolation and his singularity,
his inability to really let other people into his personal
world, is really essential to the character. It's part of
what audiences expect. Even in a series like Justice League,
where he was one of seven super heroes, Batman was always
the odd man out. The others would go off as a group to do
something – you know, they might go have pizza –
and Batman was always the guy left back in the cave.
these Superman stories, I think it's the closest Batman
gets to having a brother, a kindred spirit. Superman understands
Batman. He understands his need to be alone and his isolation.
He’s probably the only one of all the super heroes
who can balance Batman in terms of wit and power, so they're
a very good balance for each other.
MIEREANU: How does Batman see Superman?
CONROY: I think Batman thinks of Superman as the
Dudley Do-Right of super heroes. He admires his strength
and his character, but he also he thinks he's incredibly
naïve and very unsophisticated about the world. Remember,
Batman is also Bruce Wayne, so he's very urbane. He's very
versed in the way of the world. And Superman is Clark Kent,
and he's such a goof (he laughs).
almost all about the alter-ego – the darkness of Batman’s
Bruce Wayne is balanced out by the sunny demeanor of Superman’s
Clark Kent. That's where I think the distinction is. Batman
just thinks that Superman is kind of a very, very naïve
guy who always sees the goodness in everybody. And Batman
tends to see the darkness.
MIEREANU: You attended Comic-Con International
in San Diego last year for the first time in six years.
How did that experience impact you?
CONROY: The experience with the fans always re-energizes
me for Batman. I've always been really into meeting and
interacting with the fans. I understand why a lot of actors
don't like to do that because it can be very invasive of
your private life. But I'm just so appreciative because
I figure I wouldn't have a job if it wasn't for them.
my background is the theatre, and the fun of doing theatre
is the interaction with the audience, the feedback you get
every night. You just don't get that in Hollywood. You don't
get that with television or film, and you certainly don't
get it working in animation. So the only place you get it
is to go to places like the Cons.
in front of the fans, where he likes being.
you get funny perks. I went to a Starbucks in downtown San
Diego, and they said, “Oh, Mr. Conroy, you don't pay
for coffee today.” (he laughs) I thought,
well, that hasn't happened in a long time.
MIEREANU: Away from the Cons, how often
are you recognized?
CONROY: It happens in some unusual places. A number
of years ago, I was in the Hollywood Post Office parking
lot. I left everything in the car, because I was just going
straight to the mail drop with the envelope. This guy, who
was sitting on the curb, obviously homeless, says to me
“Hey, buddy, have you got a quarter?” And I
said, “I'm so sorry. I literally don't. I have nothing.”
He said, “You're Kevin Conroy!”
really nervous – you just assume that your job is
anonymous working on animation, so I asked him how he knew
that and he said, “Oh, everybody knows who's Batman.”
I said, “No, believe me, everyone doesn't know who's
Batman.” He said, “Oh, please--please--please--please
do the voice.” He said, “Just say it …
I am vengeance.” He knew the lines.
“I am vengeance.” He said, “Oh, my God.
Batman's here! Batman's here!” He said, “Say
it: I am the night.” I said, “I am the night.”
He said, “Go! Go! Finish! Finish!” And I said
“I am Batman!” So the two of us are there screaming
“I am Batman!” in the parking lot, and he started
clapping and clapping, yelling “I can't believe I
have Batman in the parking lot.”
on to explain to me that all television monitors at the
Circuit City on Hollywood Blvd. showed Batman every day,
and he would stand outside and watch the show. So I said,
“Wait, just a second,” and I went running back
to the car for some cash. He said, “Oh, I can't take
Batman's money.” I
told him he was going to take Batman's money so he wouldn’t
tell anyone that Batman is cheap (he laughs).
whole scene was wild, though – the last place you'd
expect for someone to recognize a voice actor is in the
parking lot of the post office.
MIEREANU: You’re a classically trained
actor and a graduate of Juilliard. Did you receive any instruction
at Julliard that prepared you for voiceover work?
CONROY: At that time, Juilliard was the new hot
place to go if you wanted to be an actor, My classmates
were people like Robin Williams, Kelsey Grammer, Frannie
Conroy. We were all kids. Robin and I were roommates for
two years, stealing food from each other when the other
wasn’t looking. We were starving students.
was brilliant at the one thing that is perhaps what best
prepared me for what I do now, voicework. There was a famous
teacher named Pierre LeFevre who ran the mask program at
Juilliard. French masks conceal just the upper part of the
face. This is classical French theatre, and it's all part
of a very classical education.
put on these masks and they completely neutralize who you
are. You become a different person. You can't use the expressions
on your face – you can only use your body and your
lived in those mask classes – he would put on these
masks and just become these unbelievable characters. Pierre
practically adopted Robin. There was some really inspired
stuff going on. The point is that in that class, all you
could use was your voice. It really made you focus on that
– especially on characterization in your voice.
MIEREANU: Did you have any clue that would
lead you somewhere?
CONROY: It’s like that old expression –
life is what happens to you when you're busy making other
plans. I made all these plans to be a classical actor, and
you can't make a living in the theatre anymore. There are
no more classical actors. Everyone who survives in the theatre
does it by doing TV and film … or voice work.
no idea that this is what I would end up doing, but it certainly
prepared me for it. I get that question a lot from people.
How do you get into this business? How do I get into voice
work? And I always say, “Well, you go to Juilliard
for four years …” (he laughs) That’s
the thing – everyone's route is unique.
MIEREANU: Did you have much voiceover success before
CONROY: Actually, I started doing voice work in
the early '80s, and the very first voice job I did was the
first commercial I auditioned for. Remember Paco Rabanne
cologne? The hook line was “What is remembered is
up to you.” That was me. And over the next couple
years, it paid me $25,000 for those few words. It paid for
a lot of theatre acting.
so let us remember Superman/Batman: Apocalypse and thank
both Gary and Kevin Conroy for sitting down for this interview...