Kevin Conroy on SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE - Mania.com



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Kevin Conroy on SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE

The iconic voice makes it sound easy

By Robert T. Trate     September 26, 2010
Source: Mania


SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE - Interview
© Mania

He is vengeance, he is the night, and he is Kevin Conroy. There has been one definitive voice for Batman in the last 19 years and it has been Conroy. Since he first put on the cowl in 1992 Conroy’s voice as been synonymous with the Dark Knight. On the eve of yet another adventure, Superman/ Batman Apocalypse, of the caped crusader Conroy sat down with Mania to discuss his career and journeying to Apocalypse.

SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE

Question: Is it easy to fall into the character, considering you have played him for the last 19 years?

Kevin Conroy: Yeah. I love to say its not and that it takes enormous preparation (smiles) but it doesn’t. It is pretty easy.

Question: Is there a subtle difference you bring to each Batman? Is this one different than the one in the animated series?

Kevin Conroy: Andrea [Romano, Voice Director] and I always think, what is similar to be consistent. Because writers always bring differences, so that is a difference. It is my job to find the common thread because the audience knows him as well as I know him. The audience is very tuned into this guy and it’s very loyal. If there is a false note, they’ll pick it up like that. I don’t think that I can deviate too far from that core guy without it seeming unauthentic.

Question: You have often referred to Batman as a Shakespearean type character. Which character do you see him as and why?

Kevin Conroy: Well, it is just because I went through Julliard and I worked with the New York Shakespeare Festival and because that was my background. You always bring what you have to any role that you play. I just thought it was very Hamlet and he is. There are certain archetypes even if you are altering the story and that’s the archetype he fits into, the misunderstood hero, living in the dark, can’t get over the death of his parents. There are similar heroes in Greek tragedies. I just brought what I knew.

Batman meets Kara - a.k.a. Supergirl - in SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE


Question: You’ve played him for nearly twenty years. How does it feel to know you have influenced a generation of fans?

Kevin Conroy: I’m always amazed that people know what I do. I really am. I am amazed that they have a clue who the voice is. I brought my car into a garage recently and they told me that they needed my name and address. I said it was Kevin Conroy and he said that must be a weird name to have. So I said why? Well that’s that guy from animation, that’s the guy that does Batman. Then I said well that’s me. He said bullshit, prove it. So I started doing some voices standing in this guy’s garage. I asked him how did you know? He said everybody knows that. It is a no brainer. I’m still amazed that anybody knows because to me it is so anonymous. It is a privilege to be apart of something like that.

 

The trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman stand with the Amazons in SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE

Question: Batman is clearly out of his element when it comes to Dakseid and Apocalypse. How does he cope with such a villain?

Kevin Conroy: Well it’s a team effort and with Superman he defeats him jointly. With Batman, who is the true hero; I just wanted to make that clear (laughs). I’m kidding. Superman has all these great powers but Batman doesn’t. His power is to rely on his wits. You’ll see as the film evolves he pulls the rabbit out of the hat at the end. That is the fun part about playing the character he is MacGyver like. He really has to think of something and create ideas; he can’t rely on super powers.

Question: In your opinion are there any villains that are too big for Batman?

Kevin Conroy: Are you kidding? Absolutely not (laughs).

Batman is forced to deal with Darkseid's enormous robotic watchdogs in SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE

 

Question: What was it like to take the character to Apocalypse?

Kevin Conroy: You have to see the movie to understand what Apocalypse is. It is pretty epic. It is a beautiful film and on a very grand scale. I guess what is unique about this one is that Batman needs to learn to work with others and not be such a loner.

Question: Did Superman/ Batman Apocalypse bring any new challenges to the character that you hadn’t encountered before?

Kevin Conroy: Yeah, because I am sharing the stage with a lot of other people. You will see that Superman has a lot of the film. When you don’t have as much presence in the terms of lines you have to make your presence felt each time that you are on. You got to make it really powerful. So that was a challenge. When I’m doing Batman and Robin, a Batman movie, or anything else I have the story to support me which is Batman’s show. This time, I was sharing it largely with Superman. It has more to do with his back story line than mine. You don’t want to take over, be obnoxious, or pushy but you still want to make a statement. So that was a bit of a challenge.

 

Superman looks all super in SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE

 

Question: If you had the chance, would you ever want to play Superman in one of the animated films?

Kevin Conroy: Oh sure. What actor is going to say no to a job? One day Tim [Daly, Superman] didn’t come on time and Andrea asked me to fill for him so we could record the other actors. I thought that would be cool (evil laughs). I did him really well and she said how did you that? I said it was just Batman without the balls (evil laughs).

 

 

Superman/ Batman Apocalypse will be released on DVD and Blu-ray/ DVD Combo pack on Sept. 28th, 2010.


 

The hardest part about interviewing Conroy was looking at him and not seeing an animated character (cowl and all) talking to you. His regular voice is so close to that of Batman’s that to close your eyes was to see the Dark Knight right in front of you. Robert, when not interviewing Superheroes, writes two weekly columns for Mania the DVD Shopping Bag and the Toy Maniac. Robert also participates in a pod cast that reviews movies, comics and celebrates all things geek. Check it out at You’ve Got Geek on You.com.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
Rockhead 9/26/2010 5:27:44 PM

That is too cool. I've always felt that the Batman we see in the animated series is the definitive Batman. not overpowered, the way he was meant to be.

Because Dini and Timm did such a fantastic job with that series, you can't help but feel that the other voice actors such as Mark Hammil, Tim Daly, Victor Ansara (who was brilliant as Freeze), Ron Perlman (who was fantastic as Clayface), Dana Delany and Clancy Brown (as Lex Luthor) are the definitive versions of those characters. I enjoy these new movies but they are not as much fun (different feel and tone) as the series that started it all.

 

animefanjared 9/26/2010 10:36:49 PM

I agree, Rockhead.  I'm sure it's because that series was my inroduction the the character and is still the definitive version for me, but whenever I read a Batman story, he speaks with Kevin Conroy's voice.  Every time they announce one of these movies and Conroy isn't doing Batman (or Daly isn't Superman or
Brown isn't Luthor), I get disappointed.

dojen1 9/27/2010 3:18:50 AM

Rockhead, I agree totally. However I have to nitpick: it was Michael Ansara who voiced Mr. Freeze. You're likely picking up "Victor" from the character's name. Ansara played a wonderful array of movie and TV character's (including the Klingon commander Kang in the "Day of the Dove" episode of Star Trek) and he was married to Barbara (I Dream of Jeanie) Eden; which means he definitely didn't have to dream..... But I agree Conroy IS Batman. All others...meh

heath0920 9/27/2010 7:37:56 AM

I have to give James Marsters credit for his portrayal of Lex in the Superman Doomsday film. He wasn't Clancy, but he came across as more "mad genius" to  Clancy's "corporate malevolance." In fact, I think they have Marsden doing Lex's voice for their Online game. I didn't think anyone could replace Brow, but he made me a believer. But otherwise, I agree completely that their voice acting is some of the finest quality I've ever heard. I too find  myself picturing their voices when I read the comics, especially Hamill and Conroy. 

 I've often wished they would have had Conroy dub the audio lines for Chrisitan Bale when he ws in the cowl. It would have been so much better than the laringitis effect Bale came up with. 

CaericArcLight 9/27/2010 8:55:24 AM

"Batman without the balls." heh heh heh....love it.

Rheul_home 9/27/2010 9:30:15 AM

I watched this yesterday afternoon and I think its the best DC animated movie yet. Very cool and the final battle is just out of this world.

MegatronLegacy 9/27/2010 10:07:18 AM

Was Superman just punching fire?...I don't think fire makes a noise when you punch it....then again I've never punched fire so maybe I'm just talking out of my butt.

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BunyonSnipe 2/3/2011 3:10:53 PM

I've been playing DC Universe Online and it's great to hear Conroy as the Bat in that and Hamil as the Joker...

And as much as I love James Marsters and Adam Baldwin, I really wanted Clancy Brown and Tim Daly as Luthor ans Superman...

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