What does it really take to play Batman?
THE RED BULLETIN: How does one go about becoming Batman?
KEVIN CONROY: I auditioned for the role in 1991. I was in LA, working on a series, and my voiceover agent suggested I audition for a new animated Batman. My only exposure to the character had been the ’60s series with Adam West, but they said they were going back to the film-noir origins. My naïveté helped, as I had no preconceptions. I was able to improvise and place myself inside the painful world of childhood loss, and I found myself using this deep, husky voice. It seemed to rise up from a dark place and just felt appropriate.
But your Dark Knight has his lighter moments, and The Lego Batman Movie is a comedy. How do you make him fun?
Attitude. You must remain true to the character, but give him a tweak. When I first came up with different voices for Bruce and Batman, it was to make his disguise more convincing, but then Bruce ended up being more playful. A lot of irony in the voice.
Have you ever been recognised in public?
Not early on. I mean, I have no idea who voiced the cartoons of my childhood, but with the internet, everyone is just a click away. Recently, I was crossing Broadway with my dog when a police officer flashed his lights. I thought, “What have I done now?” Then he piped out of his car, “You’re Kevin Conroy. This is Batman! How about a picture?” I love how people respond to the character. He’s so beloved. I feel so honoured.
So, could your Batman beat the others in a fight?
Seriously? My Batman is the baddest badass Batman. But it’s interesting to see how each actor brings something unique. My favourite Joker, of course, is [co-star] Mark Hamill, but Heath Ledger was wonderfully crazy in a different way.
Ryan Reynolds’ first portrayal of ‘the Merc With A Mouth’ – in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine – was a disaster, but fan power plus leaked test footage ensured a solo movie got the green light. The R-rated result broke box-office records.
Better Call Saul (2015)
The origin story of Breaking Bad’s fast-talking lawyer has become a solid hit. Originally conceived as a half-hour sitcom – it’s now an hour – the series averages double the viewers of its predecessor.
Caravan Of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (1984)
Yes, George Lucas actually gave the furry ‘stars’ of Return Of The Jedi their own vehicle with a made-for-TV movie in which they helped two kids find their parents. Despite being panned, it was given a sequel.