Next Animated DC DVD: ‘Batman: Under the Red Hood’

02.11.2010

toonzone.net reports (via the LA Times) that Batman: Under the Red Hood will be the next at the next DC Comics animated direct-to-video title adapting “the recent storyline from the 2005 Batman comics written by Judd Winick, who is also apparently writing the screenplay to the movie.”

Brandon Vietti will direct, and the voice cast will feature Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek) as Batman, Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) as the Red Hood, Neil Patrick Harris as Nightwing, John DiMaggio as the Joker, and Jason Isaacs (the Harry Potter franchise) as Ra’s al-Ghul.

Sorry, I can’t hold back the commentary on this one. This is the third voice for Batman in a year. Come on Warners/DC Comics — make up your mind, for crying out!

Granted, William Baldwin as Batman in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is forgivable since it’s an “alternate universe” kind of story. Otherwise, Batman should be voiced by Kevin Conroy, and only Kevin Conroy. Even Christian Bale‘s Batman should have been overdubbed by Kevin Conroy.


CVG Interviews Mark Hamill

01.14.2010

ComputerandVideogames.com has an interview with Mark Hamill discussing his performance as Joker through the animated Batman franchise, Star Wars, his video game voice work, and how opinion has changed in Hollywood regarding voice acting in video games.

Oh, and I normally don’t link to articles that link to the interview I’m linking to, but you absolutely must see this image that Joystiq.com created to accompany their mention of Hamill’s interview.

And speaking of Batman, I’ve updated a previous feature on the voices of Batman.

Also on a related note, Mania.com offers a retrospective on “Batman: The Animated Series,” making an observation on the importance of the voice casting:

[T]he Joker…is notable for the fact that he gave Mark Hamill a whole new career for himself in voice acting. The series not only refined the characters in this series but even refined someone outside of the series. Mark Hamill was only known for one thing for his career and that was for his role of Luke Skywalker. It’s no slouch role, but it’s still one role. Thanks to his iconic portrayal of the Joker, Hamill was given new life as a major prolific voice actor.

Hamill was originally only in for a guest voice-role before the producers noticed they had no one to play the Joker. They offered the role to Hamill and he nailed the part perfectly. The way Hamill would cheerfully express the Joker’s disturbed feelings flawlessly suited what the series was going for. A major part of his success attributes to the contributions of the other voice actors. Instead of simply reading the words from a script separately from the rest of the cast, the crew recorded their voices together in a studio where they have the benefit of reacting to one another. The result led to being totally in complete character without missing a beat. That really sounds like super fun and I’m sure they all enjoyed working with each other rather than working separately.

Related post: 1.14.2010 — Hollywood Actors Face ‘Special Challenges’ in Voice Acting


‘Justice League: Crisis’ Voice Cast Interviewed

11.19.2009

Buried in a recent “collectors edition” of the print magazine Life Story: Film Fantasy is a 4-page feature article on the upcoming animated feature Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, co-produced by Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation.

There’s no mention of the Justice League movie on the cover. The magazine targets Tw*light fans on the release of the glittery vampirish feature film N*w M*on. [If you’re wondering why the censorship, it’s to avoid coming up in keyword searches by fans of that series. Nothing against them personally though, since my wife’s a diehard fan. I just don’t want them overruning my blog.]

I’d link a cover image here, but again I’d like to avoid keyword searches related to the movie. If you want to see it, do a Google search on the magazine title plus the movie title. (But I don’t think you’ll have any trouble finding a copy.)

The magazine’s hidden feature on Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths includes preview images, storyboard art and interviews with writer Dwane McDuffie and celebrity voice cast Billy Baldwin (Batman), Mark Harmon (Superman), James Woods (Owlman), Gina Torres (Super Woman) and Chris Noth (Lex Luthor). (Additional voices confirmed as of this writing are Vanessa Marshall (Wonder Woman), Josh Keaton (The Flash) and Bruce Davison (The President).

SPOILER ALERT! The following excerpts from the cast on voicing their respective characters may include spoilers, so you can’t say you weren’t warned. Please scroll down to continue reading.

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– Billy Baldwin on Batman:

I enjoyed [Batman] as a child, and the character still resonates for me. Plus, my [7-year-old] boy…just loves superheroes. We watch Justice League together. When I told him I was playing Batman, his jaw dropped.

I was looking at the script on a plane, and I was really attracted to the character and the piece based on my understanding of Batman. He doesn’t have long monologues so there wasn’t a lot of memorization necessary. [There wasn’t *any* memorization necessary, Billy. Voice actors read from a script in the studio, and thankfully never have to memorize their dialog. — Ed.] I was mostly focused on getting into the rhythm of how the character speaks, because a lot of his dialogue can be incredibly challenging emotionally. That’s the thing about Batman — his spectrum of emotion is fairly narrow, for a number of reasons. He’s always in command, he’s always in control, he’s always holding it together.

– Mark Harmon on Superman:

I’m actually a little uncomfortable playing Superman.

I don’t think you [can just] play him as the guy with the red S on his chest. You’ve got to play the human values of that or the values that connect to a human audience.

To me, growing up watching Superman on black and white television or reading it in the comic books, all the superhuman things he did were cool. But the things that attracted me are really the human part of the character, or at least the part that was more real. Hopefully that’s what I brought to that. He’s a leader. He’s a quarterback. He can be tough when he needs to be. He can certainly be direct. [He] tries to speak honestly. I understand those values.

– Chris Noth on Lex Luthor:

I was extremely excited to be playing the ultimate villain from my youth, so I was very suprised to see that in this world Lex is actually on the right side of the law. That required a whole new thinking on my part on how to approach him. I mean, he’s a superhero in this very complex story about parallel universes — he’s actually trying to save all of reality…from being destroyed. So when I read it, I was thinking, “Wow, I need to get up to date on this new world of superheroes.” I guess I’m a little bit retro.

– James Woods on Owlman:

If Ultraman is Superman’s dark doppelganger, the Owlman is Batman’s dark side. Owlman is… a very dangerous character. [His] extraordinary brain power… [which] I think [causes] him to have incredibly dark, existential reservations about his acts. [And] he becomes a [threat], not only to the Justice League and to Earth as we know it, but also all the other alternate Earths… the future of the multiverse may be in his hands.

Owlman and Super Woman, who’s Wonder Woman’s dark side, have this strange power-hungry kind of — I won’t call it love affair, but certainly a strange attraction. And it is the dark side of love, so it involves a kind of power and domination. [Their] love is sort of a really brutal, bitter kind of love. And to get that kind of tone into it was kind of strange, because it’s not what love would be about. So you have things that are kind of counterintuitive, but it’s fun to try it.

– Gina Torres on Super Woman:

I’m so glad they called me to do Super Woman, because she’s another badass (laughs), and I wsa in the mood to get back in there and be a badass. She’s one of those superheroes that knows her power and is comfortable in [it].

There is no trick to caputuring villainy. Everybody has different sides to them. Everybody has that inner villain that you want to sort of break out and express. It’s a good time going out there and letting her come out. Lock good Gina in the closet and have evil Gina come out and play!

To read the full interview, you’ll have to purchase the magazine (because I don’t want to get sued for copying it verbatim). And it’s pricey at $9.99, but if you buy it at Wal-Mart it should scan at $8.95. The cover says it will be available on newsstands through 2.08.2010.

Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths is slated to release on DVD and Blu-ray early Spring 2010.

Related post: 7.23.2009 – ‘Batman/Superman: Public Enemies’ Voice Cast Interviewed

Sources: IMDb, Wikipedia, World’s Finest


Batman: The Brave and The Bold Soundtrack Release

10.09.2009

For Immediate Release

The Caped Crusader faces a new villain in the upcoming Batman: The Brave & The Bold episode, “Mayhem of the Music Meister!” The episode, from Warner Bros Animation, features the voice of Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog) as the Music Meister, a menacing villain who is able to exert powerful mind-control through song. Producers and cast members received a standing ovation following a sneak-preview at Comic-Con this past July and, after much anticipation, the episode will finally air Friday, October 23 at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on Cartoon Network.

On Saturday, October 24, New Line Records will release Batman: The Brave & The Bold: Mayhem of the Music Meister! – Soundtrack from the Animated Television Show digitally on iTunes and other digital music outlets. Amazon.com will offer fans the exclusive option of purchasing either a hard or digital copy of the soundtrack. The soundtrack will feature all five original songs from the episode as well as the highly sought Batman: The Brave & The Bold theme.

“Being approached by the producers to do a ‘Batman Musical’ was a complete surprise and total thrill,” said composers Michael McCuistion, Lolita Ritmanis and Kristopher Carter. The phenomenal cast and musicians brought each song to life and we are so happy New Line Records has agreed to release a soundtrack so that this music can be enjoyed by Batman fans worldwide.”

About Batman: The Brave & The Bold
Extremely popular on Cartoon Network with its combination of fast-paced action and humor, Batman: The Brave and the Bold is executive produced by Sam Register, with James Tucker and Linda M. Steiner as producers. The voice cast includes Diedrich Bader as Batman, James Arnold Taylor as Green Arrow, Will Friedle as Blue Beetle, Tom Kenny as Plastic Man, John DiMaggio as Aquaman and Corey Burton as Red Tornado.


April Winchell Meets Judge Judy

07.29.2009

Cartoon voice actor April Winchell (Tak & The Power of Juju, The Legend of Tarzan, and the voice of Disney character Clarabelle Cow for more than a decade) shares an anecdote and photos on her blog about getting to meet TV star Judge Judy.

April also mentions, “I was invited to sit in the front row of the audience for two cases, which means you’ll actually be able to see my pale and sweating face when they air that episode in September.”

[Caution: Other of April’s blog posts do have adult language and content.]

April also revealed via Twitter on July 28th: “First day of work on an animated Batman movie at WB and don’t know one person in the cast. WEIRD.” [Note: I am trying to confirm with April if this might have been for the upcoming Batman/Superman: Public Enemies DVD/Blu-Ray release, or some other animated Batman movie.]

Elsewhere, GeekPropaganda.com has an interview with April. [Caution again on adult language in the interview.]

And here’s a video clip I’ve been meaning to post since April (the month, that is), when April (the actor) appeared on The Martha Stewart Show as part of an April Fool’s Day prank:

April also blogged about the event here.


Adam West Hosts ‘Batman Garage Sale’

04.30.2009

Submitted for your amusement:

Funny or Die: Batman Garage Sale (with Adam West).

In related, non-satirical news, Wally Wingert relayed news via his blog that “Adam West’s son-in-law James is doing a documentary about his day-to-day life”:

[The documentary sounds] fascinating since Adam’s existence is so fascinating and diverse. James and his crew came by Planet Wallywood earlier in the day to shoot my collection and an interview with me telling stories about my experiences with Adam. After that, I got ready and headed to the “Family Guy” offices to do some more voices. I knew that Adam would be working that day as well, and James and his crew would be there filming. When I got there they got great footage of Adam and I hanging out, chatting, and having some laughs. Adam told the story on-camera of how we first met back in Sioux Falls, South Dakota back in 1980 and how he “discovered” me and encouraged me to move to L.A. Then Seth MacFarlane came out of the booth and he spoke on-camera with Adam for awhile.

Previous news: 3.21.2009 — Adam West is a Cab Driver.


Adam West is a Cab Driver

03.21.2009

LA Times blogger Geoff Boucher talks with Adam West on Batman, his role as Mayor Adam West on Family Guy, and his upcoming TV and movie appearances.

When comparing his role as Batman to more recent performances, West says, “Batman is so dark now, The new films, they are grim, Gothic, full of explosions, mayhem. It’s the way of things, I suppose, the whole world seems darker. I look at [it] this way: They’ve got the ‘Dark Knight,’ and I was the bright knight. Or maybe I was even … the neon knight. There’s a lot of talent, money and expertise with the new films. They’re beautifully crafted, but there’s something about our Batman that still strikes a chord. And as for me, I’m too young and pretty to retire, as somebody once said.”

West says he has a guest role on a new episode of 30 Rock, and reveals that he will physically appear with Rob Lowe in a live-action scene for an upcoming episode of Family Guy, which West says is “hysterical.”

West also discusses his role in the new superhero spoof film Super Capers which opened in select theaters March 20th:

“It’s a very bright comedy adventure. In it I’m a cab driver [who has] gotten a hold of the Batmobile and converted it to a taxi cab — with air conditioning. I meet up with a young guy who’s trying to be a super hero, played by an actor named Justin Whalin, who is quite good, and I’m able to drive him around on some of his misadventures. It’s a family film which means you can take anyone from a 2-year-old to your great-granny to it and they probably would all enjoy it. I’m happy to be part of that.”

When asked what it was like to be back behind the wheel of the Batmobile, West says, “It was great. All those things that you do in a long career come back pretty easily once you get your hands on the wheel.

The cast of Super Capers includes other actors who are no strangers to voice acting: Doug Jones (Hellboy Animated), Clint Howard (Curious George, Winnie The Pooh), June Lockhart (The Critic, Duckman), and John Polito (Chowder, Batman Beyond, Avatar: The Last Airbender).

You can view the trailer for the film at SuperCapers.com.

Continue reading: Adam West gets back in the Batmobile.