Earlier this week, Nuke the Fridge got invited to do red carpet interviews at the premiere of DC’s new animated film “Justice League: Throne of Atlantis.” I talked to several members of the cast and creators about the film and what we can expect from it. I interviewed Jason O’Mara who voices Batman for the film, and asked him about Batman’s role, his thoughts on Kevin Conroy and who would really win in a fight between Batman and Superman.
Q: This isn’t your first time playing Batman, what’s different about Batman in this film? What’s Batman’s role in this film?
“Batman generally in Justice League is um…he tries to facilitate communication, a little bit of understanding, and from time to time a little bit of kumbaya to try to bring the league together and work as a team. We know from Justice League: War that when they work individually they’re not as affective, obviously but not obvious to them cause they’re all superheroes. Superman is Superman for God sake but Batman is the one who can really see that they need to work together. Also, they need to use their strengths at certain times. So Cyborg has an onboard computer so you know, Batman turns to him a lot in this particular case cause they need his help and his skill this particular story and also sees the opportunities that they would have including Aquaman as part of the league. He doesn’t get to do a lot of the action in this one but he’s definitely there just trying to keep things moving along and to stop some of the characters differences from getting in the way of being an effective team.”
Q: Now when you’re voicing Batman, is it difficult having to go from Bruce Wayne to Batman? Cause they are two different personalities.
“Yeah, I usually ask Andrea Romano, the voice director, if we can leave Bruce until after we’ve done all of the Batman stuff. Batman tends to be most of the movie, at least these days. I mean in ‘Son of Batman’ it was like 70 percent maybe 80 percent Batman. So, we do all the Batman stuff and get all that out of the way and then we’ll do the Bruce Wayne scenes. It’s a much more different, more lighter feel for those anyway. You want to be able to make him as human and Bruce Wayne as possible cause Batman is frankly…some people have argued that Batman is the real persona and Bruce Wayne is sort of the mask, the front. But I think Batman is this um…kind of a monster that he’s created. Whether it’s him for real or not, and it’s a way for him to channel his anger so he can be Bruce Wayne. So I like to do the Batman stuff cause you need a certain amount of darkness and anger and confidence to do that. And then to be Bruce Wayne, you’re slightly more vulnerable, slightly more…well, obviously more charming you know, it’s a different approach. I definitely take a break in between if that’s what you mean.” (Laughs).
Q: Kevin Conroy is a legend for giving Batman a voice, is there anything that you’ve learned from him or taken from him, kind of like inspired by him or anything like that?
“Oh, I’m continually inspired by him. I think his Batman voice is iconic and it’s sort of the gift he’s given to the world. I certainly don’t want to tread on any of that amazing work that he’s done. I certainly learned a lot about that it’s hard to improve on that, so that’s not what I was trying to do, I was trying to find my own version of that, that not only avoided the sound but also kind of give it my own unique spin on it. So I think I got there in the end but it was just listening to how he technically delivers the Batman voice that fascinated me. It’s almost as if he could do it all day, everyday for weeks and never hurt his voice or never strain his voice. He’s able to do it softly but also, annunciate every word. It really is a masterclass listening to him, it’s a voice-acting masterclass. I just listen to as much of his stuff as possible and try to glean as much as I could from that and then try to put my own spin on everything. You know, I came into the studio, particularly on ‘Justice League: War,’ which came out a year ago today, and worked with Andrea [Romano] and we threw out lots of ideas, lots of different versions of the voice until we settled on a voice that is now the voice you hear in the movies but it was a process, it took a long time. Sometimes I felt like ‘Oh no! I sound too much like Christian Bale, now I sound like Kevin Conroy.’ I didn’t want to sound like any of those guys. I wanted to sound like Jason O’Mara but I also wanted to sound like Batman you know? So that’s what it was about. I think we got there in the end. It’s been a really interesting journey, I had no idea that it would be so all-involving. I thought I would just show up and do it but it’s been a lot more detailed and settle in the end.”
Q: In your opinion, who wins, Batman or Superman and why?
“Um…I think Batman but before you scream at me, hear me out. Obviously the superpowers are with Superman and he’s an alien and he has alien powers but I still think there’s no substitute for intelligence and Batman, Bruce Wayne, has this incredible I.Q. and I also believe that he’s the greatest detective in the world. I love that the Batman comic was originally called ‘Detective Comics’ because Batman grew out of the detective genre. Almost grew out of the detective noire like Raymond Chandler stuff and all of that. And I played a lot of detectives on my work on television, so I just love all that. I love noire as well. I think because Batman has the smarts, he would find a way to outwit Superman ultimately and that’s why he would win.”
Jason O’Mara also mentioned that he would love to see “The Court of the Owls” story be turned into an animated film, and I really would love that as well. To top the interview off, the way he introduced himself to me was with two simple words…”I’m Batman.” In the voice of Batman. I can’t tell you how awesome that was.
You can catch Jason O’Mara as the voice of Batman in “Justice League: Throne of Atlantis” when it’s released on Jan. 27.
Still more interviews to come from the premiere of “Justice League: Throne of Atlantis,” so stay tuned throughout the week for more!