KEVIN CONROY RETURNS TO SEMINAL ROLE
AS THE DARK KNIGHT IN SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE
“DESTINATION APOCALYPSE” ONLINE PROMOTION LIVE TODAY
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.
Kevin Conroy reprises his Batman:
The Animated Series role as the Dark
Knight in Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, the ninth entry in the popular
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. (Photo courtesy of Gary Miereanu)
Conroy, 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.
Conroy 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.
The 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
http://DestinationApocalypse.com 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.
Conway 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.
Based 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).
Conroy 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
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
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)
Do you have a preference for the type of story that goes with Batman?
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 people. But 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. I think 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
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.
So in 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.
How does Batman see Superman?
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). So it's 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
Batman is forced to deal with
Darkseid's enormous robotic watchdogs in
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. The DC Universe Animated Original PG-13
Movie will be distributed by Warner Home Video on September 28, 2010.
Kevin Conroy provides the voice of Batman.
You attended Comic-Con International in San Diego last year for the first time
in six years. How did that experience impact you?
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. Also, 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.
Plus, 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.
Away from the Cons, how often are you recognized?
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!” I got 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 said, “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.”
He went 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). That 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.
You’re a classically trained actor and a graduate of Juilliard. Did you receive
any instruction at Julliard that prepared you for voiceover work?
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.
Robin 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. You 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 voice. Robin 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
"Destination Apocalypse," an
interactive promotion that allows fans to
get even deeper into the mythology of Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.
Fans can access "Destination Apocalypse" at
http://DestinationApocalypse.com and explore the many sections
including games, quizzes and information about film. Fans can even
send Kryptonian message to their Facebook friends.
Did you have any clue that would lead you somewhere?
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
I had 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
Did you have much voiceover success before Batman?
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.
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