August 14, 2016

Kevin Conroy Talks ‘The Killing Joke’ and ‘Batman: The Animated Series’

At San Diego Comic-con 2016, we had the honor to sit down and talk with some of the faces and voices behind the newest DC Animated film, Batman: The Killing Joke. One of those voices we talked to were none other than the man behind the voice of Bruce Wayne and Batman, Kevin Conroy. Take a look at the interview below as Kevin Conroy talks about Batman: The Animated Series, The Killing Joke and how it felt to make Batman laugh for the first time.


Kevin Conroy

Q: How was it approaching something like this where it’s R-rated?

Kevin Conroy: Well remember the original show that was on Fox was on primetime. It was really geared toward an adult audience to begin with. It was never geared towards kids to begin with. I think that kind of evolved over time with ‘The Adventures of Batman and Robin’ and ‘The Justice League’, ‘Batman: Beyond’, those were intended to be for a younger audience but ‘Batman: The Animated Series”, what made it so wonderful was that it was a primetime show. They were going for an adult audience. Our biggest audience for that show was I think college age. To answer your question, this is a much darker version, a much more adult story but when you approach the character, you’re being true to the character, regardless of the situation he’s in. The situations change, the character doesn’t change. The thing I found about Batman is that the audience is so passionate with this character. They’re so passionate. They know more about him than I do, in terms of his background. If I was ever to be inauthentic or to lie, or to take a shortcut, I would hear about it in about five seconds. They would just tune it out! And I have too much respect for them. I know that I can’t get away with it, I’m not gonna try. So for me, it’s always getting to the character from the inside out. And I know that’s the way Mark [Hamill] approaches the Joker. He always comes at it from the inside out. These are both really complicated twisted characters. Each twist in their own way. Batman is not square-jawed Superman, he is dark and complex and struggling with inner demons, which is why he’s most comfortable in a cave with bats. Joker is equally damaged. They just go in different directions. Sometimes complete opposites end up in the same place, you know what I mean. I often thought that we define each other (Batman and Joker). One wouldn’t exist without the other.

Q: As a longtime animation veteran, what do you think it means to have a more mature type of entry into the field?

Kevin Conroy: As an art form, I think it’s been being done for awhile with shows like ‘Family Guy’, you got a lot of very adult content animation going on. So for this show we do it with Batman, it makes all the sense in the world. There’s a huge adult audience for animation. It’s appropriate that it happened now. I certainly see it when I go to comic-con, ninety percent of people who come to see me are adults, occasionally, there’s some kids. I’m a very adult character.

Age of the Nerd: How important was it to you to comeback and do the voice of Batman for The Killing Joke, especially when you heard that Mark Hamill really wanted to do it? Did you want to do it as much as Mark did?

Kevin Conroy: Oh, absolutely. I would fly across country to be able to work with Mark [Hamill]. I love working with Mark Hamill. He’s like a brother to me. We get together and there’s (?) we both trust each other. I know Mark [Hamill] wants me to be good and I know he knows that I want him to be good. We want the best out of each other – that’s like a wonderful relationship. I mean it’s like a great, great brother that you just trust.

Q: How was it like to have Batman laughing for the first time?

Kevin Conroy: Isn’t that wild?! I’ve never done that before. We’ve never done that sort of thing, like wait a minute…how do I laugh? I’ve never explored that quality to him. Where does that come from?

Q: Can you do it now by any chance?

Kevin Conroy: No! [Laughs] Because it’s not just putting on a laugh. You’ll see when you see it, Mark [Hamill] said it was wild listening to it. It’s interesting.




About the Author

Chris Salce
Chris Salce
I'm a pop culture fanatic based out of Southern California. My collection of comics and pop culture memorabilia would even impress The Collector. When I'm not busy writing about pop culture news, doing film reviews or interviewing celebs, my brother and I work on a comic book called Blood-RED (And yes, that was a cheap plug). I have a certificate of completion for a children’s storybook writing program.



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