While many actors have played the Caped Crusader and his arch-nemesis the Joker, a significant number of fans still regard the voice-work of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill to be the definitive portrayals of the respective characters. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series, Conroy and Hamill reflected on their work with the show and how they found the appropriate voice for their character.
Conroy revealed that he initially portrayed Bruce Wayne with a different voice:
“Early on, I said, ‘This is the most famous and powerful guy in Gotham. Are you telling me he just puts on a mask and no one knows it’s him? Seriously? There’s got to be more to the disguise.’ My template for the two voices was the 1930s film The Scarlet Pimpernel. I played Bruce Wayne as sort of a humorous playboy to counteract the brooding nature of Batman.”
When Conroy’s more humorous take on Wayne’s voice did not work well opposite the dark art syle of the show, the actor was asked to reconsider his approach:
“It was too much. So Bruce had me re-record the first few episodes and tone it down. They liked my idea of two voices; they just wanted it to be more subtle.”
Instructed not to model his performance after Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the character, Mark Hamill recalled his audition for the role of The Joker:
“I remember going in and they gave me the Nicholson note, which wasn’t anything I wanted to do. I wanted to deliver an old school comic book interpretation of the Joker. He’s a theatrical guy who really has fun; the joy has to come across in his battle with Batman.”
Having landed the role in part due to his now iconic Joker laugh, Hamill explained the secret to his maniacal cackle:
“I had been playing Amadeus for almost a year on the road. On those shows, you can’t change the words, but I would play around with the laugh. Because of the play, I had an arsenal of laughs for the Joker.”
Conroy explained why be believes the episode titled “Perchance to Dream,” where Bruce Wayne wakes up to the world created by the Mad Hatter in which Bruce Wayne’s parents were never killed and he is engaged to Selina Kyle, is the best entry in the series:
I got to create Thomas Wayne’s voice, which was a really fun challenge in addition to bringing the episode’s incredible story to life. The wonderful thing about playing a character like Bruce Wayne is that you get to explore his damaged psychology. I love the scripts that examine his internal makeup. ‘Perchance to Dream,’ the movie Mask of the Phantasm, they really dig into this man and what led him to become Batman.
Hamill listed off a number of his favorite episodes:
“The Joker never gets tiresome because he’s insane, and that makes him unpredictable, which is never boring. I love that he has the emotional maturity of a 9-year-old and he can turn on a dime. I loved ‘The Laughing Fish,’ which was a story taken out of the comics, ‘Joker’s Favor,’ and ‘The Man Who Killed Batman,’ which has the best Joker monologue of all time.”
What are some your favorite episodes of the series? Share your thoughts below!
Kevin Conroy returned to voice the Caped Crusader in the animated film Batman and Harley Quinn:
In Batman and Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue (a.k.a. The Floronic Man) embark on an ecological quest to save the planet – and, unfortunately, eliminate most of humankind along the way. To save humanity, Batman and Nightwing are forced to enlist Harley Quinn to catch Poison Ivy, Harley’s BFF and frequent partner-in-crime. But Batman’s patience is put to the test by the unpredictable and untrustworthy Harley during the twists and turns the reluctant companions face during their bumpy road trip. The result is a thrill ride of action, adventure and comedy no Batman fan has seen before.
Batman and Harley Quinn is now available on Digital HD, Blu-Ray, Ultra HD and DVD.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
The Top 25 ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ Episodes
If you’re looking for one of the (if not the) greatest animated shows of all-time, look no further than Batman: The Animated Series. The show that began the DC Animated Universe (DCAU) premiered in 1992 and spawned over a hundred episodes, plus Superman and Justice League series, among others. It gave Batman and Joker voices of a generation in Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill. In my estimation, it easily surpasses the films as second only to the comics in the Batman legend.
After a holiday re-watch, I ranked the 25 best episodes from both iterations of the series, which ran from 1992 to 1994 and from 1997 to 1999, respectively. A * denotes an episode that is part of The New Batman Adventures, which were produced three years after The Animated Series concluded.
Honorable Mentions: “Second Chance,” “P.O.V.,” “Mad as a Hatter,” “Heart of Steel two-parter” & “His Silicon Soul”, “Birds of a Feather,” “Mudslide,” “Eternal Youth,” “Dreams in Darkness”
Click Next to start the list and learn about our top 25 Batman: The Animated Series episodes!