There is always going to be a discussion about who has played Batman the best over the years. Many say Christian Bale in the Dark Knight trilogy. Most hardcore DC fans go classic and argue that Micheal Keaton did it best. Let’s be honest, I’ve never heard the argument over Clooney or Kilmer so I think we can gloss over those two. I am under the impression, and have been since day one, that Batfleck will own all of Batman cinema after BvS hits theatres. But when it comes to who has done Batman the best only one name comes to mind. Kevin Conroy is that name. I think most DC people would have to agree that there was something about Conroy’s portrayal as not only Batman, but also Bruce Wayne. He managed to capture the perfect duality of the character. He showed that Batman wasn’t the one wearing the mask.
Screenrant got a chance to talk to Conroy about his lengthy time voicing such an iconic character. He talks about how he feels about the Batman landscape to come and also gives thoughts on the different faces behind The Joker.
Conroy has been doing the voice of Batman for 23 years. He has been doing the role for so long that he has watched many actors take on the role. SR asked if he ever felt like he was competing or stepping on toes.
No, not at all. I think that different actors bring different qualities to the character. It’s such a wonderful mantle to put on that I think it’s a lot of fun for different actors to see how they play it. I think it was kind of brilliant that Warner Brothers had different actors do the live action Batman for each version, because their take on the character was so different. That happens with all characters. I thought Mark Hamill defined The Joker. He was just, to me, the ultimate Joker. And then I saw Heath Ledger’s Joker, which was absolutely inspired and brilliant in another way. And then there have been subsequent people doing the voice of the joker. Different actors just bring different qualities to a character. No one owns a character. So I like seeing what other people do with Batman. I think it’s fun.
Kevin Conroy was really the first person to give Bruce Wayne and Batman a sort of split personality. SR asked Conroy to give a little insight into that process.
Well, it just came to me when I was starting to work on the character, because I really didn’t have a background in Batman the way a lot of people do. I had to be brought up to speed by Bruce Timm. When they were describing to me his background, his drama, the tragedy of his life and how he lived these two personalities, I said, “Well, if he’s the wealthiest man in Gotham and everybody knows who he is, he’s the most eligible bachelor. Everyone woman is trying to get him. If he puts on a mask, no one knows it’s him?” I said, “Seriously? That’s what we’re going to do? That’s ridiculous! Let me try doing something with the voice to make it more believable that it’s not him. Let me use a different voice for Bruce Wayne.” I said, “Why don’t I use a voice closer to my own?” Then I was presented with the idea of, “Well, wait a minute. If Batman is the brooding, dark soul of the character that comes out of the pain of his childhood, maybe that’s the real voice. Maybe that’s the real character and Bruce Wayne is the performance that he puts on for the world. That would be an interesting way to approach it.” So that when I’m in Batman, which is 90% of the time, that’s the comfort world. That’s his. That’s not the disguise. That’s who he is in his soul. And the disguise is when he has to put on a suit and go to work. So those are the things that actors find to be clues and sort of keys into characters for them. And that was a key into Batman and Bruce Wayne for me.
When asked if he thought the new “older, grittier, and darker Batman” was going to be a good change of pace Conroy simply replied “Yep! You got it.” He was then asked if there was any jealousy about someone getting to do a new take on the Batman.
Well I’ve done that, because I did… remember, in Batman Beyond I did 80 year old Bruce Wayne. So I have done the older, and darker, and grittier Batman. I’ve done that. I did it for a few years. Zack Snyder should go and look at the Batman Beyond shows.
During this interview Kevin Conroy opened up about how being able to poke fun at his tenure as Batman is a must. He also talks a bit about how much he liked being a part of the Arkham game series. To see the full interview between Screenrant and Kevin Conroy click here. There are a lot more fun things that Conroy lets loose so be sure to check it out.