Very few have ever gotten a chance to professionally become Batman. Actor Kevin Conroy is one of those people. Having played Batman in Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, the Batman: Arkham video games, Conroy has become beloved by fans for his work and his lasting imprint on the character. Today, he sat down with some folks at Wizard World Comic Con Cleveland to talk about what that opportunity meant, and continues, to mean to him.
He open with a few introductory thoughts on the character saying,
“In all different cultures, all throughout history, whether it be the Greeks, the Romans, the ancient Americans, the Native Americans, the African tribes, all these different tribes, Asians, all around the world they wrote one story. Of the many stories they wrote, there was one universal story of a hero that is crushed by life, is resurrected like a phoenix, and redeems the world. It was like there was a collective unconscious throughout mankind where there was a need to tell this story of redemption, and Batman is our culture’s version of that same universal story. My background being in the theater and telling the Orestes story, the classic heroic stories helped me approach the character that way. I put myself into a painful place, a dark, broody, painful place, and the sound came out, and they hired me on the spot.”
When Conroy actually got chosen for the role, he had this to say,
“Let me get this straight. He’s the richest guy in Gotham, he’s the most eligible bachelor, everyone knows him, everyone wants him, he puts on a mask and no one knows its him. Seriously? Can we do something with the voice maybe? Maybe we can lighten it a bit, give it more color and irony to cover who he really is in his soul. Bruce [Timm] said, ‘That’s great, I love it’, and that’s where the two voices came from. Over time we toned that down because the show was so dark and my lighter Bruce voices wasn’t fitting. It all came out of my theater background.”
Conroy had a lot more to say about his theater influences, as he continued:
Andrea Romano’s a wonderful director. She directed all the shows and just got a lifetime achievement award. She’s amazing and always insisted on having everyone in the room together, which is unique. Usually, because there are so many different actors with so many different schedules on so many different projects, its just easier to get one person in a room. Its also a lot easier for the post-production technicians to have one take with each actor, and they can edit that much more easily. Andrea had this different feeling. She studied theater as an actress in college, and acting is just as much about reacting as it is acting. She insisted on everyone coming in together, which was really unique! You have these six or eight wonderful actors like Mark Hamill or Ronnie McDowell, some truly amazing actors, and you’re working with them. The more crazy that Mark sends your way, the more you’re going to have to give back! Consequently the way the bookings went out, there were some amazing bookings for this show with Warner Brothers. Everyone wanted to do the show. Andrea would call agents up and they’d say yes before they even knew what the show was. It only takes two hours to record an episode, and everyone wanted to take two hours and play with the sandbox of characters with all of these great actors. It created this kind of momentum around it where the artists were great; Shirley Walker was creating a full symphony score; and the stories were so great, and the fact that it was done as a communal, radio play was phenomenal. Actors are creative artists, and we want to be a part of something more than “the business.” There are a few situations where you do get to be a part of something where you’re a creator and not worrying about the next job, what your agent is saying or what your contract says. You are just in the sandbox with the other actors playing and creating. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen that much. “
Conroy concluded by raving about his costars like Tara Strong and Mark Hamill and saying how excited he was to have been a part of such an amazing opportunity. You can catch Kevin Conroy back again as Batman in Justice League vs. the Fatal Five which arrives on digital on March 30, 2019 and will come to Blu-Ray on April 16th, 2019.