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"Superman/Batman: Apocalypse" Premiere Event at LA Paley Center for Media

Warner Bros. invited the media to an early screening of the new animated movie, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles, and Toonzone News got a chance a chance to speak with the cast and crew members of the new movie before the screening.

RED CARPET CAST AND CREW INTERVIEWS

INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR LAUREN MONTGOMERY
Director and producer Lauren Montgomery started as a storyboard artist on such shows as He-Man And The Masters of The Universe and Justice League. Montgomery would later stand-up in the directing role for such features as Superman/Doomsday, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern: First Flight, and now Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.

TOONZONE NEWS: Of all the animated features you’ve directed before for the DC Animated Universe, where does this one rank for you?

LAUREN MONTGOMERY: This one ranks probably right after Wonder Woman, just because Wonder Woman is always going to be my favorite. I don’t know if anything will ever usurp it. But this one is another female-heavy cast and that makes it immediately a good thing for me.

TZN: This is based on a story that Jeph Loeb and the late artist, Michael Turner, collaborated on. How well did you know Michael Turner and how much did it mean to you to bring his imagery and artistic style to life into a motion picture?

LAUREN MONTGOMERY: I never met the man, but I was familiar with his work. I’d seen it in some of the Tomb Raider comics. I was a big Tomb Raider fan. My little sister had bought me some of the comics, and that’s where I really became familiar with his work. It’s always fun to try out a new style and to try and adapt that style to animation, and we never used his style in any of our animations before. We were able to get Sam Liu, who is one of the directors on a few of our projects and is actually a very accomplished artist. He was the head designer for the characters on this movie. So luckily, his style of drawing is already kind of Turner-esque in that his people are very tall and thin and lanky. He was able to adjust his style and make it work with the Michael Turner thing in mind.

TZN: Were you the solo-director for this project?

LAUREN MONTGOMERY: I solo-directed and Sam focused on just the character design aspect of it.

TZN: Is it harder to be the solo-director of a project like this, or do you feel you have more freedom to make it more of what you want your vision to be?

LAUREN MONTGOMERY: It’s a little bit of a both. I guess when you are making calls, you don’t have to check in with anyone else. If you’re on your own, “I’m this director. This is the decision I make,” and just go with it. If you’re co-directing, you want to check it with your co-director. However, at the same time, having that co-director to help out with the work and also just as a back-up if you’re unsure about a call you’re making and you want that second opinion is always nice to have. I don’t think I would ever turn down the chance to have a co-director or someone to pick up the slack or call me on bad decisions or anything like that.

TZN: What does it mean for you to get to show off strong female characters like Wonder Woman and Supergirl in a motion picture like this? You normally don’t get to see them because it’s more about catering to young boys.

LAUREN MONTGOMERY: Well, yes. It means a great deal to me, because as a young girl I wanted to see female superheroes in shows I watched. Usually if I was watching Thundercats, all I got was Cheetara and that was it, so being able to work with them means a lot to me. I feel like I’m showing or introducing these women to other girls who are looking for someone to kind of live through. It also means a lot to me just because they’re funner for me to actually deal with, because you can do such a wider variety of acting and interpretation with a female character that you can’t with a male character — even down to just drawing the way they stand. A female character can stand in many different ways; she can stand in masculine or feminine ways. But you can’t put Superman in a feminine pose; you can only put him in a masculine pose. You’re much more limited with men, especially in drawings, than with women.

TZN: Are we ever going to see your dream animated project of an Aquaman movie come into fruition?

LAUREN MONTGOMERY: I wish, but I honestly don’t know. I think as long as Aquaman isn’t a big seller we’re not going to see it. But by golly, I wish we could and I will continue to support it.

TZN: Aquaman is the coolest character on Brave and the Bold!

LAUREN MONTGOMERY: He is. Maybe that will help. Maybe the Brave and the Bold has helped rocket him to newer heights of fame and maybe they’ll think about giving him his own thing.

TZN: Now, you are working on the animated Batman: Year One, correct?

LAUREN MONTGOMERY: Uh-huh.

TZN: What’s the scoop?

LAUREN MONTGOMERY: I’m hoping it’s the one everyone wants to see. It’s essentially an interpretation of the comic [by] Frank Miller and Dave Mazzuchelli. We’re trying to stay really true to it because the artwork is so pretty and the story is really good. So we’re really trying to make sure we keep very true to it and it basically looks like the comic come to life on the screen.


INTERVIEW WITH PRODUCER, BRUCE TIMM
Character designer, artist, and producer Bruce Timm has been hard at work with the DC Animated Universe series of movies for quite some time. Timm, along with Paul Dini and many others, helped reinvent the Batman and Superman franchises for the small screen in their work on the animated series for both characters. Timm then later headed up the Justice League animated series on Cartoon Network. Timm serves as producer on Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.

TOONZONE NEWS: How close were you with Michael Turner, and what does it mean for you as an artist getting to make a movie based on a work Turner collaborated on with Jeph Loeb?

BRUCE TIMM: Well, I never met him in person, but I’ve always admired his art and when we were looking at properties to adapt for film, we looked at the comic, and thought it was a really good story and liked the art and thought there was something there. A lot of artists’ styles don’t necessarily [translate] – we look at them and we think, “There’s no way that’s going to translate to animation.” But Michael had a really distinct style, really clearly defined versions of these characters which I thought we could adapt into animation pretty successfully, which I think we have.

TZN: Just to add on to that, this doesn’t look like any other DC animation we’ve ever seen before.

BRUCE TIMM: No.

TZN: Do you like getting to try these new styles for these projects?

BRUCE TIMM: Oh absolutely. It’s fun when we actually adapt a certain style from the comics, like here was Michael Turner. In All-Star Superman, it’s Frank Quitely. It’s a challenge. Sometimes it’s a bigger challenge than we had thought, but bottom line it at least gives us a starting point stylistically to separate it from the stuff that we have done on TV.

TZN: In the comics, this storyline follows the Public Enemies which was also adapted into an animated movie. Do you see this movie as a sequel story or a follow-up to Public Enemies?

BRUCE TIMM: Yeah, I mean technically it is. The giant meteorite of Kryptonite from the first film is actually how Supergirl gets to Earth in this story. So its tied together that way. But thematically, it doesn’t really have anything much to do with the first film, but its kind of a sequel. Its more of a follow-up than a sequel.

[B]TZN: We’ve also been seeing the great animated shorts. We’ve previously seen “The Spectre” and “Jonah Hex.” We’re getting “Green Arrow” packaged with this release. Do you know what plans are next for the animated shorts?

BRUCE TIMM: Well like you said, we’ve got “Green Arrow” this time. And coming soon will be the compilation DVD with Superman and Shazam. So beyond that, we’re kind of waiting to see the sales figure on how the compilation does before we greenlight anymore, but we already have like four scripts in development. Actually, some of them are finished and in the can, ready to go. I’m not allowed to say which characters they are, but they’re other characters.

TZN: What about Aquaman? Lauren Montgomery would really like to do an Aquaman picture, so maybe we could see an Aquaman short?

BRUCE TIMM: Yeah. It’s not up to me, but I’d be more than willing to let Lauren have her way with Aquaman.

TZN: Now who will be playing Batman in Batman: Year One? Or Jim Gordon, because the comic is just as much a Jim Gordon story as it is a Batman one.

BRUCE TIMM: I’m not allowed to talk about that. It’s actually more of a Jim Gordon [story] which is one of the things I love about it.

TZN: And that will be present in the animated movie as well?

BRUCE TIMM: Oh yeah. Batman: Year One is one of the most faithful adaptations that we’ve done. Literally, in terms of being as close to the look, as close to the storytelling, as close to the actual original script as possible to the comic as possible, so straight-up.

TZN: Any headway on the Green Lantern animated series and when we might see it sometime next year maybe?

BRUCE TIMM: Again, not allowed to talk about that yet. It’s not even officially announced yet.


INTERVIEW WITH VOICE OF SUPERMAN, TIM DALY
Tim Daly is an Emmy nominated actor for his role of J.T. Dolan on the hit HBO series, The Sopranos. Currently, Daly portrays Peter Wilder on the hit TV series, Private Practice. For many years Daly also portrayed the character of Joe Hackett in the popular sitcom, Wings, and played the role of Clark Kent/Superman in the 1990’s Superman animated series. Despite not playing the role in the Justice League animated series, Daly returned to the role with the direct-to-DVD animated movie, Superman: Braniac Attacks, and later on with the animated movie Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.

TOONZONE NEWS: Back in the 1990’s, what did it mean for you as an actor to get to play Superman?

TIM DALY: You know, that’s an interesting question because I think when I started this, I didn’t realize how important it was to people. I sort of took it a little bit for granted that it was a cartoon and a few kids would see it. I didn’t realize how many loyal and devoted fans there were of Superman and this particular cartoon series. So I have a much greater appreciation now then when I started. Having left it and feeling sad about it and then now returning to it, I return with a lot more respect. I’m a lot more grateful than I think I was when I started.

TZN: You did not voice Superman in the Justice League animated series which was a continuation of the Superman animated series you worked on. Were you ever disappointed you didn’t get to work on that show?

TIM DALY: I was. I am disappointed that I didn’t get to do that, and I take full responsibility for that. I moved to the East Coast, and it just became sort of a logistical problem. I think Andrea became sort of sick of trying to hunt me down and so they moved on. But in my own mind, I will always be the voice of Superman, even though for a while I wasn’t.

TZN: Does getting to play Superman ever give you any cred with your kids or any of your relatives?

TIM DALY: No, not a single bit. And I don’t know why, and that’s their shame. I mean I should be getting a lot of credit . . . My kids are grown up so it’s a little bit hard for them to like brag to their friends about it now. But yeah I don’t know, I should talk to them about it. Demand a little more a respect.

TZN: What do you think of the Batman and Superman relationship and getting to go back there and play with that relationship in this movie?

TIM DALY: Well, I really like the way that it’s evolved, because Superman— especially in this movie—is starting to accept Batman for the dark, cynical person that he is and take everything with sort of a grain of salt. He’s almost amused by Batman’s cynicism. So I think that there is a comedic element to their relationship that I find really fun.

[B]TZN: What is the major arc for Superman in this movie?

TIM DALY: The big thing in this movie is the introduction of Supergirl, who is family, which is sort of a different idea. Batman and Superman do have sort of an odd friendship and a very strong bond, but Supergirl is [Superman’s blood] – his cousin. That’s kind of a different area that is being explored.

TZN: With all the great characters you’ve gotten to play over the years, as an actor do you have a character that’s closest to you in your heart such as Superman or Joe Hackett or Pete Wilder?

TIM DALY: You know, I can’t really say that there is “a character” that is closest to my heart because I didn’t get into this to really be known for one thing, I’d rather be known for a lot of things. It amuses me that people who now know me from Private Practice say, “You should do comedy some time,” not remembering that I did a comedy for 8 years. Or, “You should do something more heroic,” not remembering that I did Superman. And people way back when said, “Have you ever tried drama? I think you’d be good as a dramatic actor.” So I like it the way it is. I do theatre. I do movies. I do television. I do animation. I like not being pegged as one specific thing.

TZN: Do you like to get any Superman merchandise, having played the character?

TIM DALY: I don’t get a lot of it. My favorite things are the gold “S” pin Superman emblem, and the little statue I have of Superman. The last iteration, I don’t know if they’ll make a new one, but I like the sort of wooden statue of Superman with a removable cape. That’s pretty great.


INTERVIEW WITH CASTING/VOICE OVER DIRECTOR, ANDREA ROMANO
Andrea Romano has cast and directed some of our favorite cartoons of the last twenty years. For Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, Romano reunites the acting duo of Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy as Superman and Batman, respectively, that Romano first brought together for the Superman/Batman: World’s Finest animated miniseries. Besides other DC animation projects, Andrea Romano also works on SpongeBob SquarePants and is currently working on the new Avatar animated series, The Legend of Korra.

TOONZONE NEWS: So how much fun did you have working with this cast and the dream team of Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy back together again?

ANDREA ROMANO: It’s always a joy to get them together. It’s like going home to a family that you love and really get along with. Everything about the recording sessions for me is dessert. It really is, because the minutiae and the incredible amount of things that go into getting these lined up, set up, deals made, in a recording studio . . . all that minutiae is very time-consuming and difficult.

TZN: A lot of these actors also work on TV and film.

ANDREA ROMANO: Absolutely. I not only want to get them in the recording studio within the production period, but preferably together. So whenever I can, that’s great. So I love recording sessions. They’re fun. I try to keep them light. I try to keep them fun going through so that the energy keeps going. I love working with Bruce Timm. I love Lauren [Montgomery]. She’s just a terrific director and now producer. We have now such a shorthand of information and language that we can just get the stuff done quickly and happily.

TZN: This is normally a boy’s world, but being a lady, what is it like getting to work with actors playing strong female characters and heroes?

ANDREA ROMANO: For me it’s very important that I make it accessible to a female audience. And so when I get to have these characters like Supergirl, who has a wonderful arc that goes from a foreigner from another planet that doesn’t speak the language to being kidnapped by Darkseid and being brainwashed to be so tough, its great to watch an actress play that beautiful arc. You’ve got the Amazons. You’ve got Lyla, you’ve got Wonder Woman . . . so you’ve got all these different characters in there. I always to make sure that even when it’s a male scene — meaning that all the characters in it are men — that I want it to appeal to a female audience. That’s a big part of my job. I want to be entertained as a woman, and I want my female audience to have something they can respond to.

TZN: What did Andre Braugher bring to the table as Darkseid?

ANDREA ROMANO: What’s so great about Andre is that he’s just a brilliant actor period. Voiceover wise, I don’t know that he’s had that much experience doing it. He has different ideas. He didn’t just come in and barrel through Darkseid because he’s this big, stony guy! He gave him nuances. Even with villains, you have to have some sympathy for the villain. You have to have something that actually appeals to you. I think that’s true with the Joker. I think that’s true with Lex Luthor. I think it’s true with Darkseid. You have to have something that makes you care about that bad guy to and why you want him to fail.

TZN: I want Darkseid to win, honestly.

ANDREA ROMANO: Do you?

TZN: I like Darkseid that much.

ANDREA ROMANO: Is he one of your favorite villains?

TZN: He is because in the Superman animated series two-part finale, Superman beats and deposes Darkseid and throws him to the enslaved people of Apokolips. And the enslaved people prop him back up and dust him off. And you get it. Darkseid is their king. The people of Apokolips worship Darkseid. Even though Superman beat Darkseid it was a bittersweet moment, because even though Darkseid brainwashed Superman and took everything from Superman, and Superman was victorious . . . Superman didn’t really win.

ANDREA ROMANO: Yeah. I love that you caught that.

TZN: And then Darkseid said to Superman, “I am many things Kal-El. But to them, I am God.”

ANDREA ROMANO: Isn’t that great? That’s a lovely line, you’re right. That’s a really nice ending to that; you’re absolutely right where he’s defeated, but not really. Not really. Down, but not out.

TZN: Did you work on All-Star Superman?

ANDREA ROMANO: All-Star Superman is done. It’s in the can.

TZN: So Jamie Denton as Superman?

ANDREA ROMANO: A lovely, lovely man and a lovely actor. Also not very experienced in this animation world. I have a reputation because I’ve been doing this for so long that I’m not going to beat up an actor unnecessarily. If the actors trust me, then they become kind of putty in my hands that they can trust that I’m going to take them and I’m not going to let them go out there and let their voice sound foolish. I’m not going to let them sound bad. And then I get the performances that I need.


INTERVIEW WITH VOICE OF WONDER WOMAN, SUSAN EISENBERG
Susan Eisenberg is most known to fans as the voice for Wonder Woman in the popular Justice League animated series that ran from 2001 to 2005. Eisenberg also voices Shaak Ti in the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed videogame.

TOONZONE NEWS: How psyched were you to come back for Wonder Woman? What was that process like?

SUSAN EISENBERG: I was extremely psyched. I was stoked. I was extremely thrilled. The process was, I got a call from my agent, “Would I come back?” It was thrilling. Thrilling. Because I didn’t anticipate it.

TZN: Do you get to break any new ground with Wonder Woman here, because in this story she gets to mentor a young Supergirl?

SUSAN EISENBERG: I’ve said in earlier interviews, she’s very grown-up in this movie. She is the mentor in this film. She’s not the vulnerable young girl that we saw in Themyscira back in Justice League’s early days. She’s not that. But it’s not breaking new ground because in “Maid of Honor” in Justice League, I was also kind of a mentor. So I don’t know, it’s not totally new; it’s not breaking new ground completely. But it’s a very adult, together Wonder Woman.

TZN: Being a woman what does it mean to get to play the iconic, original comic book super female heroine like Wonder Woman?

SUSAN EISENBERG: You’re filled with pride. Not just as a woman. You love that there’s this character that children look up to. Boys. Girls. They just go crazy for her. And she’s good. That’s what is so great about the comic book world, because there is good and bad. And good does win out. How great is that? That you get to be a part of that in any small way.

TZN: In the Justice League series there was some romantic tension with Batman and Wonder Woman.

SUSAN EISENBERG: Yes there was.

TZN: Is there any of that in this movie at all?

SUSAN EISENBERG: Have you seen the film?

TZN: I have not.

SUSAN EISENBERG: Then I’m not going to tell you.

TZN: Do you think Wonder Woman had it bad for Batman?

SUSAN EISENBERG: Oh yes.

TZN: And do you?

SUSAN EISENBERG: Oh I adore Kevin [Conroy]. I adore him always. Just adore him always.

TZN: But what about you? Who do you find more attractive, Batman or Superman?

SUSAN EISENBERG: Oh that’s so hard. Batman or Superman . . . I’d have to go with Batman. I really would have to if I’m honest.

TZN: Do you have a favorite line as Wonder Woman in this story in this movie?

SUSAN EISENBERG: In this movie? You know, don’t ask me to quote the lines because it’s been a while since I’ve seen the film.

TZN: Do you have a favorite line at all like “Hera, give me strength”?

SUSAN EISENBERG: That was the line I auditioned with originally in 2000 that line. And I’ll always remember it because I was saying “strengths,” and Andrea was like, “There’s a G in there so make sure you pronounce it.” And to this day, that word, “strength” I give it the G, always. But they would always tease me in the booth about it because I had to say it all the time. I was always calling on Hera, but there is no Hera in this film.



INTERVIEW WITH SCREENWRITER, TAB MURPHY
Writer Tab Murphy was previously nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay of the movie Gorillas In The Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey. Murphy then went on to write a string of Disney animated features, including: Tarzan, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and Brother Bear. Superman/Batman: Apocalypse marks Murphy’s first produced screenplay in the comic book superhero realm. Murphy is also the writer of the upcoming animated Batman: Year One movie due out next year.

TOONZONE NEWS: I know you’ve worked on Disney animation before. Is this the first animated movie you’ve worked on based on superhero comics?

TAB MURPHY: Well, I did a draft of Green Arrow a couple years ago that remains un-produced. That was my first experience in the writing and producing world as it were. Yeah, that was great too. It was a lot of fun.

TZN: Was this an animated version?

TAB MURPHY: It was meant to be animated. It was not meant to be confused with the David Goyer live-action version. But I still think it is a viable project. They may or may not make it.

TZN: [Superman/Batman: Apocalypse] is packaged with a Green Arrow animated short.

TAB MURPHY: I think they are testing that character to see if the popularity is out there to make an animated movie, which I hope they do because it was a great script. It was a great project. It was a fun script to write. You know Green Arrow’s a badass, and I’m a bow hunter so I had a direct connection to the man with the bow.

TZN: These movies are a little darker and edgier than something like Brother Bear. Does it give you more creative freedom as a writer to write how you want to write?

TAB MURPHY: Well, I’ll tell you what it gives me. It gives me a little more freedom to explore the darker aspects of my personality and I joke with people. I went on a streak at Disney. I got to the point where I just said, I had written so much dialogue for cute, talking animals that I was about ready to vomit. I mean that in the nicest way, but there are different aspects of all our personalities, right? So this one, but especially Batman: Year One was a great opportunity to explore. To get down and dirty and explore more of those adult themes that I didn’t get to explore writing for Disney. So yeah, absolutely.

TZN: So are we going to see Darkseid bust up like some alien talking critter like G’Nort or Ch’p as something to symbolize that?

TAB MURPHY: Well . . . maybe subconsciously. I don’t know, but I don’t go into the page in footnotes “Here’s where I’m getting back at . . .” No, no, not at all. I mean, we always put a piece of ourselves into anything we write. And my job on this was to try and not put too much of myself because frankly, the story was already great. Jeph [Loeb] did a great job. And the artwork by Michael Turner was inspiring. I was just honored to be able to participate in the process really.

TZN: Did you ever speak or talk with Jeph Loeb about adapting the story as a movie?

TAB MURPHY: I never hooked up with Jeph, but from page 1 I just tried to be extremely respectful of his work and the story. And I really tried to adapt his work. And so I think it was successful. I brought 10 or maybe 15% of new material to the story. Everything else is Jeph and his story and his dialogue. I was really just trying to be invisible in this process.

TZN: So was writing this movie like a dream come true for you at all?

TAB MURPHY: It was. I mean it’s as close as I’ll ever get to write a Superman and Batman film. Chris Nolan has got the live action world in a vice-grip in terms of Batman and Superman. So this was probably my only opportunity to write these characters. So, absolutely.

TZN: Who do you prefer? Batman or Superman?

TAB MURPHY: You know, it’s funny because they are the yin and the yang. We have a little bit of both of them each in ourselves. I think that’s why we love those characters so much. They represent our dark side. They represent our light side and our good side. So I dig them both.

TZN: But like when you are sitting down writing and you are thinking, “Man this is so cool I really like writing this guy” . . . it’s Batman, right?

TAB MURPHY: Batman, yeah. I mean there are a couple of moments where I brought a little bit of humor in Batman’s repartee. So those are the moments that I will hopefully watch tonight and go, “Ok there’s my moment.” There’s something I actually contributed to the story. So that’s it. That’s the fun of it.


SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE SCREENING

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is a new animated movie based on a graphic novel by writer Jeph Loeb and the late, great artist Michael Turner. The animated movie is based on a story arc from the pages of the monthly Superman/Batman comic book entitled “Supergirl,” which reintroduced the Supergirl character to the DC comics mythos. The story was notable, as Turner did the interior artwork for all six issues of the story. Turner was a very hot, in-demand artist who had also founded the comics imprint, Aspen Comics. In addition, Turner suffered from a long battle with bone cancer, to which he unfortunately succumbed later in 2008. At the time the story was published, it was especially impressive for Turner to be doing the interior art of a monthly comic. Turner is well known for his designs, which are very hyper-stylized and detailed. Turner co-created Witchblade with Marc Silvestri, and also created the comic Fathom.

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse does an amazing job of bringing Turner’s visionary artwork and style to life as a motion picture. As an animated movie, the design is somewhat simplified and a little cleaner. However, the designers succeeded tremendously in incorporating Turner’s unique style, touches, and personal tics to the movie. It was an amazing experience to see Turner’s unique design for Batman onscreen. Of the new DC Animated Universe projects that began in 2007 with Superman/Doomsday, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is the first animated feature that is in fact a sequel to a previous movie, 2009’s Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. Apocalypse acknowledges the former film, referencing Lex Luthor’s impeachment as President, as well as the Kryptonite meteor that nearly collided with the Earth. Meteorite fragments bring along a new presence in the form of a young Kryptonian female, Kara Zor-El (Summer Glau). Afraid and unable to control her new powers and abilities, the frightened Kara goes on an inadvertent rampage after crash landing in Gotham City before being found by the dynamic duo of Batman (Kevin Conroy) and Superman (Tim Daly). Superman speaks with Kara in their Kryptonian language and learns that Kara is in fact his [Superman’s] blood related cousin. Superman, for years thought to be the last of his kind, has now in fact finally found a living blood Kryptonian relative. Batman, of course, is not ready to believe things are as good as they seem and is unable to trust Kara. However, there are other ominous forces that are aware of Kara’s presence on Earth: that of Darkseid (Andre Braugher) and his minions on the planet of Apokolips.

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is a much superior and enjoyable follow-up to Public Enemies. The story is a bit simpler and more compelling. The production team did a good job of making some alterations to the story in order to make it more feasible as a movie. However, there are a couple of noticeable subtractions from the original story that should have remained. The action scenes are incredible and look well done as always. In watching this movie you can get a sense of how far DC animation has come from the days of the revolutionary Batman series from the early 1990’s. The story does well in highlighting strong female characters who are littered throughout the story — especially that of Big Barda (Julianne Grossman) and Wonder Woman (Susan Eisenberg). It’s a refreshing change to seeing Superman rescue the oft-times helpless Lois Lane. The major arc in the story is between Superman and Kara/Supergirl, but Batman gets to play and have a little bit more fun in his own way. Andre Braugher is quite different as Darkseid and not as good as Michael Ironside who voiced the character in Superman and Justice League. Braugher sounds a little flabby at first, but as the movie continues Braugher does seem to grow more into the character. Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is due out on DVD and Blu-ray on September 28, 2010.

Following the movie was a panel consisting of director/producer Lauren Montgomery, executive producer Bruce Timm, voice director Andrea Romano, screenwriter Tab Murphy, and actors Tim Daly, Susan Eisenberg, and Rachel Quaintance (Lyla/Artemis) to discuss the movie and also to answer questions from fans in attendance. Here are the highlights:

  • Timm went over the next three upcoming DC animated movie projects: All-Star Superman; Green Lantern: Emerald Knights; and Batman: Year One. Timm said that Batman: Year One will be the most directly faithful comic adaptation to movie they’ve ever produced — so much so that the movie came up short, even putting everything in from the comics. Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, whose release will coincide with the live action Green Lantern, will be an animated anthology style movie featuring five different Green Lanterns including Abin Sur, Sinestro, and Kilowag.
  • Timm and Montgomery talked about the challenges of doing a Supergirl story as a movie and how it’s hard to do a movie centered on female characters due to how executives think certain things will sell. The comic story was subtitled “Supergirl,” but this movie could not have that subtitle. Also, Supergirl could not even be pictured on the cover. In the end, Supergirl did make the cover but only in the image of her “skanky” (as Montgomery put it) outfit she wears while being brainwashed by Darkseid.
  • Susan Eisenberg asked Timm about doing an animated Batman and Wonder Woman love story. Timm figured if they could call it, Batman Kicks Ass, they could probably make it work.
  • Timm good-naturedly threw Jeph Loeb under the bus twice talking about the adaptation in the story. Timm referenced how Loeb as a writer will do some big and crazy things that are absolutely illogical and make no sense, which is fine when you can get away with it in a comic but not in an animated movie on one sit-through. So certain things had to change in terms of story and the third act climax.
  • Tab Murphy also talked about some of the adaptation changes and needing to make certain elements less “anti-climactic” in comparison to the graphic novel. Timm also asked Tab to let us know the name of Tab’s daughter which is appropriately, Kara.
  • Tim Daly provided an anecdote about how he found out how much Superman can mean to some people. Tim was working with a younger actor on Private Practice who went on and on for 15 minutes with Daly about how Daly played Superman. Daly mentioned that he has a greater appreciation for playing the character than he did in the past. Daly also noted how Superman’s design in the movie had double curls on his hairline instead of the classic single hair curl for Superman.
  • Montgomery joked about the pressure of working on the movie and the stress of “it better be good so don’t mess up.”
  • A fan asked Bruce Timm if some of the Warner Bros. executives would ever pick his brain on how to make a live action DC comic movie due to all of Timm’s knowledge and experience about the characters. Timm responded, “No.”

Toonzone News would like to thank Warner Bros. and Paley Center for Media for inviting us to the premiere event, as well as all the cast and crew members for being so gracious and answering all our questions. Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is due out on DVD and Blu-ray on September 28, 2010.

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