Toonzone Goes to "LEGO Batman: The Movie" Premiere at the Paley Center for Media, NYC
Actor Troy Baker is well-known to video game fans as the assassin Kai Leng in Mass Effect 3, the Scoundrel of Diablo 3, Sgt. Matt Baker in the Brothers in Arms series, Snow Villiers in Final Fantasy XIII, Booker DeWitt in BioShock: Infinite, and Harvey Dent in Batman: Arkham City. He has also appeared in cartoons and anime such as Dragon Ball Z, Fullmetal Alchemist, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Generator Rex, and Ultimate Spider-Man.
Q: So what was your approach to this character?
TROY BAKER: Well, I was a huge Batman fan growing up, and still am, so I think the main thing that we wanted to do was find something that was unique to this. LEGO games and movies are kind of parodies of whatever franchise they’re honoring. The writing is really good (laughs), so all we had to do was do what was on the page and everything just found itself.
Q: Were you just being silly, or are you still being this heroic comic book character?
TROY BAKER: To me, I think it was just “Let’s do Batman.” It wasn’t like, “Let’s make fun of Christian Bale,” or “Let’s make fun of Adam West.” You’ll see there’s nods all the way throughout the movie to every iteration of Batman throughout. It was just fantastic because as a fan, and as a kid, I go, “Haha! They just did that thing!” But to me, it wasn’t be over the top, goofy, silly. Just do what was on the page. There’s an old theater joke: “Don’t ask for the laugh, ask for the cup of tea.” That was our main focus. It was well-written. We really didn’t have to do much to it.
TOONZONE NEWS: When you were auditioning, were you auditioning for the video game, or for the movie, or…
TROY BAKER: We didn’t know at the time. They brought us in and said it was LEGO Batman, so all of us who walked in — we’re all actor schmucks just trying to get the next gig — we all walked in and were like, “I’m gonna take my shoes off, because I don’t know if this is, like, hallowed ground.” Because it’s not only in the Batman Universe, in the LEGO Universe, it’s also the first time they’ve done a voice for these things, too. So we knew there was a lot of pressure and we had to deliver. That they thought I could pull it off is either stupid for them or great for me. I’m not sure which one (laughs). I guess you guys will be the judge.
Q: Did you draw on any earlier version of Batman for yours?
TROY BAKER: You know, I like to say that I did. Kevin Conroy is my Batman, from Batman the Animated Series, so I think you intrinsically do that naturally, but I think more than anything it was all those times when I was watching the show or reading the books, and kind of doing my own internal voice of what Batman sounded like in The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke or whatever. Even if I wanted to impersonate Kevin Conroy, I doubt I could actually do it.
Q: You said that you were a big nerd about Batman before. What was a big scene or moment or piece of dialogue while doing this where you were kind of nerding out about it?
TROY BAKER: I’ll be honest with you. We got to watch an early advanced screening of this and I’m sitting in my living room and listening to the credits come on, and to hear that theme music and know that I’m attached to that, and I’m playing Batman in that, I kind of did one of those involuntary laugh-cries, it was like (Click to Listen – not even going to try to transcribe the sound Troy made here), because that 12-year old in me just leapt out of my skin. That’s probably the coolest moment: knowing that you’re going to be Batman in something like this.
TOONZONE NEWS: For young Troy, who wins in this fight: LEGO or Superhero Comic Books?
TROY BAKER: I don’t know because that’s a real hard battle. They’re two different things, because you’ve got something that you love to play with and something that you love to observe. I think that would almost be a Mexican standoff. I’m not sure you could figure out who would actually win that.