There have been many Batmen over the 75-plus years he’s existed, but the one universally beloved Dark Knight is Kevin Conroy. Conroy has now gotten to play Batman for far longer than any other actor, and in more roles than anyone else by far. What’s his secret, anyway? This is the advice he told IGN today….
“Well, the key to playing Batman for me has been the fact the persona of the Bat – the character of the Bat, the putting on of the mask – is not the performance.
The performance is Bruce Wayne. The real essence of the man is Batman. That’s when he’s his most comfortable; he’s at his most naked, most emotionally raw when he’s in the bat cave alone. When he goes out to Wayne Technologies. faces the world and puts on a suit – that’s the performance.
“Bruce Wayne is the performance element. That’s always been my key to the character, and I think when you play it that way it makes the Batman so authentic. It makes it less of an artifice. It just makes it ring true. So that it’s not just putting on this odd costume and pretending you’re someone you’re not.
“The character of the Bat evolves out of the loss of his parents as a child and the trauma that induced. He’s never resolved that pain in his life, and he spends his life avenging their deaths. The Bat is the persona he has gone into to accomplish that.”
Conroy also says he has to approach Batman differently when he’s alone and when he’s with a group (like the Justice League). In a group setting Batman gets few lines, and fewer ones than everybody else since he’s the silent brooding type. Kevin discusses how he makes that count.
“The temptation is to over-act because you feel such an obligation to completely flesh-out the character in just the two or three lines you have, and you have to resist that temptation and trust the fact that you know the character so well. That if you just inhabit him, and speak truthfully, it will resonate with the audience. But it is harder to do because the temptation is push it when you’re sharing the stage with lots of other actors.”
Conroy also comments on the other actors that have played Batman, his admiration for Wayne’s no-kill policy, and more. Read the full interview at IGN.