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NYCC 2015: “Batman: Bad Blood” Roundtable with Phil Bourassa, Jay Oliva, James Tucker, and Jason O’Mara

by on October 22, 2015
 

At New York Comic Con 2015, Toonzone News was able to participate in press roundtable interviews with cast and crew members for Batman: Bad Blood, the upcoming animated feature from DC Animation. Unfortunately, we had to duck out before we could chat with Gaius Charles, voice actor for Luke Fox/Batwing. Let’s hope he can come back out for the NY premiere.

Questions we asked are marked.


PHIL BOURASSA, CHARACTER DESIGNER

Phil Bourassa Batman Bad Blood NYCC 2015

Phil Bourassa

Q: Did you still have some guidelines on which characters you could play with?

PHIL BOURASSA: Yeah, we’re loosely basing it on several arcs from the comics, so if what’s in the books works well with the continuity that we’ve established, then I’ll use elements of that arc. Because we’re doing a series of films, we’ve established the look of a lot of the characters at this point, so it’s really about figuring out if we’re introducing new characters, how to take inspiration from the comics, and fitting into the world of ours.

Q: Which character was most tedious to design?

PHIL BOURASSA: This time, it was Heretic. Usually, when you’re looking at the source material, you consider the looks that the character has had in the past, you consider their power set, you consider the context of the story, and their name a lot of times. “Black Manta” — you already get an image. But with “Heretic,” that name conjures up certain kinds of imagery, but the look in the comics didn’t feel like it fit in the story we were trying to tell, and it didn’t feel like a really striking visual that really made sense. Like, “Oh, I see why they call him Heretic.” So I wasn’t really feeling that look, and I know James wasn’t feeling it either. There was a lot of back-and-forth figuring out what he should look like in our film. Sometimes it’s not obvious from the outset, like obviously Batwoman. The way we drew her, we add our little flourishes that are contextual or stylistic. But characters like that are straightforward. Others aren’t.

Q: Does making an original story let you bring in original characters that you haven’t had a chance to bring in yet?

PHIL BOURASSA: It varies. With this one, it feels like it’s equal parts adapting arcs from the comics and adding our own flavor, but we’re still sticking to stories that are arcs that have been introduced to some degree. But we have enough latitude with what we’re doing that we can bring in characters that might not have been in a specific arc. Stuff like that. In theory, we will be able to just play with most of the DCU if its contextually appropriate to what we’re doing.

Q: With this project, you’re finally introducing Batwoman to this animated universe. Were there any particular edicts handed down on LGBT status and how Batwoman should be portrayed?

PHIL BOURASSA: I don’t think we were given anything specific about that. It’s a part of her character, but it wasn’t something like, “Here are the rules. Here are the dos and don’ts.” I feel like we had a lot of latitude to just tell the story that we wanted to tell. Of course if you’re getting that intimate with a character, their personal history and personal background is going to affect the way you depict them or portray them, but there was nothing we were consciously told to avoid. At least as far as I know. Jay might have gotten some different direction. But I feel like it’s all about the story, so as long as you’re working in context
its OK.

Q: Did you have to research anything else in the designs, like carbon fibers and things like that?

PHIL BOURASSA: Oh, man, yeah, you know, I wish I was that thorough (laughter). I mean, I try to think of things that make some practical sense. There are guys way better than me about that.

Q: “Don’t tell my boss” (laughter).

PHIL BOURASSA: They know. I’m not fooling anybody. But that stuff said, we’re working in a very fantastical universe, you know what I mean? There’s a lot of fantasy elements. You’ve got to make Batwing’s suit look high-tech military something, you know? Futuristic stuff. You’re allowed to have fun with it, but I don’t know how his rocket boots work (laughs). You come up with something that looks like it kind of makes sense, and we don’t labor over that too much. We just want it to feel right. And as a designer, I have a limited toolset that I can work with anyway. Because it’s hand-drawn animation, there’s only so much you can get in there. To create a look or to create textures, you don’t have that many things to play with. You’ve got line, you’ve got color, you’ve got shadows, and you’ve got highlights. The intensity of the highlights can describe the texture of the material, like a really intense highlight will describe metal and a really subdued one might describe leather. I’d love to get a honeycomb pattern on the neoprene underneath the armor, but nobody can draw that.

Justice League War JLWar Wonder WomanQ: What was your favorite design on this project, and overall?

PHIL BOURASSA: On this one…oooh, that’s a spoiler. I don’t know if I can say it. The Rogues Gallery in this one is off the hook. We get to introduce characters that I haven’t drawn before, which is getting harder and harder, and it was a lot of fun. The first draft of the script didn’t have these characters in it, so it’s a special treat. We felt like we needed to add a lot of really fun villains to go with the whole thing. It’s a great Batman tradition. I had a lot of fun doing Firefly and Killer Moth and Onyx, whois not a very well-known character but was actually co-created by a good buddy of mine. Jerome Moore, when he was a young comic book creator, he was co-creator of Onyx [with Joey Cavalieri — ed]. They made her a villain at some point. She’s a stealthy assassin. We had a lot of fun doing that.

Overall, it’s really hard to pick. Maybe Wonder Woman.

Q: Is there a small group of really obscure characters you’d love to get into one of the animated movies?

PHIL BOURASSA: I always say that I got an idea for the Fourth World characters. The New Gods, basically Jack Kirby’s DC space odyssey. There are so many places to go with that. I designed them once for Young Justice and I feel like there’s so much to explore there. They would be the best. I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to, though.


JAY OLIVA, DIRECTOR

Jay Oliva

Jay Oliva

TOONZONE NEWS: Batman Game of Death yet?

JAY OLIVA: Not yet. I keep pushing it but they never give it to me. Someday, it’s going to be Batman Game of Death, and I’ll adapt Arkham Asylum: A Serious Place on Serious Earth. But Game of Death. Some day. I don’t really know what I’m going to be doing until they assign it to me.

TOONZONE NEWS: I know you’ve said in the past you’ve said there are movies that inspire you or that describe what you’re going for. What’s your inspiration for this one?

JAY OLIVA: Oh jeez…for this one… You got to remember, a year has passed already since I did this film. I’m already on the next two films. This one was more along the lines of The Raid. So for the action on this, I really wanted to top of what I love from those films. There’s also a sequence with Nightwing and Damian action sequence that’s also my little love letter to 80’s action flicks, where I tried to make it feel like an 80’s film. There’s lots of different things in this one. This one is kind of unique in that there’s a lot of things going on because you have the Bat-Family. You have this mystery of what happened to Batman, and all the plot threads competing with each other, and then having the action bridge all the informational parts of the film. So it’s fun. I think this is probably my most complicated action choreography I’ve ever done, probably the most action I’ve ever done. It’s some fun stuff.

Q: With the fight choreography, talk a little bit about what you guys do to ensure that all the different Bat characters fight a little bit differently.

JAY OLIVA: Oh yeah. I mean I learned this trick when I was doing He-Man and the Masters of the Universe back in 2002. I had to build out like a spreadsheet of everybody’s powers. Who’s powerful than who, who can trump that other person. Kind of like Street Fighter the video game. If I’m Ryu and I’m fighting against Ken, even though they have the same powers, how do I fight one against the other? It’s the same thing with this. I try to figure out, “If Damian and Nightwing have both been trained by Bruce Wayne, how do they fight differently?” How does Nightwing fight differently from Batman and how does Batwing fit into that.

Batwoman has a more military background, so a lot of her fighting techniques are Krav Maga, the Marine martial arts, a lot of things that are more militaristic. Whereas, Batman has learned everything so I can throw in jujitsu and tae kwon do, Thai kickboxing, whatever. Nightwing can do Kali Escrima, Filipino martial arts, because I’m Filipino and I try to put that into everything I do. So I try to do that with everything, and I like it because for the fans who know about martial arts and know about that stuff appreciate the authenticity. Some directors are like, “a punch is a punch.” No no no, there’s a different intention to it. Same thing with weapons. If you notice, I made sure that Thomas Wayne in The Flashpoint Paradox is using an M1911, because that’s the gun that murdered his wife and his son. I think this one, Batwoman has a military M-9 Beretta, so I try to fit it to the characters’ personalities. You might not get it, but for myself, I like that kind of authenticity in my characters.

Q: How much of a role does Lucius Fox play?

JAY OLIVA: Lucius is great, because this is the first time we’re introducing him in this universe. He’s played by Ernie Hudson, who I love. He’s great, and he plays a pretty good role. We kind of hint at that he’s been around this whole time, but we’ve just never really seen him. His son Luke comes back from Afghanistan, and he has suspicions that Lucius has been working with Batman, but he doesn’t know it. He’s asking his dad, “Come on, let me in on the secret,” and Lucius is like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” It leads to his involvement into the story because once Batman disappears, he gets pulled into it overall. It’s fun. It’s great…Lucius and also Batwoman, Yvonne Strahovski, is also in this, and it’s great these new characters that we haven’t seen before in the animated universe.

Batman vs. RobinQ: Where does this fall into the continuity of the Batman and Robin stories? Because at the end of Batman vs. Robin, Robin leaves.

JAY OLIVA: This takes place right after that. I think it’s maybe 3 to 6 months later, because when news gets out that Batman’s missing, Damian hears about it in the monastery and that’s what prompts him to come back to Gotham. He’s there trying to learn to be a better person, and he sees an article about “Where’s Batman?” You’ll see. It all fits in.

Q: How have the characters evolved since the first movie?

JAY OLIVA: The nice thing about us doing these films, which I think the public are by and large finally getting, is that we’re doing serialized movies just like Marvel’s been doing with live-action, and we’re getting them out pretty quick. We started with Justice League: War, and then Son of Batman was the first Batman story of this. Then from Batman vs. Robin it goes here, and then we have continuing stories that go on. So all of the ones from War forward are pretty much in the same continuity other than the one-offs, like Gods and Monsters, The Killing Joke…those are all one-offs. Those are not in our universe at all.

Q: You mentioned earlier that there were two projects that you’ve done since, what are they?

JAY OLIVA: Oh. I can’t say (laughs). You’ll have to come to Comic Con because then we’ll announce our next projects. We’ve announced Justice League vs. Teen Titans, so that’s the next one after this one. Then the next one is The Killing Joke, which I think we’re premiering at Comic Con, and then at Comic Con we’ll announce our next slate. So I’m already two films beyond this one. I did this one last year.

Q: Can you talk about the violence and the brutality in these movies?

JAY OLIVA: Everyone’s asked about the amount of violence in them, but see the thing is this: if you want the lighter stuff, we’ve got that. We’ve got the new DC Girls projects, we’ve got Young Justice, we’ve got things that fit the palate of a broader audience. I’ve been working on TV for 20 years, now, and I’ve had to deal with broadcast standards & practices. I couldn’t do punches to the face, I couldn’t do a lot of things. But now that I’m doing these films, I can do films that I want to see. When I was a kid, I wanted to see Batman do kung-fu and all this kind of stuff, and now that I’m a director, I’m going to have as much fun as I can. Because you want to see that.

If these movies sell well, that will motivate them to greenlight all different kinds of films. For example we’ve got Batman LEGO, we’ve got all something like Justice League: Gods and Monsters. It wasn’t as PG-13 as the films that I usually do, and it’s great. Even the live-action films, like Zack’s movies, those are meant for the 35- to 39-year old me, they’re not meant for me when I was watching Superfriends. And I like that. If I want to see Superfriends, I can watch Superfriends, but I want to see Dark Knight Returns, Batman vs. Superman, I want to see that. I want to see things that I haven’t seen before. And that’s what I think…we live in a good time. We’ve got Suicide Squad coming out! How exciting is that! I would have never thought I would have seen a Suicide Squad movie, with a great cast and with the kind of sensitivity and budget that a movie like that deserves.

Batman Bad BloodQ: What can you say about Batman through his family that you can’t say directly?

JAY OLIVA: It’s a very dysfunctional family (laughs). What James will say is that by doing a Bat-Family film, we kind of show how this one man has influenced all these people’s lives, and even the city and the universe. Taking him out of the equation leaves this vacuum, and then trying to answer the question of who would fill in the shoes of Batman if Batman wasn’t there. Is Dick ready? Is Damian ready? Any of these other characters, would they come up and fill his shoes? And of course the answer is no. They all need Batman. All our films try to do something different. In Batman vs. Robin, for example, we looked at Batman as a father which we haven’t really seen before. In this movie, we shoot it from Dick’s point of view and from Damian’s point of view. When your father is gone, are you ready to take on the mantle? Can you continue on what he started in his legacy? That’s what this film kind of answers.

Q: We’re talking about Dick and Damian being without Bruce. I know Tim Drake had a hard time with that, so are we going to see some of that in the movie? Because I notice he’s not on the banner at all.

JAY OLIVA: Tim Drake hasn’t been introduced in this universe. In this universe, forget about everything you’ve seen before. There is no Tim Drake yet. Right now, it’s just been Dick Grayson and Damian. So Damian has been the second Robin. Eventually, we’d love to introduce Tim into the equation, and Jason Todd, but you have to remember that we’re starting from ground zero and moving on our course, which leaves it open. We can re-introduce Tim in a new, interesting way that’s different from the comics. But we’ll stay true to it, stick to the way he was in the comics. His first introduction, but in this universe.

Q: Under the Red Hood was before this?

JAY OLIVA: Under the Red Hood was its own continuity. All of the films prior to Justice League: War were a total new continuity. Flashpoint was the one that kind of bridged it. It kind of is in our continuity.

Q: Just like they did in the comics.

JAY OLIVA: But the nice thing though, is that even though this is New 52, we don’t follow the New 52. It’s just our way of kind of reviving the DCU and looking at it from a different point of view.


JAMES TUCKER, PRODUCER

James Tucker Batman Bad Blood NYCC 2015

James Tucker

Q: I asked Jay Oliva this and I’ll ask you as well: what can you say about Batman by looking through the Bat-Family lenses that you can’t say by looking at him directly?

JAMES TUCKER: Like most friendships, you have a group of friends and there’s a central person. All the friends see that person differently. They see different aspects, and they’re friends with that person for different reasons. They’re not all friends with him for the same reason. So in this movie, when Batman disappears, who’s the central spoke in the wheel, all these people have to deal with each other without him as the filter. They all have different relationships to him. Nightwing’s relationship with Batman is a lot more complicated than Damian’s relationship with Batman. Damian just sees him as a dad and as someone who he hopefully takes over from, where Nightwing doesn’t want anything to do with taking over as Batman. Batwoman just wants to be her own person, but he’s tied to her origin. He saved her life. So she feels in a way that she owes him, but she’s pissed off at him. So they all have different relationships with him, but they don’t normally cross paths with each other except when he’s there. This movie is about what happens when that guy is gone and you have to deal with each other.

Q: With Bruce gone, does it also change the dynamic with Alfred and dealing with his wards?

JAMES TUCKER: Yeah, I mean, Alfred’s like the dad, or more like the wise uncle, I guess.

Q: I think that sometimes he gets overlooked or passed over, and his role is minimized when he should have a very very strong, important role.

JAMES TUCKER: Well, he’s definitely holding it together in this story. He has a lot to add to this story. He’s the voice of reason, and he’s also the slap upside the head when people are losing focus. He definitely fits in when the concept or the idea of the movie is the Batman Family. That was actually the original title, but we didn’t think that soccer moms would buy that, or that sons of soccer moms wouldn’t want Batman Family But he’s there trying to hold it down, and keep it all together like he always does. The movie itself really is about family. It’s about different ways there can be family when there even is no blood relation. I think of the Batman movies we’ve done, this probably has got the most heart, for lack of a better word.

Q: In building this cohesive universe for the animated movies, obviously, Batman’s gotten a big focus. What is it about him that you feel like you can build a universe on?

JAMES TUCKER: Well, Batman is the guy who everyone knows. He’s kind of like what Spider-Man is to Marvel. Everyone knows Spider-Man. Everyone thinks they know Spider-Man, and it’s the same thing with Batman. He’s the gateway figure that all these other characters can be introduced through. It’s like if you know this guy and he’s really popular, and he knows everyone in the room but you don’t know anyone in the room. You’re going to go with that guy and have him introduce you to everyone. That’s Batman. That’s the guy at the party who knows everybody. For good or ill, Superman is not that guy. Superman is the guy who stands in the corner and everyone’s lining up to meet him, but Batman is the guy that knows everyone. At least that’s our take on it. You kind of need someone like Batman, because he’s a touchstone. He’s human. He’s like Spider-Man in a way because Spider-Man is a touchstone. He’s a regular guy. He’s still kind of human.

Q: That is the oddest take on it I think I’ve ever heard. (laughter)

JAMES TUCKER: I just made it up (laughs).

Batman The Brave and the Bold the Mask of Matches MaloneTOONZONE NEWS: That’s what Brave and the Bold was all about.

JAMES TUCKER: Well, when we were doing Brave and the Bold, that was my conceit behind that. You can’t just say, “This is B’wana Beast.” You need someone saying to put him in perspective. You need a Batman to say, “Oh, that’s B’wana Beast over there. He’s pretty cool. Smells funny, but he’s cool.” The Brave and the Bold comic did that back in the day. What weird character can you put into this world? If he’s cool with Batman, he’s a cool character. Some characters just don’t pop by themselves. You need a context. And for DC, Batman is the context for all these other characters.

Q: Have you thought about how far ahead you’re going to go?

JAMES TUCKER: This is the 2016 release. We’re figuring out 2018, and we’re working on 2017. So we’re thinking 2 years ahead, and producing a year ahead of this. That’s kind of how it works. I can’t talk about any of that stuff. It’s cool.

TOONZONE NEWS: How much more do you guys talk about doing projects outside of Batman and the Justice League, like Gods and Monsters?

JAMES TUCKER: I didn’t work on it, but it was cool. I boarded on the shorts. It’s Bruce Timm. If he says, “Can you help me out?” you say “Sure!” But as far as beyond what you guys know now, I don’t know much. I know they want to do more, so I just don’t know. That’s not my deal. I have to worry about my stuff.

Q: You mentioned the strange characters that sometimes can’t stand on their own. Anyone we’ll see in Bad Blood, or anyone you think of in that manner in Bad Blood?

JAMES TUCKER: Some of the villains will be characters who either haven’t been seen in a while or haven’t been imagined this way. One or two very obscure ones. Batwoman and Batwing have never been in animation. Like I always said coming into this, I always wanted to make sure that every movie had one character who hadn’t been in animation. In this one, I have two. Three, actually, but I can’t talk about the other one. And going forward, definitely. We’ve already talked about Justice League vs. Teen Titans. The world is growing, slowly. It takes a while. Like I said, we’re working 2 years ahead. I know what’s coming, and it’s cool. But it takes time to get to this. I had to get through some other stuff earlier to get to this point, and build the world.

Batman Bad BloodQ: How far ahead are you guys planning to take this? You guys are introducing two new characters in this series, Justice League vs. Teen Titans is going to bring the Teen Titans into the new world. Are these characters going to get their own series?

JAMES TUCKER: That’s my goal. When I took over, they pretty much said, “Batman and Justice League sell. That’s what we’re going to do.” I was like, “Really? OK. I’ve only been doing that for 15 years.” So I said, “Well, if I’ve got to do that, each time I do that, I want to introduce at least one new character within those worlds.” Damian was our first for Batman. The Owls were in the second movie. I’m trying to pull in more current stuff from the comics into what we’re doing now, so there isn’t this big gulf between what’s in the comics and what’s on the screen. In the old days, they’d do something on BTAS that was in the comics 20 years earlier, you know what I mean? The goal was trying to make what you’re reading in the comics happen on screen sooner. So as we build the world, we build on top of that, and everyone we’ve introduced comes back at a different point and in a different context later in a different story. That’s the goal, and as long as they let us do it and as long as they sell, I guess we’ll keep doing them. I can’t plan for that, but…

Q: Since you’re also dealing with a lot of characters who have been around for decades, does it become daunting to keep them fresh and new for fans?

JAMES TUCKER: Not for me personally. It’s daunting to explain to people who don’t know them how to keep them fresh. To explain to a writer why is Batwoman cool. Someone who doesn’t know Batwoman thinks, “Oh, it’s just Batgirl, older.” They don’t know the nuances of a character. They think Batwing is Cyborg with bat ears. That’s always been my issue. Even on Brave and the Bold, how do you explain B’wana Beast to someone who doesn’t think he’s cool, or Metamorpho or …basically, most of DC’s characters are kind of freaking weird (laughs). So we know why they’re cool, and my goal and my job has always been “How do you explain this to someone who is not familiar with them?” They’re the person who has to write them or depict them or direct them or bring them to life. It gets more daunting as we have less things to adapt. There are more prone to adapt something than to come up with something fresh. And I want to do more fresh stuff.


JASON O’MARA, BATMAN

NYCC 2013 Justice League War - Jason O'Mara

Jason O’Mara

Q: How’s it feel to be Batman?

JASON O’MARA: It always feels good. It never gets old. This is my fifth outing, and I’ve just been told I can say that I’m going to reprise the role of Batman in Justice League vs. Teen Titans, which will be the next title after this one. For me, anyway. So yeah. Super-excited and super-excited that they keep asking me back.

Q: Batman has disappeared throughout this movie. But he’s still going to be a major influence in this movie?

JASON O’MARA: In a way, I think his absence is more dramatic than his presence because we’re not used to him not being around. I personally got a taste of that when I did Justice League: Throne of Atlantis because he was more of a peripheral character in that. But obviously, his name is in the title here, so it’s a little disturbing that he’s not around. Story-wise they have to convince Gotham City that Batman is still alive and well, so people are going to have to pretend to be Batman, which again is kind of disconcerting for both the audience and the Batman world. We’ve got to find out what’s really happening to Bruce and where he is and what’s going on there, and that gives us lots of opportunities to explore. When Bruce isn’t out there kicking ass and being physical, and he’s in his head, that’s not a very happy place to be. But it’s certainly fun for us as an audience to see what’s going on in there. Certainly for me as actor, that’s kind of where it’s at. So the director/writer, and producer have found cool new ways to deal with that told story of what’s going on with Bruce Wayne.

Q: Has being Batman become easier than it was in the last couple of outings for you?

JASON O’MARA: Yeah. I think there was more pressure initially. I was more concentrated on not messing it up, whereas now I’ve got a little bit of experience doing it and I feel like I can enjoy it more. When you’re doing it more as an actor, chances are you’re finding more subtleties, more nuances, and you’ve got an opportunity to be more grounded in truth. I certainly feel like it’s developing in a good way. I think that’s normal for an actor. Even in a TV show like Seinfeld, if you watch the first season vs. the last, they’re like two completely different shows. I think that development is a natural part of the process, so I’m allowing myself to be open to that and let it happen. I think it’s very gradual. I don’t think you’d notice it if you watched every film back-to-back, but maybe if you watch Justice League: War against Batman: Bad Blood, you might notice a difference between them, I think in a good way. I think it’s getting better.

Batman vs. RobinQ: Have you had any words of encouragement from any other Batman actors?

JASON O’MARA: Not really. I met Kevin Conroy briefly, he was coming out of a session and I was coming in and he was introduced as, “This is Jason, he’s going to be playing Batman,” and he started choking me. Literally. Obviously, he was doing it as fun. But no, he didn’t offer any words of encouragement. From one actor to another, you have to trust that its going to be found, and you’re going to find it. I think it’s important to let that actor make the mistakes and make those discoveries for themselves. The more they do that, the more they’re able to own it. And talking about developing the voice, I feel like there’s more of a sense of ownership now. I feel like it’s doing something that’s unique to me and a little less influenced by other incarnations of the character as we go along. But I don’t think I’ve ever met any other actor who’s played Batman other than Kevin Conroy that one time. And he almost killed me (laughs).

Q: Hypothetical. You’re Batman patrolling Gotham in the Batmobile. What song are you listening to?

JASON O’MARA: (laughs) “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift. (laughter) I can’t believe you got me to say that. You set me up, and I knocked it down.

Q: What do the folks back home think of your role as Batman? Are they excited about that?

JASON O’MARA: Do you know, not a lot of people back home know that I’m Batman, or haven’t made the inquiries. I told Dublin Comic-Con, “Hey guys, if you want me to come to Comic-Con just let me know.” And they’re like, “Ah, no, whenever we ask Irish people to come back to Dublin to Comic-Con, they never come.” And I’m like, “Well, you don’t ask.” I even tweeted them, “Invite me!” “There’s no point because you won’t come.” I shouldn’t be saying that on the record (laughter), I would like to go there at some point, and go, “Hey, guys, I’m one of your own and I’m Batman, and that’s cool.” I think it’s cool.

Q: What county are you from?

JASON O’MARA: I’m from county Dublin. South. Excuse me, South. There’s a long-running North/South feud in Ireland.

Q: That’s an understatement! (laughter)

JASON O’MARA: Yeah, I come from a nice town called Sandycove.

Son of Batman TaserQ: What do you think sets your Batman apart from other depictions we’ve seen over the years?

JASON O’MARA: You know, I don’t know the answer to that. I think only the fans can really figure that out. I’m aware that there are some fans out there who love what I’m doing and there are some that don’t. I’m obviously getting happier and happier with it as I go along, so I kind of have to focus just on the process of making it the best I can rather than getting distracted with comparing it to others or what other people think. You can get so caught up in that that you just wouldn’t be able to get on with your job. Honestly, that’s also my approach as an actor in live-action as well. You just have to get on with the job. You can’t really care about what other people think, or else you can’t do it.

Q: How much interaction do you have with the other actors for this?

JASON O’MARA: Virtually nothing. I had some interaction with Stuart Allan on the last couple of movies, only because our sessions overlapped. I haven’t met anyone else. I met Sean Maher, who plays Nightwing, at the last couple of cons for Batman vs. Robin. I met Stuart Allan a couple of times because he’s got a lovely family and he and my son get together sometimes, but other than that I haven’t met anyone else in the cast. obviously, Gaius Charles is here today, but other than that I haven’t met anyone else in the cast. It’s kind of weird — you’re in a bubble, but you get this opportunity halfway through when you come back for ADR, and it’s already animated and all the other voices are laid down. So you do get to hear, before the film is completed, what the other actors have done, and that really helps in terms of any changes you want to make or whatever. It’s all part of the process.

Q: Many people see that doing the voice of Batman is one of the top characters. Is there a character you would choose to do that wasn’t Batman?

JASON O’MARA: In the animated stuff? I’d love to play a villain. I love playing villains. I love the Joker,or the Riddler. I like the old-school villains. And I love playing character roles as well. I’m not complaining that I get cast as the leading man or whatever. I love that, and it’s great, but I really like to let my hair down and play character roles, and mess with my voice and appearance.

Q: Any ideal character roles you’d like to do?

JASON O’MARA: Well, I played George Washington last year. That was great. So I’d love to just play that. But I play a lot of good guys, so I’m looking to play some bad guys. We’ll see. I also like wearing prosthetics and stuff like that. I like changing my appearance, but it’s just that you don’t get that opportunity very much, so I’m always looking for chances like that.

Q: Is there a live-action superhero outside of the Batman universe but not Batman that you would like to play?

JASON O’MARA: It has to be DC, because otherwise I’ll be fired (laughs)… I don’t know…again, I think it would be something kind of twisted and dark, because I think that’s what draws you to Batman. He’s kind of twisted and dark, but he’s a vigilante. He’s not really supposed to be doing what he’s doing. I like that. I like that idea. It would be some version of that, villainous version of that.


Toonzone would like to thank Phil Bourassa, Jay Oliva, James Tucker, and Jason O’Mara for taking the time to talk with us, and to Warner Bros. PR and Gary Miereanu for setting up the opportunity. Be sure to check out our coverage of the Batman: Bad Blood panel discussion at New York Comic Con 2015 as well. Batman: Bad Blood will be released in early 2016.

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