Why should you listen to Kevin Conroy when he gives advice on playing Batman? Who the hell is Kevin Conroy? He has been the voice behind Bruce Wayne/Batman for the past 24 years. He began voicing the Caped Crusader in Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1995), and carried on his Bat career in a number of other animated shows, movies, and video games. It should go without saying that Conroy knows the Bat.
In a recent interview with IGN, Conroy talked about what it takes to play Batman, and what you should consider when playing the Dark Knight:
“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.”
Characterization and Interpretations
Conroy goes on to talk about the different character who have played Batman and the Joker:
“I liked Michael Keaton and I like what Ben Affleck is doing with it now. But they couldn’t be more different. It’s just the same with the Joker. When I started working with Mark Hamill I thought no one would ever nail the Joker better than Mark Hamill, and then I saw Heath Ledger, and he knocked it out of the park in just a different way. There are so many valid ways of playing a role, it’s really fun to watch different actors do it. So I thought it was a really interesting choice that WB made to have different actors do the live-action character.”
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