Written by Jonah
At the San Diego Comic Con in July, I had the opportunity to interview the key players in Cartoon networkís upcoming series Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Now, youíve already read my interviews with Voice Director Andrea Romano and series directors: Ben Jones, Brandon Vietti, and Michael Chang. But there was one more interview done on that Friday. This interview with Producer James Tucker, Story editor Michael Jelenic, and the Voice of Batman Diedrich Bader was conducted at the end of the day, and clearly all involved were tired. Why all this back story you ask? And, perhaps more importantly, why are you only now reading this article? It turns out that between the three of them, I learned a few things I was NOT supposed to about characters appearing in the series. I was asked to hold off on posting this for a bit, but this is still news, so here goes. Appearing in BATMAN B & B will be Helena Bertinelli: aka the Huntress!
What? Thatís news. No one else has posted it. You say she was a mainstay of JLUís first season? You donít care? Fine. Be that way. You want a scoop? You want a SCOOP? Okay then.
Let me put an end to a month of internet speculation and rumor. The Green Lantern featured in BATMAN B &B is INDEED none other than continuously cranky, anti-social borderline ass GL: Guy Gardener. Yup. Fanboys rejoice! Guy will make his appearance in the GL episodes of the series premiering this fall. No word on whether Batman takes him down with one punch or not. Click below to read the full interview with Tucker, Bader, and the incredibly talkative Michael Jelenic.
Jonah: First question for you Diedrich- playing Batman, hard, fun, awesome?
Deidrich Bader: Yes. Yeah. It really is great. Mostly because this Batman has a sense of humor. Which is easier for me to do than what Rino (Romano, the voice of TVís Batman in THE BATMAN) did which was dark all the way through, with kind of leveling it with a little bit of humor. Which there is some humor in this, but itís mostly irony and very dry. Itís the guest star cast that really gets to go out and have funny performances. But it is genuinely fun and right in my house. I was just asked earlier if there was any other animated character Iíd like to play and really thereís no where that would be going up from here.
Jonah: Well Catwoman. I think thatís the obvious choice. But thatís just me.
Diedrich Bader: Of course.
Jonah: Itís the mustache; it makes me think of Catwoman. What?
Deidrich: Itís ridiculous isnít it? Mid October is when I can shave it off.
Jonah: I didnít mean to pour salt into that wound.
Deidrich Bader: No. Itís okay.
Michael Jelenic: Has Batman ever had a Mustache?
Deidrich Bader: Well you wouldnít know with the cowl.
Jonah: He did put one on as part of his Matches Malone disguise. Thatís right. I just got nerdy on you guys.
James Tucker: Wow.
Jonah: I mean what. I donít know what you guys are talking about. Whoís this Batman?
Jonah: Seriously though, Deidrich, do you think the Batman looks anything like you with that chin of his? Did you go in and pose for the artists?
Deidrich Bader: Yes. And it was obviously difficult to find a cowl to cover my enormous head.
Jonah: Was there anyone in particular it was fun to work with on the show?
Deidrich Bader: Tom Kenney (as Plasticman) is always great to work with. And John DiMaggio (Aquaman) is always nice to have. We had Phil Morris in which was pretty fun. And Jim Piddock (Calendarman) came and did a guest star spot. Heís always funny and really nice.
Jonah: (to James Tucker) How do you feel about this whole process? I mean you ARE following in big shoes.
James Tucker: Well Iíve had some shitty jobs. So pretty good.
Jonah: Well there has been a lot of fan angst. A lot of ďhow can you do this,Ē and, ďHow dare you make batman funny?Ē
James Tucker: Itís been really great. BRAVE & THE BOLD is actually the first comic book I ever read. So itís fitting. In some ways this is it for me. Iím out.
Jonah: Thank you and good night?
James Tucker: Right? No, itís been a blast.
Jonah: How did you initially get started with this project? Were you knocking on doors at Warner Brothers?
James Tucker: Sam Register (Executive Producer) came and said theyíre doing another Batman. And I thought, ďHell no. Iím not going near that.Ē And he said,Ē Well, itís the BRAVE AND THE BOLDÖĒ And I had to say, ďYes please!Ē So then I had to think about how you do this different Batman which isnít in the huge long shadow of BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES. Because I remember the hate that THE BATMAN got when it first premiered. And I didnít want to go through that. But, he (Sam) convinced me that this was a different Batman an old school Batman, with a twist. Then I started thinking about it and decided that I can do this, and I remember this form THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD. Itís still Batman, just not the Batman that many are used to.
Jonah: Not your hardcore Batman?
James Tucker: Well the great thing is we have access to all the Batman mythos. We can go dark. The CW Batman couldnít hang a guy off a roof. We can. But we can also make him fun. We can pick and choose. Itís still Batman. Itís still cool. Iíll still enjoy it.
Jonah: What about working with Deidrich? It seems like he really annoys you.
James Tucker: Yes.
James Tucker: No. Heís been great. The thing about casting these archetypical heroes is that the person has to embody the character. Our Wonder woman on Justice League was so sweet. She really loved the fans. She had stalkers because she was too nice. But, Deidrich is a great guy and a GREAT Batman.
Jonah: (To Michael Jelenic) And you will just nod and agree with everything they say?
James Tucker: DOES the tape recorder pick up his nods?
Michael Jelenic: Thatís why they brought me on the show. James was looking for someone who would nod their head to everything he suggested.
Jonah: Were there any characters, as far as the ones you can talk about go, you were excited to get to use in the show?
Michael Jelenic: Itís funny. Iím not really a comic book guy. This guy (James) is possibly the biggest nerd at Comic Con this year.
James Tucker: Gee thanks!
Michael Jelenic: Itís trueÖ
James Tucker: Iím a functioning nerd!
Michael Jelenic: Well, you do work in the industry. But if you didnít, youíd still be trying to do something nerdy. But, me, I donít have a comic book background. I read some batman as a kid but for me with the show, everythingís new. Ted Kord? Whoís Ted Kord?
James Tucker: Heís the Blue Beetle, or was the Blue Beetle.
Jonah: Now heís dead.
James Tucker: And then back.
Jonah: and then dead again.
James Tucker: Right. And now he just nods his head.
Michael Jelenic: Exactly. Wait, what was the question?
Jonah: It was about your favorite character from comics on the show, but obviouslyÖ
Michael Jelenic: well, I do have some favorites from the show. I keep repeating that I LOVE Aquaman on our show. Heís fun.
Jonah: Obviously. Heís so much fun in the comics.
James Tucker: Right?
Michael Jelenic: Well, I think the obvious thing to do is make fun of the fact that out of water heís basically useless. He doesnít do anything. He just talks to fish. But I think heís funny without making fun of the character. Funny without going over the top. You like him. And the other story I like is our Green Lantern story. Can I talk about this?
Michael Jelenic: I like our Green Lantern: Guy Gardener. Heís got such a great character compared to the others in our story. Heís such aÖ a dick really. But at the end of the episode you come to understand why heís a Green Lantern. Yes heís a dick, but you can count on him.
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Jonah: What about you James?
James Tucker: I agree with what he said. Plus, I really like the Plasticman story. Heís just funny as shit the way he comes into the show.
Deidrich Bader: And the latest thing with Wildcat (R. Lee Ermey) was really funny too.
James Tucker: Right. But, no, I donít have any real favorites yet.
Jonah: Theyíre all your children and you donít want any hurt feelings?
James Tucker: No, they havenít been born yet and they hurt like hell.
Deidrich Bader: Still kicking around in there.
James Tucker: Right. So I donít know. Some may come out with only three fingers. I donít know.
Deidrich Bader: Whatís fun about this show is the relationship between the heroes and how they each have an arc about what they learn from each other. Green Arrow for example. Their relationship, how it develops. Just like DiMaggioís Aquaman. Thereís an arc to it. Each story resolves in a way thatí kind ofÖ sweet. I brought up the relationship with Blue Beetle; itís a nice mentor thing. And Will (Wheaton) does a fabulous job. I guess I feel like weíre pushing the character in a way that doesnít betray the character at all. Itís still Batman. Just not the darker Frank Miller Batman. It doesnít all need to be like that. Because it isnít all like that. When I was a kid and we first moved to the states I used to watch BATMAN all the time-with Adam West. I finally got to work with him years ago, and I totally geeked out. It had formed this impression in my head. THAT, to me, IS Batman. Not the dark version. Thereís nothing wrong with it, and itís certainly an element. But this is, I think clear and organic, and nothing that strays from the character. Itís really fun to do.
Jonah: Good. Good. Plus you get to go to work in your pajamas.
Deidrich Bader: Except I have to stop coming in barefoot.
Michael Jelenic: We did have an actor take off his pants. He came in, in those running pants that make a little noise when you move. So, he took them off for the whole recording.
Jonah: Who was that?
James Tucker: We canít say. Itís kind of a big actor.
Deidrich Bader: Really, voice-over IS great. If it paid as much as on camera work, itís all Iíd ever do.
Jonah: So to quote you, ďItís all about the money?Ē Laughter. That will be the headline of this article. Deidrich Bader: All About the Green!
Deidrich Bader: You know what it is? Doing animation is closer to pretending than anything else you get to do. Itís much more like when youíre a kid putting on a character. Itís like when I watch my son play these characters at home. He laughs this evil laugh Ö because heís a super villain. I can actually hear him over the monitor practicing this really evil laugh. ďHA HA HAÖĒ
Jonah: Proud parent of a supervillians?
Deidrich Bader: You bet. Iím raising him right! But it is. JustÖ fun to do. I get to play a couple characters.
Jonah: You are pulling double duty?
Deidrich Bader: yes.
Jonah: Any you can talk about?
Deidrich: NoÖ well, CatwomanÖ
Jonah: Of course!
Deidrich Bader: We did have the Huntress on the show the other day. That was kind of cool.
James Tucker: He did the voice.
Deidrich Bader: NoÖ but they have a great relationship: Batman and the Huntress. I thought that was really well done. Pretty interesting.
Michael Jelenic: You shouldíve seen the first draft. It was REALLY interesting.
James Tucker: We had to pull back a littleÖ
Jonah: Whatís next for you guys?
James Tucker: Hopefully another season of this.
Jonah: Will it be 26 episodes?
James Tucker: yes.
Jonah: So a full season of an animated show?
James Tucker: Yes.
Jonah: Nice! What about you Deidrich?
Deidrich Bader: Did I say I was doing anything else?
Jonah: Well, you DID say that voice-over doesnít pay enough.
Deidrich Bader: Actually Iím doing as little as possible right now. Iím doing a play at the Taper in September. HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES. Thatís what the stupid mustache is for. Iím looking forward to that. This way I get to be with my kids during the day.
Jonah: Arenít you worried that spending time with your son will actually make him less of a supervillian?
Deidrich Bader: No. Iím raising him right!
James Tucker: Two chicks at the same time?
Deidrich Bader: Oh yeah. Iím teaching him all about that.
Jonah: Deidrich Bader: All About the Green AND Two Chicks At the Same TimeÖ
Deidrich Bader: Really, what more DOES he need to know?
Indeed what more do any of us need to know? Guy Gardener. Will Wheaton as the Blue Beetle. The Huntress and BatmanÖ. inappropriate relationship? And Two Chicks at the Same Time! You can see why this article was embargoed