Earlier this month at New York Comic Con 2013, CBR’s Albert Ching sat down with legendary voice director Andrea Romano and actor Jason O’Mara to discuss the upcoming “Justice League: War” animated feature. O’Mara talked about the pressure he felt voicing Batman for the first time and following so many different incarnations of the Dark Knight, while Romano talked about the many challenges she and the other filmmakers faced creating the first DC Animated feature based in DC Comics’ New 52, as well as recasting a number of iconic parts for that new era.
On O’Mara’s first turn as Batman and the pressure that entails: “It was a littler nerve racking. Kevin Conroy is such a recognizable voice. There have been so many wonderful portrayals of Batman in the past and the pressure of course is to live up to that,” said O’Mara. “I’m very pleased to report everyone [at the panel] was very positive, they gave me a very warm reception and so I’m thrilled. I’m looking forward to it coming out now.
“It helps that he does a really good job,” added Romano.
On what they wanted out of this take on Batman in “War”: My directive that was given to me was, ‘We want a new Batman. We want a different Batman voice.’ And so Jason was someone we talked about wanting to use before on various projects and this we all thought, ‘How about Jason for Batman in this project?'” said Romano. “We all sort of listened to a lot of [his] previous work and went, ‘That’s absolutely in the right timbre.’ It’s a youthful sound — youthful as in it’s not terribly mature in years and attitude. It is a mature voice, but not aged, if you will.
“I just adore actors and I love watching them work with — now this is an entity, Batman, that I’ve worked with for many, many decades now — and so it’s fun to watch somebody’s new input, someone else’s thoughts,” Romano continued. “‘What if…? How about…?’ — and then knowing, myself, what will print, what will work, what will make that voice pop.”
On finding his own approach to Batman: “It’s like stripping away layers. You go in with a preconceived idea, and then you’re also working with the script that they’ve written, Andrea giving direction, the film’s director is also there, the animators, and they’re able to give you feedback on what’s actually happening in the scene,” O’Mara said. “The other thing that happens over time, over a period of hours — it takes several hours to record each session — is that your voice starts to find its own roof. It starts to warm up and you find your center. And that usually happens to me about half an hour into recording, especially with a voice I’m trying to find. Once that starts to come out we can go back and re-record. That’s the beauty of it.
On the challenge of recasting so many iconic roles for the Animated New 52: “As a casting person, and a director, my job as a casting director is to come up with ideas and present them as options. Everybody together decides, ‘That’s a good choice, ehhhh not so good, well that person…’ And then what matches with what,” said Romano. “With a Justice League story, it’s not just dealing with Batman’s voice. How does Batman deal with Superman? How does Batman sound against Wonder Woman’s voice? Do they sound like they could exist in that same period of time and that same universe? It’s a lot of putting things together and making that happen. And we were lucky enough to get a bunch of terrific actors. … All these wonderful people who didn’t necessarily all work together in the room at the same time, but their voices work well together and so we managed to make it sound like they did record together.