On sale now, "Batman: Gotham Knight" is the latest release from Warner Bros.' DC Universe line of direct-to-DVD features based on the iconic DC Comics superheroes. The film bridges "Batman Begins" and the forthcoming sequel "The Dark Knight." An animated feature rendered in an anime style, Warner Bros. assigned six different scribes a chance to write Batman as envisioned by director Christopher Nolan in his live action films. Joining writers such as Greg Rucka, Brian Azzarello and David Goyer is Alan Burnett, Emmy Award-winning writer and producer of "Batman: The Animated Series."
CBR News sat down with Burnett to talk about his segment of "Batman: Gotham Knight," titled "Deadshot."
How did you get involved in this project and why did you choose Deadshot as your villain?
I came in after it started rolling. They needed someone to write the last of the six episodes. I heard about it, thought it was a great idea ï¿½" six different directors, six different writers, six different versions of Batman, and it would be in anime style that I think he lends himself to. Anime is often very dark in mood. So I was very happy to have a chance to participate.
We didn't have an idea what story I was going to do, so I brought up Deadshot in a meeting. We were trying to think of what villains would appear in this. Killer Croc was already taken, Scarecrow was already taken, and Joker was already taken [in "The Dark Knight"]. All the top-liners were going. And then suddenly I thought, "Hey, we're doing a more realistic Batman, how about Deadshot?" We've never been able to do him in the TV show because he's all about guns and bullets. We're always trying to please the 6-to-11-year-olds on television. So everyone all at once said, "Yes!" So I went back and did Deadshot. And that's how it happened.
I also provided a little thread through all the stories, sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Sometimes it's missing [laughs]. I think there's an overall arc through the whole six episodes. It's supposed to take place in the time between the first Batman movie, "Batman Begins," and ["The Dark Knight"]. I actually forgot when I was writing mine that the batcave was destroyed [in "Batman Begins."] I had to go back and retool that. The progression goes through from Batman being a vigilante, sort of mistrusted by everyone, to finally being accepted by the end. Then the next chapter is the "The Dark Knight."
Besides all the guns and bullets, what attracted you to Deadshot?
[The guns and bullets] were the major things that attracted me. You know, "Batman: The Animated Series" had lots of guns and lots of bullets. So it wasn't like I hadn't done it before, but I hadn't been able to do it in a long, long time. So he shoots a lot of bullets. I think even more than I had written!
The animators had a good time then?
I think they had a real good time.
Was it to the point to where you were thought, "That's too many bullets!"
I figured out that Batman wears armor. I want to remind people that Batman does wear armor, so they don't think that Deadshot is a bad shot ï¿½" he's hitting armor he doesn't realize is there.
There's a lot of eye candy ï¿½" there are things you're going to love. [My original script] had Deadshot perched on top of building. The Japanese producers put him on top of a giant Ferris wheel. And you go, "Oh, yeah, that's good!"
How long is your segment?
Eleven minutes ï¿½" I think they're all about 11 minutes.
How long did you work on this -- was this an easy story for you?
The story came pretty easily. The story wrote itself in a way. I liked doing 11 minutes. It's short and sweet. A little bit like doing a comic book. It's just fun. This is not "Gone with the Wind," you know? It's just a good time.
You've been writing animation for a very long time now.
[Since] 1981. I started off with "Super Friends." I was on the very tail-end of "Super Friends." The people that hired me at Hanna-Barbera knew I liked superheroes.
Do you enjoy going back and looking at your older stuff?
I'm not one of those guys who can look back at his stuff with nostalgia. I look at it and I ask, "Did I really do this?" They're unwatchable. At the time, ["Super Friends"] was an ABC show. It was trying to appeal to 2-to-11-year-olds. They had it in their minds that this would be the first show in their lineup on Saturdays, so they wanted to make sure it was really good for the little kiddies. By today's standards, it's almost a preschool show. By the second season, we brought in Darkseid, then Cyborg, Firestorm. We had some more freedom, it was a little bit more fanboy-friendly, but it was still a young show.
At the same time I wrote a Batman pilot. They wanted a serious Batman show, so I wrote it, it didn't sell. But I've been working on Batman, in one way or another, since 1991. I've told about every Batman story there is to tell.
Would you say Batman has been good to you?
The Batcave is very comfortable.
Now discuss this story in CBR's TV/Film forum.