Andrea Romano Interview at NYCC 2012

I was able to sit down with both Bruce Timm and Andrea Romano at New York Comic Con this year to talk about Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Parts 1 and 2 and Batman: The Animated Series. You can read my Bruce Timm interview here.

Andrea Romano has been casting Batman for the past 20 years. “Somebody told me that I’ve cast Batman 13 or 14 times over the various different projects,” said Romano. She is one of the people responsible for the incredibly good casting of  Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman for Batman: The Animated Series.
When Kevin Conroy came in for this audition int he early 90s, Andrea had already listened to 500 auditions for the role of Batman, and had auditioned 150 people in person herself. After Kevin’s audition,  Bruce Timm and Andrea looked at each other and said “We have found Batman.” In the two decades since Kevin Conroy began being the voice of Batman, people have come up to Andrea and told her that “For my entire life, I’ve heard Kevin Conroy as Batman.” Andrea knows the feeling. According to Andrea, “When I prep a script, regardless of what incarnation of Batman it is, when I’m preparing for recording, I hear Kevin’s voice. Even though it may be somebody else I’ve cast to play Batman, I hear Kevin’s voice. That sets the bar.”
Andrea described the casting of Batman as “incredibly hard.” But the benefit, according to her, is that “it’s a character you don’t have to pitch. You don’t have to go, “There’s a guy named Bruce Wayne, and he’s got this problem because his parents were murdered.” Everyone knows who he is.” She also pointed out that these actors may never get the chance to play him on camera and this could be their one opportunity to play him.
When asked about how Mark Hamill was cast as the Joker, Andrea said that Mark Hamill approached her. Mark had his agent call her saying that Mark wanted to be a part of the Batman series. Andrea first cast him as a guest. “He did a terrific job and was very much embraced by the crew. He was very generous with his Star Wars stories.” When they finished recording, he came over to Andrea and said, “I had a great time, but you don’t understand. I want to be a part of this series,” Andrea let on. At the time, Tim Curry had been cast as the Joker and had recorded a handful of episodes. Andrea was asked by her higher ups to recast him. On a side note, she mentioned that she is probably the only person who has an existing version of a Batman show that has Tim Curry in it playing the Joker. She decided to give Mark Hamill a shot. “He auditioned and was stunning,” Andrea said about Mark.
In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2, Michael Emerson, from Lost and Person of Interest, will be the one playing the Joker. When asked how she found him, Andrea said that she approached Michael at San Diego Comic Con and asked him if he would ever be interested in doing an animated project if the right role came up. “Then this came up and I said, “Would you like to be the Joker?” and he jumped on it.” said Andrea. According to her, Michael said this was the hardest work he’d ever done. “I think because it’s out of his wheelhouse.” Andrea commented. When they recorded Michael as the Joker, Andrea was in LA and Michael was in NY. It was the first time Andrea recorded via Skype, so she could watch him. “Because working with an actor when you can see them, as opposed to only hearing their voice is very helpful. And having them be able to see me so that I can direct them.” Andrea explained.
Regarding Peter Weller being cast as Batman in The Dark Knight Returns, Andrea said “If I can’t use Kevin Conroy, because I do love using Kevin Conroy whenever I can, Mark Hamill as well, this was a really good bit of casting.” She explained, “The thing is, Peter is a good actor in and of himself. I didn’t know he was a major comic book fan. He was really familiar with the source material.”
At New York Comic Con, publicist Gary Miereanu revealed that Conan O’Brien would be voicing talk show host Dave Endocrine in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2. When asked how it was working with Conan, Andrea said, “He was excellent. He was a pleasure to work with. There’s something that he has to do in this piece, which is when he gets hit with Joker gas, that laughing gas that hits people. It starts with a building laugh and then a big, big laugh and then it gets to that painful, I’m dying laugh. He did it in one take. It’s a long, long laugh. Both Bruce Timm and I were like, “You’re really good.” You have no idea how hard that is. Laughing on cue is one of the hardest things to do in voice over. It’s just really, really hard, and he just nailed it.”
When asked who’d she like to work with in the future, Andrea’s answer was Jon Hamm. “I think he’s a wonderful actor. He can do comedy, he can do drama and everything in-between. She also said she wants to work with Kyle Chandler, saying “I think he’s a terrific actor too.” And she would love to work with Glenn Close. “[Glenn Close] began her career in voice over. She was in The Legend of Greystoke, the Tarzan story. She completely dubbed Andie MacDowell’s voice. That’s not Andie MacDowell. That’s Glenn Close’s voice. She’s a terrific voice over actress, so I want to work with her.” explained Andrea.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 29, 2013.
Interview by Billy Henehan