At the 2012 NYCC, Andrea Romano was talking about her casting choices in The Dark Knight Returns Part 2, and how difficult it was just making those choices. You can watch the video below and/or you could also read it below.
Did you get to record a lot of The Dark Knight Returns radio style just because of the large cast?
I believe that we just couldn’t record all 33 actors at one time, there just wasn’t enough mikes or enough room. But I did record the ensemble cast of the secondary actors and actors that spoke to each other. I think I did one where we had to tag team accordingly- we had 15 actors there, so we put five, let them go, record 5, let them go, record five, let them go. So as often as I could I would put the two actors that spoke to each other together. Batman never worked with Gordon, Robin was put by himself- but that was the real challenge, making the actors have conversations with each other. Like in part one, in that first scene where Batman and Robin are having cocktails, it took us three weeks to put together, but Josh made those two speak to each other.
Was it hard to find a cast?
We always meet before and discuss who would be a good cast. We looked at who’s hot and happening right now, however iconic themselves- Peter Weller, Robocop. He did such a good job- he was so good. The biggest thing, because he was a director as well, he directed a lot of Sons of Anarchy and a couple of House episodes, so directing a director is always really kind of scary. You don’t want to lose any kind of credibility, you know, you want to say something they actually want to do.
Since Peter was working solely on his voice and not his physical appearance, did you have to go over some of the tricks you picked up? Like when you’re Bruce Wayne, you’re a little smoother, but when you’re Batman, you’re a little bit rougher.
I’m glad you brought that up because that seems to come up very naturally to actors- they kind of get that sense of it. What I have to deal with is things like, “You’re actually running through the scene, Peter. So just talking like this won’t work, you’re going to have to huff and puff.” I have to go over the specifics that maybe aren’t very clearly evident in the dialogue, but have to be directed. The challenge certainly for everybody, like Peter Weller or Mark Valley who played Superman, is that there’s so much fighting. These guys are terrific actors and we never worry about that, but it’s teaching them how to do “huuh” “ow” [she’s mimicking fight sounds, and rather well], and maybe throwing a punch and receiving a punch sounds completely different. So that’s a challenge- working them through hundreds of shoots to make sure it matches the pictures and they were all game for it. But after three hours of doing it, they were all tired, they really do and I understand it. I don’t like using a library of sounds; it gets all kind of boring when saying “ummph” every time, so we do every individual cue in the picture and there’s thousands of them.
So many animated films now use named actors for voiceovers to get audiences in. Do you not like to do that sometimes because you’re afraid people will see Peter Weller and not Batman? Is that a danger?
I want it to be the right voice for the character- it doesn’t matter to me if they’re a known actor or not- if it’s the right acting, I’m all for it. There are actually some Easter eggs where Robocop is mentioned and so I don’t really mind.
Talk about the voices choices that you’ve made.
Gary Anthony Williams, I’ve worked on with The Boondocks and he’s a remarkably interesting actor. What’s so wonderful about him is that when you watch part 1, maybe the second or third scene will have a news anchor- sort of dark and with thin glasses, and that’s Gary. Then we also had another news anchor, and they’re just far away voice wise as you can imagine. You would never notice they’re the same actor. And that’s the thing that I won’t see, and that’s why you need the director or Bruce to point out. The scene when Catwoman’s nails scrape across Batman’s chest, it had to be a good “uggghhh!” A really painful sound, and Gary is just great at it.
For this part, was there anyone who brought something extra to the film? Like something you fought over for what they did?
The reason I kept Michael Emerson as the Joker is because I knew he’d do that. We all have in our heads what we think is going on, what we brought up with Mark Hamill as Joker or whatever, you have to have an idea in your mind. The reason we went with him is because he wouldn’t be the typical person you’d think of as the Joker, and I adore him. I saw him three or four months after doing the voice work, and I asked him, “Did you enjoy the work?” And he said, “It was hard work.” Which I found fascinating because the man put in a lot of work and was amazing. It was such a new, novel thing. And we recorded it when he was in New York while I was in L.A. , and it was the first time I ever recorded anyone by Skype, because I wanted to watch him and I wanted him to feel me. Because with direction, you got to pull an actor, and watching him made it.
Be sure to watch the trailer below: