Exclusive First Look: Batman - Under the Red Hood

It may not be coming out until this summer, but CBM has your first look at the animated DVD adventure "Batman: Under the Red Hood," featuring interviews with Bruce Timm, Judd Winick, Bruce Greenwood and Jensen Ackles.

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By EdGross - 2/16/2010
Bat_09Dark, brooding adventure is nothing new in the world of Batman, but from all indications, his latest animated journey – this fall’s Batman: Under the Red Hood – could be the darkest of all.

“It’s simply the darkest Batman movie we’ve made yet, and that’s including Mask of the Phantasm and Return of the Joker,” offers producer Bruce Timm, who has been involved in Batman’s 2D world since the 1990s’ Batman: The Animated Series. “This is a really gritty, pretty darkly emotional story, and if it all comes together as I’m expecting it will, it’s going to be something really special.”

Following a line of films that includes Superman: Doomsday, Green Lantern: First Flight, Batman: Gotham Knight, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and, most recently, Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths, Under The Red Hood is adapted by Judd Winick from a story arc presented in the Dark Knight’s comic book adventures, part of which Winick himself had written. For his part, the writer thought the tale was a natural for animation.

“What I loved best about it is that it had a really amazing beginning and a really strong ending, which pretty much most movies ride on,” Winick notes. “The movie starts with Batman’s failure, which resonates throughout.”

That “failure,” the full details of which he won’t go in to, occurred some years ago, and its impact is felt in the present with the arrival of the Red Hood, a costumed vigilante and criminal whose actions reflect what Batman himself would be should he ever decide to step over the line from hero to villain.

Bat-Robin“This is absolutely a Batman story,” he emphasizes. “It’s about Batman facing his greatest fear, and it’s a fear he was unaware of: failure. All Batman is trying to do is win a war. All he’s trying to do is right wrongs, beginning with the death of his parents and followed by another seminal event in his life, the loss of his partner, Jason Todd [who replaced Dick Grayson as his sidekick, Robin]. It was a major mistake in his life, bringing another kid into this war. So for Batman, it seems like one horrible mistake after another.”

Those mistakes, and a few others made in his career, come home to roost in the form of the Red Hood. “Batman is the Dark Knight, he has strange means and he’s tortured, but the bare essence of the man is that he’s trying to do right; to stop the bad in the world,” Winick explains. “In this story, his failure has increased ten-fold. He’s almost at a loss, because something unspoken about Batman is his emotional side. This ‘mistake’ is trying to undo everything that Batman does, trying to beat him at his own game, trying to be better than he is. So Batman has to battle this on two fronts: one, just this criminal, who’s coming in and trying to take over the city by force and being what he is, the villain. The flip side of this is that this is something from Batman’s past that has returned from beyond, which is maddening, confusing and horrible. And what does he do when he stops him, if he can stop him? These are wonderfully complex issues, which is why I just fell in love with the idea that this is Batman at his most unbalanced. What the Red Hood represents is Batman’s Achilles heel, and he tortures himself over it. The situation he is being forced to deal with is his fault, and it’s something he never lets himself forget.”

VOICES UNDER THE RED HOOD
One of the most impressive aspects of the various DC made-for-DVD animated projects is the sheer spectrum of voice talent involved in bringing the characters to life. Particularly distinct about Batman: Under The Red Hood is that the project brings into the fold a couple of vocal newbies.

Bruce Greenwood, most recently seen on the big screen as Captain Christopher Pike in last year’s Star Trek, takes on the role of Batman, whose gravelly voice he spent a lot of time experimenting with. “We just toyed around with different timbers for 20 minutes or so,” he explains. “We read the script the whole way through while we were looking for the tone of the voice. And by the time we’d sort of finished the first read through, we were kind of saying, ‘Okay, it’s got a little bit of smoke in it, but not too much.’ It became smokier as we went along.”

As to working in animation, he says, “I didn’t come in with too many preconceptions. I read the script beforehand, and the emotional through line of the story is what I’m trying to connect to. So when the director asks you to give it a certain tone, then you just go for that. But it was interesting to work this way. [Vocal director] Andrea Romano provided the visual – she’d describe everything. So you just kind of close your eyes and she’d set the scene and you could really imagine it very clearly, and then you do your thing.”

Red_hood_02The other newcomer to animation acting is Jensen Ackles, who voices the villain of the piece, the Red Hood. Ackles, of course, is best known for his portrayal of Dean Winchester on the CW series, Supernatural.

“There really wasn’t any heavy acting choices to make,” says Ackles regarding Red Hood. “It pretty much just bounced off the page, and I just tried to do it justice. With working in this medium, once you get clear on all the specific pronunciations and how the tone of the voice needs to rise and fall, it was really about focusing on the more emotional elements of the script, especially in the intense moments and trying to envision the scene with the characters. And envisioning yourself in that scenario. A lot of times if you can do that, if you can put yourself there, I think the voice follows suit.”

Between his work on Supernatural and now the world of Batman, Ackles obviously has had some experience working in what has affectionately been called the “fan boy genre.”

“The positives of working in this genre are that the fans are extremely devoted,” he offers. “People really invest themselves in these stories and characters, and the mythology behind them. To be a part of something that so many people really get behind and want more of is extremely gratifying.”

Batman: Under The Red Hood will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in October.

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holykrapya - 2/16/2010, 8:02 PM
jensen ackles ahaha
Mazoku - 2/16/2010, 8:09 PM
didnt hear about this until this article...
cant wait for it... always did want to read "A Death in the Family"
Tobuttica - 2/16/2010, 8:21 PM
It's good stuff, Joker at some of his finest!
foxfan - 2/16/2010, 8:38 PM
just curious, who won the planet hulk posters?
InTylerWeTrust - 2/16/2010, 8:45 PM
Looking forward to clips from the DVD. I loved Return of the Joker and Mask of the Phantasm, so DC has done pretty well when it comes to Batman animated movies.

I LOVE the casting of Greenwood as Bats! That's awesome! But it is strange that they didn't get their "go-to-voice" Kevin Conroy though. But Greenwood is still an awesome pick, regardless.
blacksad - 2/16/2010, 8:46 PM
Great, i really cant wait to se this one.
tazmaniak - 2/16/2010, 9:03 PM
Man, October?Last year they put out three animated movies.I guess only two this year.
JoshWilding - 2/16/2010, 9:05 PM
Im really looking forward to this because I'm a huge fan of the original comic book arc (apart from the ending and what they've done with the character since!)

Guys, check out my VENOM/CARNAGE Fan Cast! Just click the link!!! :)
MagnaSolaris - 2/16/2010, 9:17 PM
I really hope Bruce Greenwood is up to the challenge. I mean, to me Kevin Conroy IS THE VOICE OF BATMAN!
Man, i'm so excited about this one. I could see everything with Batman in it, even a toilet paper themed tv special or something like that, but this one really REALLY want to see it.
BillyBlack - 2/16/2010, 9:20 PM
Ackles talking about heavy acting choices?

God help us all.
TDKR11 - 2/16/2010, 9:27 PM
WTF I have to wait 8 months for this to come out WB ur killing me. I couldnt wait 4 this to come out in the summer, now i gotta wait longer, f@ck!!!!!!!
Bandrews1 - 2/16/2010, 9:37 PM
Can't wait.
InstigatorGIRL - 2/16/2010, 9:38 PM
(giggles) I am so excited for this. I loved this storyline. And fortunately we were right that they will show flashbacks of Todd's Death.
EdGross - 2/16/2010, 9:50 PM
My bad, guys. I've corrected it in the article, but the film is coming out this summer, not October.
georgia49th - 2/16/2010, 9:59 PM
I can't wait for this one , plus the Jonah Hex short will be included since it's the next short to be released. awsome news!!!!
thwhtGuardian - 2/16/2010, 10:08 PM
well I guess that rough sketch should put to bed any worries people had about seeing Todd's death
thwhtGuardian - 2/16/2010, 10:21 PM
nothing at all, she said fortunately. Some people were worried that we wouldn't see his death and red hood would be generic, but this proves other wise.
InstigatorGIRL - 2/16/2010, 10:25 PM
Yeah I am very happy they are going to show his death.
Redhood - 2/16/2010, 10:57 PM
Should be awesome
tazmaniak - 2/16/2010, 11:29 PM
So will the Joker be in the movie?I'm sure he will, since he's involved with Jason's death and the Red Hood.

If this comes out in the summer, I guess the next one will be out around October.Superman/Batman 2, perhaps?
thwhtGuardian - 2/16/2010, 11:49 PM
I'd like to see them do something other than batman /superman for the next movie.
I know it'll never happen, but I'd like to see a hellblazer animated movie. Constantine was okay for what it was...but I'd like to see something closer to the actual source.
maywitch - 2/17/2010, 12:44 AM
So Jensen Ackles is involved with this? Awesome. I can't wait to hear what he does with it. He really uses his voice well as an actor, so it will be interesting to hear him acting an animated character.

"Ackles talking about heavy acting choices?

God help us all."

Considering what his character on Supernatural has gone through, he knows all about making heavy acting choices and is more than capable of them. It's his first time voicing a character so I'll keep the expecations realistic but if anyone can do a great job the first time out, it's him.
LEEE777 - 2/17/2010, 2:28 AM
Instigator @ Yeah thank god we're getting them flashbacks!


ED @ Very cool, UNDER THE HOOD's gonna be an instant classic!

AMAZING Exclusive man!!! Cannot wait!


Talking BATMAN....

Check out BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT casting done by myself in FAN-FIC >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>



Or CLICK this > BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT MOVIE


Cheers! ; D
foxfan - 2/17/2010, 3:56 AM
ackles is cool. dean winchester is a very defined character on supernatural imho. i hope he eventually gets some kind of cbm role, even if it's a supporting one and not a lead. wouldn't he be a MUCH BETTER green arrow on smallville? man i hate that dweeb who's on their now.
thedon786 - 2/17/2010, 4:00 AM
hell yeah
spanky - 2/17/2010, 5:51 AM
holy red cape batman! i like what i see.
LEEE777 - 2/17/2010, 5:54 AM
SPANK @ Me too man, me too! ; )

SirPrize @Lol!!
wildstar13 - 2/17/2010, 6:02 AM
I would love to see them do Dark Knight Returns
LuckyKyd - 2/17/2010, 6:17 AM
I can actually imagine Bruce Greenwood doing the voice and it is gonna be great. And Ackles of course, haven't led me down yet. Really excited and will be checking this out when it is released.
If it really is as dark as Timm says then It is gonna be epic indeed!

@LEEE: Ah you want Steven Lang for Deathstroke, well I see it, I see it... I'll check your casting out right away bud. ;)
wildstar13 - 2/17/2010, 6:31 AM
Thanks Teabag.. You are the Man!! I'm new to the site. Man, I love your comments
GUNSMITH - 2/17/2010, 6:43 AM
evil1rox - 2/17/2010, 6:44 AM
WAIT A MINUTE!!!!

-The Dark Knight returns is one of my favorite story arcs of all time!! Did they make the rest of that movie???

If so.. I MUST have it.

to the Batcave...er.. youtube.

E
longbowhunter - 2/17/2010, 6:51 AM
That Dark Knight Returns is part of an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, season 4 I think.

The statement Timm made about Under the Red Hood being darker than Return of the Joker really has me excited.
GUNSMITH - 2/17/2010, 6:55 AM
I DIDNT KNOW THEY DID AN ADAPTION! YOU KNOW ZACK SNYDER WANTS TO DO A LIVE ACTION ADAPTION BUT WITH THE SUCCESS OF NOLAN'S BATMAN, IT PROLLY WONT GET MADE TILL NOLAN'S THING DIES DOWN...BUT I HAVE A SUGGESTION, CGI MOVIE? THAT WOULD FLY..OR STOP ANIMATION OVER A CG BACKGROUND. A RATED R STOP ANIMATION MOVIE, THAT WOULD BE DIFFERENT..
evil1rox - 2/17/2010, 6:59 AM
I want to see Batman whoop Supes on the big screen.
GUNSMITH - 2/17/2010, 7:13 AM
I DIDNT KNOW THEY DID AN ADAPTION! YOU KNOW ZACK SNYDER WANTS TO DO A LIVE ACTION ADAPTION BUT WITH THE SUCCESS OF NOLAN'S BATMAN, IT PROLLY WONT GET MADE TILL NOLAN'S THING DIES DOWN...BUT I HAVE A SUGGESTION, CGI MOVIE? THAT WOULD FLY..
GUNSMITH - 2/17/2010, 7:20 AM
TEABAG, HE HAD SOME SMART STUFF HAPPEN THOUGH AN...YEAH HE GOT HIS ASS KICKED. I THOUGHT HIM AND OWLMAN WERE SUPPOSED TO BE PRETTY MUCH CLOSE TO FIGHTING ABILITY..LOL OWLMAN....REMINDS ME OF....

LEEE777 - 2/17/2010, 7:27 AM
GUN @ NIGHT OWLS based on BATMAN????

Now go to FAN FIC and look at my BATMAN casting, or i'll come an kick the sh1t outta ya!!! : D

TEA @ Lol, don't get frisky! ; P

Lucky @ Cheers dude!! ; )
GUNSMITH - 2/17/2010, 7:36 AM
EXACTLLY TEABAG EXACTLLY, WHO WAS THAT?? ONE OF THE BALDWIN BROTHERS? SUPERMAN'S WAS A BIT OFF TOO, THEY SHOULD HAVE USED SOMEONE ELSE.....LEEE I'LL CHECK IT, YOU DONT HAVE TO HURT PEOPLE, WOOOOSAH WOOOSAHH
comicb00kguy - 2/17/2010, 7:37 AM
Now THIS is something to get excited about! NOT because of the "dark" thing (I don't necessarily MIND "dark", especially with more serious characters like Batman, but it's extremely overblown in all comics media today, imo), but because with quality people like Bruce Timm and Judd Winick involved, this holds real promise to be something special. I still regard Mask of the Phantasm as the best Batman movie ever, and to see that bar of excellence challenged is something I'd like to see tried. Minor nitpick: wish they could have gotten Kevin Conroy. Best Batman voice ever!
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