Exclusive: The Making of "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies"

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is the new direct-to-DVD animated film from Warner Premier, that has President of the United States Lex Luthor declaring that Superman and, by association, Batman, are enemies of the country and must be brought to justice by any means necessary. Voices From Krypton interviews Jeph Loeb, Tim Daly, Clancy Brown, Stan Berkowitz, Gregory Noveck and more.

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By EdGross - 6/27/2009



Meteor Based on the storyline from the Superman/Batman comic book, the film poses that a large chunk of the planet Krypton is on a direct-heading for earth, which seems to be all of the ammunition that Luthor needs to bring the Man of Steel down once and for all.




 


“To a large degree, this is Luthor’s story,” offers writer Stan Berkowitz, who adapted the comic. “When you first meet him, it seems that he’s been reformed and is making a real difference in America. It’s just this meteor that screws everything up, and Luthor’s hubris to not want to work with Superman. That’s his fatal flaw in this story. He’s the science nerd who won’t accept the help of the star athlete and he just goes crazy.”




LexSupe2 

Jeph Loeb, who had been writing the Superman comic before launching Superman/Batman, explains that his goal with “Public Enemies” was to deal with the fact that he had made Luthor president. “It was time for Luthor to go,” he says matter of factly. “So that was the big story. At the time, the whole idea was to act as a metaphor for a country insisting there were weapons of mass destruction in another country and then invading that country. Which we all know would be fiction. This was another fictional account of what would happen if the President of the United States decided that something was an imminent threat and would then make sure that people, who were actually innocent, would be hunted down and put into some kind of prison situation. It was a great way to kick off the series, which was to have Luthor offer a billion dollar ransom for the capture of Superman, which meant every villain in the world would come out after him and that anyone who helped him would be convicted as well, which put Batman on the outside — which is where he wanted to be anyway.”


 



Lex3

The challenge of adaptation, says Berkowitz, was to make it believable that the public would turn against Superman. This was accomplished when it seems that Superman has killed one of his enemies, Metallo, and Luthor makes the claim that the closer this Kryptonite meteor gets to earth, the more impact its radiation will have on Superman, causing him to act irrationally. The general public then becomes paranoid about Superman, making it all the more believable.”



 Initially President Luthor offers a bounty for Superman’s capture, resulting in numerous villains going out after him. Then he turns to America’s superheroes and, issuing an executive order, has them (including Hawkman and Captain Marvel) try to bring Superman and Batman in, resulting in an incredible super powered smack down that spans a decent part of the film’s running time.




HawkBat

“These are violent, powerful, big-fisted, big-muscled fights,” offers supervising producer Michael Goguen. “We had a real strong storyboard crew that just went for it on these big fight scenes. I also think what was really interesting about this film was for us to see Superman, the iconic character, really put at a disadvantage and Heroes2 forced down into Batman’s world, which is fascinating. These characters both have to adapt to things that are not their normal element. It’s definitely a Superman plot in many ways, but a lot of it takes place in Batman’s world with them heading underground and sneaking around. I think in the end, as they work through this together, it says something about these two characters as icons and friends and about why they have this deep connection. In many ways, it’s a powerful story about friendship and loyalty.”



SupeBat1

Executive Producer Gregory Noveck notes that their desire was to “play the contrast between the two characters. In a lot of ways, I think it’s  a more mature approach in that we’re going in with the attitude that our audience, at the very least, has a strong idea of who Batman and Superman are as icons and characters, and if we can play to that and kind of go from there, it gives us room to maneuver and handle the character interactions not only with each other, but with the other characters in the DC universe.”


CAST REUNION


IMG_5838 For longtime fans of the animated TV adventures of Batman and Superman, Public Enemies reunites the voice talents of Kevin Conroy (who began voicing Batman back in the early 1990s on Batman: The Animated Series), Tim Daly (currently starring in Private Practice, but also the voice of the Man of Steel on Superman: The Animated Series in the ‘90s), and character actor Clancy Brown (Lex Luthor on both the Superman and Justice League animated series).


   “Stepping back into the role of Batman fit like a comfortable glove,” says Conroy. “It was great seeing Tim Daly and Clancy Brown. It’s such a great team and it’s really fun to get back together. It doesn’t happen very often where you get so many people that mesh so well together.




Bat1

“What’s different about playing Batman in this,” he adds, “is that what usually makes the character interesting is that he’s a lone hero. He’s very much an isolated character and audiences really relate to that. That’s part of the appeal. In this, he’s teaming up with Superman and they’re helping each other, which is not something the character did a lot of in previous series. So it was unique in that I was working with Superman and, I might add, saving Superman.”



Voicing the last son of Krypton brought with it a fair number of surprises to Daly. “Mostly,” he smiles, “I realized how much I missed voicing Superman. I thought that this particular script was really good  and, for those of us who are interested and aware of certain things in our world and our country, I think that it presents a very kind of subtle social commentary. I think that makes it cool and relatively bold for something that’s an animated Superman film.



 


“Doing animation,” he continues, “is always interesting, because you don’t have to all be in the room together. It can be done separately. But it’s always better when you’re in the room, because at that point you are responding to another actor or, in this case, actors. That makes it more real and elevates everyone’s game. Kevin is such a good Batman and, unlike Superman, Batman is pretty cynical. He’s a darker character. When you have those two flavors playing off each other, in real time, there’s a lot more sizzle to it. You’re not in a vacuum. So being in the studio together is definitely helpful. And then there’s Clancy, who has such a beautiful, resonant voice. That, alone, is fantastic, but he’s also a really good actor. Villains are a tremendous amount of fun, because you can really take those characters out there. And Clancy takes Lex wherever he needs to go perfectly — he really has a lot of scenes in this film.”



 


Brown, who has made a career of playing fascinating darker roles, explains that he actually found that he has improved as an actor, and therefore Luthor as a character had evolved since the last time he played him. “He’s a much better, clearer, more subtle character as time passes and I love voicing him,” he enthuses. “Just when I think it’s impossible for him to grow or get better, the writers take him an order of magnitude further. It was a blast.



 


“Lex is subtler, smoother, more politically polished,” Brown continues. “If I had to boil it down, he seems to be a better student of human nature and more willing and equipped to manipulate that knowledge to his ends. He thinks more long term and intricately, which makes him scarier. Look, the ‘bad guy’ never thinks he’s bad. So, personally, I never perceive him simplistically. The context is what makes him subject to that judgment. The fact Lex is President may have been anathema to fans 50 years ago or maybe even 10 year ago, but it’s conceivable now because of what we’ve all experienced collectively. Lex for President makes complete sense. Torture was and still is rationalized. So what’s outrageous about President Lex?”



 


POPCORN ENTERTAINMENT



8 The original Superman/Batman comic was designed to be the equivalent of a summer movie blockbuster, and that certainly seems to be the case with Public Enemies, which combines drama, characterization and spectacle to new heights, as audiences will witness with its September release on DVD.




“This is really focused on that main struggle of Superman with Batman to overcome this frame-up that Luthor has done on Superman,” says Goguen. “They’re focused on trying to stop this Kryptonite meteor from hitting earth, in the context of having to clear Superman’s name and being forced to move underground while all the villains and even the heroes are coming after them. That basic story is what we’ve stuck to, making it more of a straight-forward action thriller.”




Villians1

States,  Berkowitz, “It’s Superman, it’s Batman, it’s a zillion villains, it’s a meteor crashing towards earth — all of the elements are there, and on top of that you’ve got superhero fights!”


 



“I think the appeal is that you’ve got the two greats icons in comic book history teamed up together for a single adventure,” sums up Noveck. “That’s what everyone wants to see: you want to see Superman and Batman together, arguing and teaming up. It’s Yin and Yang, with plenty of action for both sides and a lot of unexpected twists for the audience. I just think it’s a really fun ride. And this one, more than anything, we wanted to be a fun and great ride.”


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48 Comments
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KEROSENE - 6/27/2009, 12:26 AM
this looks really f-ing good. cant wait for it.
Phinehas - 6/27/2009, 1:15 AM
Is this in the same continuity as the animated series featuring these actors? Whether or not it is, this looks like some solid writing. Hopefully the filmmakers would take note and follow suit for some live action high quality big budget production.
TDKR11 - 6/27/2009, 2:03 AM
holly sh!t!!!! Power Girl, Starfire, Black Lightning, and Katana makes appearnces Hell yea!!!! I hope Dick,Connor, and Tim makes appearnces too. can't wait fot this movie.
superdog - 6/27/2009, 8:41 AM
I can't wait for this either. The only thing that concerns me is all the social commentary crap. Seriously, lex luthor as a George bush parallel. Locking innocent people up. Please bush is no longer president move on people. No social commentray from my super hero movies please. What's next green lantern fighting for universal health care?
RorMachine - 6/27/2009, 8:43 AM
Great article Ed, I cant wait for this. Clancy Brown rules all! I would love to see him play a part in a live action CBM. He might be a bit long in the tooth now but there are lots of roles he could still play.
gandalf550 - 6/27/2009, 8:47 AM
Looking great! One of my favorite story lines. Looking forward to the animated movie.
superdog - 6/27/2009, 8:58 AM
I agree justice league was great. This will have that feel with all the many characters. Awesome that they got all the original voice people etc...should be the best one yet
longbowhunter - 6/27/2009, 9:11 AM
Wow this is gonna be good.
LEEE777 - 6/27/2009, 9:28 AM
Another excellent animated movie from DC!!!

MARVEL! Tut tut. : D
InstigatorGIRL - 6/27/2009, 9:54 AM
I am really excited for this movie mostly because DC animated movies have been really good recently.
ThisFan - 6/27/2009, 10:35 AM
kookevin3 @ stop saying first
valeriesghost - 6/27/2009, 10:36 AM
if DC could only could translate they're great animation division into a great CBM. i think the world is just dying to see Supes beat the living shit outta something for once in live action.
Kyos - 6/27/2009, 10:56 AM
This will be fun! The voice actors alone make this worth watching...
Supermike - 6/27/2009, 11:07 AM
This only prove what us smart comic book fans have been saying for years nothing beat animated movie This could not be done is those stuipd live action movie where every time you go to one you feel like a 10 year old again
InstigatorGIRL - 6/27/2009, 11:14 AM
@Supermike:
Photobucket


@Everyone else this is how Superman/Batman should end...
Photobucket
AshleyWilliams - 6/27/2009, 11:23 AM
looks so freakin awesome!!!!
SuperGodfall - 6/27/2009, 12:36 PM
anyone know if this will touch on the new supergirl origin
RorMachine - 6/27/2009, 12:39 PM
Teabag, thats some funny shit! But i should point out, that last pic is sort of silly because Batman has beaten Supes in the comics..3 times!
valeriesghost - 6/27/2009, 1:05 PM
Ror, your right, and i know that you have to suspend disbelief when reading, but give me a [frick]ing break, no human being could beat supes, not without magic and or Kryptonite. its a flaw in the CB universe. AND something i've never understood was why supes didn't just shoot a [frick]er with his motha [frick]in laserbeam eyeballs from a distance when he saw someone with a stick of krypto. and even if someone pulled one out of their ass and surprised him, that is were the "faster then a speeding bullet" shit would kick in. run away.
shibazz - 6/27/2009, 1:47 PM
@Valerie- you just said it, not without Kryptonite or , magic, or well place comrades, or by just plain being smarter, or a number of thigs. The point is Batman has handed SpuprPoops his Azz on more than one occasion. Ya see that is precisely why BatMan has won, because in the end a beating is still a beating!
superdog - 6/27/2009, 2:10 PM
thats true shibazz....but is a comicbook. in real life there is no way. but they have to get people to believe that superman could loose. otherwise no one would ever watch him fight. i think thats why he gets his azz kicked so much, to keep him somewhat down to earth. or he really is just a puzzy...who knows.
SHHH - 6/27/2009, 2:31 PM
september is too damn far away
Aiiwolf - 6/27/2009, 3:02 PM
"a piece of krpton is headed towards earth?".....uhhh...shit by the time it gets here we should all be dead lol
TDKR11 - 6/27/2009, 3:13 PM
Superman is The Man of Steel
and
Batman is The Man with a Plan
SHHH - 6/27/2009, 3:20 PM
follow this recipe for the live action movie But that will never happen
YohonKalic - 6/27/2009, 7:37 PM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This look like its some fan made flash animated vid on you tube, I can only hope the story is better then the animation.


also why the [frick] do I keep getting logged out.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Supermike - 6/27/2009, 7:46 PM
I heard that JLU movie they been talking about was approve
HINKLEY - 6/27/2009, 8:06 PM
Is it just me or does the animation just look down right AWFUL!?!?! Im sorry to be the party pooper, but this looks NOTHING like Ed McGuiness' work. He became one of my favorite artists after his brilliant work on Public Enemies. This is like some noob in paint tried to mimic his art. Its not even close!

I was super stoked when i heard this was being made... now im less excited. The story was entertaining up until the lame ending. :spoiler: A giant batman/superman mech flying into space to crash into the meteorite... ya... totally random and SUPER lame. :spoiler end: So if the story is just as stupid and the art isnt even as good... whats the point really?
HINKLEY - 6/27/2009, 8:13 PM
Also, i wanted to note that they were pretty faithful to Darwyn Cooke's style for NEW FRONTIER. Why does Ed get douched?

This art looks more like New Frontier than Public Enemy. Its like the art from N.F. mixed with the art from The BATMAN. This is not Ed's style. You do NOT mess with a mans art style!!! If Darwyne Cooke and Bruce Timm can have theyre distinct styles adapted for 'film', why the lack luster animation for this flick?

IDK... perhaps im too nit picky. Ive just wanted to see Ed do a cartoon for a while. I was hoping some day he would do a Justice League show or a Worlds Finest show. Oh well.
shibazz - 6/28/2009, 10:31 AM
I love this ARtWorK cuz it soooo reminds me of TDKR by F.Miller!!!!!

OH and i am re-reading the whole darned Civil War series ... yo yo yo gals and guys .... we need to start a petition to send to marvel to get them to make a animated series on the level of Avatar the last airbender and make it a 5 year run with no less than 20 episodes per season and please no chioldren avengers although i thought that was cool. Make it actually end too and make it kick ass ! i am sooo serious about this . Or the Infinity Gauntlet would be a good series too!
shibazz - 6/28/2009, 10:54 AM
it would be soooo fun if we all got to perform a song and sing from diferrent places of the world and unite our voices in honor of Beer! what???? it sunday.... heres my submission.
answer - 6/28/2009, 12:57 PM
I'm off for some beer right now!
Thanks for the inspiration!! ;)
deadshot77 - 6/28/2009, 1:51 PM
Question to those who have read the entire series
of Public Enemies:

Did Deadshot have the awful 2nd costume in that series or did the producers add lib that in?

Eaglemoss used that version of his costume for the cover of their DC SUPER HERO Collection magazine with the lead figurine as well. Why?
Thankfully the figurine was the correct version.

Could someone at DC or an artist please change Deadshot's wiki page so creators don't use a temporary once used costume to represent Deadshot's current costume(& modern age costume) in all media now?

It's really annoying as a hardcore Deadshot fan to keep seeing that costume used everywhere now. It's not current & it's NOT Deadshot's costume. Thank you.
icebergslick - 6/28/2009, 2:45 PM
Glad to have Kevin Conroy, Clancy Brown, and Tim Daly back together again. George Newbern did a great job as Supes as well, but I like Tim better.
shibazz - 6/28/2009, 6:00 PM
Cheers to you TheAnswer! Lets raise one for the rest of'em!!!

I like to learn new cheers from different laguages so here is one of my Fav's its Japanese....KOMPEI!
Shaman - 6/29/2009, 6:29 AM
HINKLEY- Yes you are too nit-picky cause that's the best damn animation DC has EVER given us. So it's not the SAME art as McGuinnes but it still resembles it. When have you ever seen their usual block ass animation in the comics.. AND ENJOYED IT?!?!?! Never. So finally they decide to make something decently animated and you bitch and moan. Beautiful... let's all shit on progress, shall we???
divo - 6/29/2009, 10:38 AM
Im just excited to see CATMAN!!!!!....meow..
Shaman - 6/29/2009, 10:49 AM
All i's got to say is... Captain Atom!!!!
answer - 6/29/2009, 2:17 PM
Shibazz (Beer in hand, Raised) "To the Rest!!!!!!"
BaronBubba - 6/29/2009, 2:21 PM
I have seen the film and I have omething to share with you all... This movie is derived from classic Bats/Supes adventures...

::Spoilers::


The real reason they are considered threats? They join some under-aged boys in "skinny dipping".



Basis for the final battle scene... The heroes will "shoot a load" of baddies.

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