BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN Interview: David Dastmalchian Teases Calendar Man And Shares His Dream DC Role

BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN Interview: David Dastmalchian Teases Calendar Man And Shares His Dream DC Role

Talking to us about his role as Calendar Man in Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One, David Dastmalchian teases plans for The Penguin in Part Two and shares his dream role in the DC Animated Universe...

Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One arrives on Digital & Blu-ray on June 22 from Warner Bros. Animation, DC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Inspired by the classic story from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, the movie begins as a brutal murder on Halloween prompts Gotham City's young vigilante, the Batman, to form a pact with the city's only two uncorrupt lawmen (Police Captain James Gordan and District Attorney Harvey Dent) in order to take down The Roman.

However, when more deaths occur on Thanksgiving and Christmas, it becomes clear that instead of ordinary gang violence orchestrated by the head of the notorious Falcone Crime Family, they're also dealing with a serial killer - the identity of whom, with each conflicting clue, grows harder to discern.

We were recently fortunate enough to spend a few minutes chatting to David Dastmalchian about his role as the manipulative and sinister Calendar Man. While that's the only villain he voices in Part One, The Suicide Squad  and Ant-Man and The Wasp star pulls double duty in Part Two (which is released next month) as both Julian Day and classic Batman baddie, The Penguin. 

David talks to us about that and more in this interview, even revealing which classic DC Comics villain he next hopes to bring to life in a future project set in the ever-expanding DC Animated Universe. 
 

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You had a taste of the DC Universe with The Dark Knight and Gotham, but what did it mean to you when the opportunity presented itself to step into Batman’s world as a big bad like Calendar Man for this movie? 

It was a massive moment when I received the call from Wes Gleason inviting me to be a part of The Long Halloween for so many reasons. I’ve been collecting comic books my whole life and The Long Halloween is absolutely hands down one of my favourite stories. I also had this long desire to be an actor that gets the opportunity to do voice work because I believe that is a form of acting that is very special and I wanted to explore it for many years. I had just never booked any of the voice acting jobs I’d auditioned for in the past, so when this came out of the blue and fell into my lap and I was given Julian [Day], I was over the moon. It’s a very big deal for me and I think the DC Animated Universe is a very, very, very special thing. Those of us who are fans of these films and the comic book properties from which they were inspired know how well they’ve all been made in recent years and to get to be a part of it is a great honour. 

Something I loved about your take on Calendar Man is that he has that Hannibal Lecter vibe and is one step ahead of Batman in their conversation. As an actor, is it fun for you to bring that into your performance and play a character who knows he’s that little bit smarter than the Dark Knight in that moment?

I loved it. It was so much fun. The first day we recorded, you’ve got Chris [Palmer], Tim [Sheridan], Butch [Lukic], and Wes [Gleason] there helping me with the character voice on the other side of the glass. I’m standing in this booth which is eerily similar to standing in the cell that Julian is imprisoned within. It was very easy for me to step into that world and stand there looking at these people on the other side of the glass and deliver these really beautifully crafted lines. Julian is powerless because he’s locked away in a prison cell probably for the rest of his life, so the opportunity to feel a sense of power and manipulation and to toy with the Caped Crusader was something to be revelled in. I thoroughly enjoyed slithering through the voice and discovering it line by line as we went along. 

I’ve not seen Part Two yet, but know you’re lending your voice to The Penguin there so given his iconic status as a Batman villain, what excites you most about getting to put your spin on Oswald?

[Laughs] I mean, I have to pinch myself to be quite honest. I’ve been able to portray several characters who were in legion with The Joker in live-action both in film and television. I’ve been able to portray Abra Kadabra, who I adore in the comic books, and I’ve then played Calendar Man in this incredible film. And then, the opportunity to hop in and explore Oswald who is such a phenomenal classic character...my mind is just blown. I can’t believe I’m getting the opportunity to bring these characters to life, and I just hope the fans enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed creating the voice for these characters. It’s such a treat for me. You have to remember, I’m the guy who, since nine years old, has been nose deep in the world of comics and the magnificent that DC Comics has created. I’ve always believed, and I’ve always said this, in my humble opinion DC has the best villains and I’ve always been the biggest fan of them. Getting the opportunity to portray some of these characters is just a dream come true. 

You’re having an incredible year, and by the end of the summer, you’ll have played Calendar Man, Penguin, and Polka-Dot Man. Which would you say was the most challenging or enjoyable to bring to life on screen?

[Laughs] Oh, it's impossible to pick. If you look in my office or if you'd have looked in my room many years ago, and now I'm a 'grown-up' quote, unquote, it's an office, but I've now sorted the thousands of comic books I've collected. I can go from Justice League to Detective Comics over to my love of Marvel and Dark Horse and Image and Boom and you name it! To me, there's so much magnificent work and so many characters brilliant people have imagined over time, for me, it's hard to quantify exactly which character I like most. Each of them is unique and they're like your children or something when you get to bring them to life. I'll say too, what a challenge thinking about Tim Sheridan in adapting one of the greatest comic book achievements of all time. You think about what Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale did and it's inspired so many comics. It's gone on to be canon and the dialogue and scripting is done so well. It's so beautiful and a really gorgeous script, so it was a lot of fun to sink my teeth into.

I believe this was the first of these DC Animated Universe movies that you’ve done, but after having a taste of this world, do you have any characters on a wishlist you’d like to come back and take a crack at in one of these movies?

Absolutely! There are dozens and dozens. I’d be wary just to name one. I think it would be fantastic and phenomenal and a dream come true for me to bring, oh my gosh, so many different characters to life. I’ve got to say, Solomon Grundy has always has been a personal favourite of mine and Fred does a fantastic job with him in this, but I hope one day to take a stab at Solomon as well. 

Also Read: Writer Tim Sheridan On Adapting The Story, Favorite Villains, & More
 

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