Bruce Timm Explains Why It Took So Long To Make BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE Animated Movie

Bruce Timm Explains Why It Took So Long To Make BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE Animated Movie

It's been a long time coming, but fans are finally getting the animated adaptation of Batman: The Killing Joke they've always wanted; but why did it take so long to get the green light?

An adaptation Of Alan Moore's 'The Killing Joke' has been a long time coming; as one of the most (if not THE most) famous Batman-Joker stories ever written, fans have been clamouring for an animated take on the material for years. Their wishes will finally come true next month with the release of Batman: The Killing Joke, an R-Rated adaptation of the story, featuring Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprising their roles from Batman: The Animated Series. It couldn't get more perfect than this...but why did it take so long to make it happen? Producer Bruce Timm was asked in an interview with Empire, and it seems like the tone of the material is to blame for the wait. "This is actually the third time that The Killing Joke came up for production. The first time, it was because we had told the home video department that chances are if we do this story, it's going to get an R rating. This was years ago, but they said, 'We're okay with that, but we're going to kind of hedge our bets monetarily.' The idea was because the source material was not really long enough to do a full movie, we were going to do a shorter movie at a lower price point, so that would hopefully offset the loss of sales that we would have by the fact that it wouldn't be an all age title. But right around the time we were ramping up, the Watchmen movie was released and underperformed. Everybody kind of took a step back and said, ‘Well, maybe the time's not right for an R-rated superhero movie, so put it on the shelf.’ A couple of years later, it came up again and we even had started production with character designs and stuff. But then that horrible shooting at the Dark Knight Rises theater happened and everybody got nervous again about it, because of gun violence, so we put it back on the shelf."

Hamill said he was anticipating how fans will react, given that he has such a love of the source material. "I can't imagine how people are going to react to this, because I'm a Killing Joke purist. When they first talked about it, I said, 'The only way we can do this is as a book on tape so that we honor every comma, every word, every letter, every syllable of Alan Moore's script. We can add music and special effects to enhance it.' They kind of said, 'What are you talking about? Nobody is doing this as a book on tape. It's not commercially viable for us to do it that way. See if you can get the rights and record it in your basement or something if that's what you want to do. This story has to be expanded.' If we just adapted 'The Killing Joke' as an animated film, it would maybe be fifty-five minutes. They've actually done a really incredible job of supplementing it with Barbara Gordon/Batgirl material."

Conroy maintains that despite the dark tone that looms over the original story, it's Batman's humanity and psychological journey that are the shining lights of the film. "Despite everything that goes on, the humanity of Batman comes through so much more in this script than many of the others. The struggle of Batman with evil and with wanting to reconcile himself to evil, to subdue evil and actually save the Joker. That's the wonderful thing about this script... actually all the Batman scripts are so psychologically complicated. For an actor, there's a lot of material to sink your teeth into. Batman is such a complicated guy that there's always another realm to go to with him. He's not just the square-jawed action hero, like Superman. You know, 'Here I am to save the day.' He's this complicated, dark, broody guy and so much fun to play. He's very much locked into a pattern. He's almost the victim of his own success, and he does what he does so well. He's accommodated the tragedies of his childhood by adjusting in such a complete way that I think he feels trapped in there. He doesn't see a way out, which is why no one can really get close to him."

Batman: The Killing Joke will be available digitally July 26th, and on disc August 2nd. Are you excited that we're finally getting an adaptation of this classic story? Sound off below!
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