After the success of last year's Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, which still stands as one of the most popular DC Universe Animated Original Movies ever made, it was inevitable that producers would eventually create a follow-up. Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, the first sequel to ever be made from the DC Universe Animated Original Movies, is based on the popular comic book story "Superman/Batman: Supergirl" written by Jeph Loeb and late comic book artist Michael Turner, which itself was actually the sequel to the graphic novel that Superman/Batman: Public Enemies was based on written by Loeb and artist Ed McGuiness. The movie, which will be available on DVD and Blu-ray beginning September 28th, follows the origin story of the DC Universe's current Supergirl, Kara Zor-El, and our heroes as they battle against the evil ruler Darkseid.
Last week we had the pleasure of being among the first to see the film at its premiere in Los Angeles at The Paley Center for Media. On hand to celebrate the release of the movie were producer Bruce W. Timm (Batman: The Animated Series), director Lauren Montgomery (Wonder Woman) and Casting director Andrea Romano (Justice League Unlimited) as well as the actors who portray Superman and Wonder Woman in the film, Tim Daly (Superman: The Animated Series) and Susan Eisenberg (Justice League) respectively.
Daly reprises his role from the Superman: The Animated Series series and Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, as does his co-star Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League) who has been the voice of Batman in animation for over twenty years. In fact, Eisenberg (Wonder Woman) and TV legend Edward Asner (Granny Goodness) also reprise their roles from Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Joining the cast are Andre Braugher (Salt) as Darkseid and Summer Glau (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) as Supergirl. After the screening, which was met to great applause from the theater full of fans, the cast and crew spoke about the exciting new movie.
Casting director Andrea Romano discussed hiring the two new actors in the film, Braugher and Glau. "Andre Braugher had been on my eternal list of actors that I wanted to work with for a very long time. We found that this piece was particularly right for him," she said. "Summer Glau is one of the last actors that we have not hired yet from Firefly," Romano joked. "I think there is one or two left that we will eventually get to."
Director Lauren Montgomery discussed why the title of the movie is different from that of the source material it is adapted from. "Most people know that the title of the book was "Superman/Batman: Supergirl," which you would assume that the movie would be named that. But since our wonderful Wonder Woman DVD didn't sell so well they decided that girl movies don't sell so well so we need to trick everyone into buying it by calling it Superman/Batman: Apocalypse," Montgomery joked. "We had to fight just to get her on the cover, which they put her skanky version so those boys would buy it."
Daly, who is a successful actor in his own right and stars on the ABC series Private Practice, talked about the responsibility that comes with being associated with The Man Of Steel. "I've actually had to take myself aside and have a conversation about it. I've admitted that when I first stumbled into the role of Superman I didn't realize what a responsibility it is. I thought it was just a kids cartoon and it didn't really occur to me how important it is to people and the tradition that I was upholding," said Daly.
"About a week ago I was on the lot where they shoot my show Private Practice and they also shoot The Closer there and this guy who is a regular on that show came up to me and did fifteen minutes of detailed descriptions of episodes of Superman: The Animated Series and stuff that I don't even remember. He was clearly so committed to the Superman ethos that I have a great respect for him. I have learned how much respect I need to have not just for my fans but everyone that appreciates it." Daly also commented on something that he noticed about his character for the first time while watching the film. "Did anyone see what's going on with him in this one? He has two curls in his hair. His moose has let up."
DC Universe Animated Original Movies releases three films a year and they recently announced their lineup for 2011 which includes, All-Star Superman based on the popular comic by Grant Morrison, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights an original piece and Batman: Year One, which is an adaptation of Frank Miller's famous graphic novel.
Producer Bruce W. Timm talked about the new slate of films one by one beginning with All-Star Superman. "It's my favorite Superman comic ever," said Timm. "I'm a huge Grant Morrison fan. I love what they did with the character. They brought an amazing freshness to the character. He really honored some of the silver age wackiness of Superman but they played it straight but with a little bit of a modern twist. It's a great combination of old and new. It's really iconic and feels to me like the definitive Superman movie to me when I watch it. It's like a 100% Superman and its awesome. I think it's one of the best movies we've ever made. It's done. It's in the can and its just waiting."
Timm continued by explaining exactly just what Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is going to be. "It's similar to Batman: Gotham Knight DVD which we did a few years ago in the sense that it is an anthology movie," he said. "Its five or six different stories but each one of them focuses on a different member of the Green Lantern Corps. and there is an overall story that ties them together. It's Abin Sur, Sinestro, Kilowog in the days when he was getting Green Lantern training and others."
Timm finished talking about the upcoming films by discussing the fan-favorite Batman: Year One. "Again, it's one of my favorite Batman comics of all-time. I've loved that book for twenty odd years. It's really, really faithful. The thing about Batman: Year One as a whole is really a deconstructive Batman. It's stripping away all the gadgets and the larger than life stuff,"
Timm continued. "It's a very street level Batman story. Even the art style reflects that. Batman doesn't have a zillion muscles. When he leaps in the air he only gets like a foot off the ground he doesn't go twenty feet in the air like an anime ninja. So it is strictly realistic and the art style reflects that. Its based on David Mazzucchelli's art style and its boarded like live action. Its not finished yet so I can't say if its awesome but I have every expectation it will be. Everyone from the comic is in there. We didn't have to take anything out in fact we were a little short." Finally, both Timm and Montgomery mentioned which of their dream projects they would most like to see eventually get produced. Timm answered "The Blackhawks" while Montgomery said, "Batgirl: Year One" or "Aquaman".