Kevin Conroy has a distinct voice. For fans of “Batman: The Animated Series,” Conroy’s voice will forever be the one associated with the Dark Knight. From films to video games Kevin has been working on Batman projects since 1992. Conroy, a student of the famous Juilliard School, was in the same class as Robin Williams and learned from the best teachers imaginable. Conroy has a love for theater and appreciated the lessons he learned on the stage and uses those lessons in his voice acting roles.

I had the great pleasure to chat with Kevin about how he found the voice of Batman, Comic-Cons, video games and working with Mark Hamill. I even learned a thing or two about Batman from Kevin.

Art Eddy: I have to say ever since I watched “Batman: The Animated Series” you will forever be the voice of Batman. Take me back to when you got the role on that show back in 1992 and how you found the voice for not only Batman, but Bruce Wayne as well?

Kevin Conroy: It was one of those very, very lucky moments that just happened. I started working in New York since I was 17 and went to Juilliard and did a lot of theater and did a lot of television after that. I have been supporting myself working as an actor for a long time. I found myself in L.A. doing a TV series.

I had a voice over agent. I had been doing commercial voice overs. He said that they were doing a new show over at Warner Brothers. They were looking for animation voices. I had no background in animation. I didn’t even know that much about the Batman legend. I met Bruce Timm, Andrea Romano, and Paul Dini.

I told them that the only thing that I knew about Batman is from the ’70s TV show with Adam West. They said no, no, no. That is not what we are doing. (Laughs) They were very heavy in the whole Dark Knight ethos. They told me the story of the Bob Kane legend.

It became to have this dark, noir feel to it. They said think of that and I said let me just use my imagination and let me get that into that kind of head. I went in a totally different direction than what I was going in there with. I was almost expecting a Dudley Do-Right voice like very cartoony. I ended up getting into this mysterious, kind of husky, and what I considered a dark sound. I saw them get really excited in the booth. They said that they loved the instinct and the direction that I was going in.

They reacted strongly so I knew it was really right on or I was way off. That was just a lucky hand and glove kind of thing. All my theater training and the background I had made me right for interpreting that character at that moment.

AE: To me I think you and Mark Hamill, who is the voice of The Joker, have the best chemistry with the banter you guys have as Batman and The Joker not only during that series, but in the “Arkham Asylum” and “Arkham City” video games. How is it to work with him?

KC: We work so well together. There again that was just the luck of casting. He is basically a theater actor and so am I. Theater actors a bit different. They like to play the game. Acting is like throwing a ball back and forth. You have to be generous. You have to throw the scene to the other guy and wait for him to throw it back to you. It is all reaction and reaction and like a child being really able to go with the flow. To be silly sometimes and to not necessarily do what you were planning on doing and let yourself be surprised.

Mark has all of that in spades. He has great imagination. He has great vocal range and he has the imagination of a child. So when you throw him the ball he just runs with it. We both that that instinct in us. So we get into the booth together and we go crazy. We have a lot of fun.

AE: Another video game that is due out soon is “Injustice: Gods Among Us” where you do the voice for Batman. Can you tell me a little bit about the game and what is the difference between voice acting for a video game as opposed to an animated series?

KC: You have no idea what you just asked. It is so different. It is like another planet. Acting in the episodes is like doing a play. There are six or eight of you in a booth together and you are interacting and feeding each other energy. Like I said before it is like playing ball. There is a give and take. There is just a lot of energy.

When you do a game you are alone in a booth for four hours at a time. You get an hour for lunch and then another four hour session and that’s a day. That happens the next day and the next day and the day after that. A month later you go back and do another couple of sessions. I have done where it can go on for eight months where every month you are going in for a few days.

The experience is completely different than doing a show because you are alone. You got to be your own source of energy. You have to keep your character alive. Keep him real. Keep to Batman, but I don’t have anyone to reference it to. They want four different readings for each line. Then they will want four or five takes of each reading. It is a different kind of talent. When you see the results like with “Arkham Asylum” it is just incredible. You think wow, it was really worth it.

AE: I heard there were rumors of DC using the “Flashpoint” storyline to make an animated film. Would you be playing the role of Batman?

KC: I can’t talk about upcoming stuff. I’m sorry. They are giving me a really hard time because about a year ago I let it slip about something I was doing. I thought it was the reason that they sent me to Comic-Cons was to promote the product. I said why did you send me if you didn’t want me to talk about the product.

They said don’t say anything until we tell you to say it. We weren’t ready for that release. I said I am giving you free publicity is that why am I there? They say you are there to be Batman to get the audience happy. So all I can tell you is that there are two big things that I am working on that are coming out.

AE: I can’t wait for those. Earlier you said you did not know that much about Batman before you took up the role on the animated series, do you read any Batman comics now?

KC: Oh yea! I have been doing it for 22 years. I have immersed myself in it. Did you know that Bob Kane lived in the Bronx when he wrote Batman? He came up with the idea in Poe Park. He and the other creator of the Batman series were tossing ideas and that is where they came up with the idea.

AE: You went to Juilliard. What were some of the major things you will always remember learning in the years you were there? Did they have any courses on voice acting when you attended school there?

KC: No. I shouldn’t say that now because I was there a long time ago so I don’t know what they do now. Back then it was a really traditional European style acting program. There was dance classes, voice classes, acting classes, fencing and a French mask class. Robin Williams was in my class with me. Robin was a genius at doing mask work. He would create these characters that were just unbelievable. Everyone was very competitive. Then you see Robin and you would think I just give up. It was just an amazing place to be.

AE: You make many appearances at different Comic-Cons around the country. How much fun do you have at the conventions and do have a favorite all time story you would care to share?

KC: I have a blast at those panels. I really do. The amazing thing is some of the stuff that you are asked to sign. Like body parts if you know what I mean. The great thing about Comic-Con is that it a real cross section of the whole culture. It’s the wackos and then it’s the hard core super fans and the serious, serious egghead fans. You get everyone in there. You get intellectuals and you get whack jobs. It is so interesting, especially the big ones like San Diego and New York. It is fascinating. You get a real cross section of the culture. It is really interesting.

To listen to the entire interview and hear Kevin indulge me with saying a few lines as Batman click here.

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