Comic Books & Graphic NovelsInterviews

BATMAN: YEAR ONE Spotlight on Executive Producer Bruce Timm

BATMAN: YEAR ONE, the highly-anticipated animated adaptation of Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s classic 1987 story, made its exclusive world premiere in San Diego at Comic-Con International on July 22, 2011. The film features the voice talents of Ben McKenzie as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Bryan Cranston as James Gordon, Katee Sackhoff as Sarah Essen and Eliza Dushku as Selina Kyle/Catwoman. McKenzie and Sackhoff, along with Executive Producer Bruce Timm and Co-Directors Sam Liu and Lauren Montgomery appeared previous to the Comic-Con premiere to discuss their participation in bringing this animated feature to life.

Producer Bruce Timm admitted that he’d wanted to make this feature because he had always been a fan of Batman, stemming from his early years when he’d swiped his brother’s Batman comic books to read them, and that he felt that “Batman has always been one of the biggest, most popular characters in the DC Universe, with a story that still holds up, is really cinematic, and is really worth telling.” YEAR ONE was designed to closely correspond with Miller and Mazzucchelli’s award-winning graphic novel, with almost every scene and nearly all of the dialogue taken directly from the novel. Very few changes were made to the original story, in fact, “We didn’t have to cut any of the violence out,” Timm said, “We did have to change a few story elements in the comic that we really couldn’t do, such as dropping a specific drug reference that was in the comic, but the movie is pretty true to the spirit of the actual comic.”

“The story in BATMAN: YEAR ONE is not a big spectacular action adventure thing, with special effects and explosions, it’s more of an intimate story that lends itself perfectly to being an animated film,” Timm went on to say. “If it were a live-action feature film you’d want to put in more gadgets and flashier cars, but then it wouldn’t be BATMAN: YEAR ONE anymore. It works far better as an animated film.”

Before reading the script, Timm revealed that he’d never given much thought to the character of Commissioner Jim Gordon before, “Gordon was just some old guy, someone Batman would occasionally consult with”, he said. But in reading the BATMAN: YEAR ONE script, Timm realized that “Gordon was truly a compelling character, and that the script humanized him and made him someone you really could root for, and for me that was one of the most important parts of the story.”

Timm also revealed why they included a short Catwoman feature with the film. “We had commissioned a CATWOMAN DC Showcase short earlier, and when we the finished and timed the storyboard for BATMAN: YEAR ONE we found it came up a little bit short. This was a new one for us! We’d put pretty much the entire comic in the movie and didn’t want to pad it and create new scenes that weren’t in the comic. That’s when we decided to use the CATWOMAN script we had ready and use it as an ‘action bonus feature’ — to make up the time difference.”

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