Getting Under the Red Hood with Director Brandon Vietti
The films have also attracted impressive voice cast with this new entry no exception. Bruce Greenwood voices the Caped Cruiser as the crimefighter struggles with the death of Jason Todd (aka the second Robin), who is voiced by Jensen Ackles of TV's Supernatural, at the hands of the Joker (voiced wonderfully by John DiMaggio aka Futurama's Bender). Back in Gotham, Batman teams with Nightwing (Neil Patrick Harris) to challenge a new villain, Red Hood, who is trying to corner the city's organized crime from the Black Mask (Wade Williams, Prison Break). Turns out Batman must confront Ra's al Ghul (Jason Isaacs, Harry Potter series) to discover the true identity of the new foe.
Director Brandon Vietti has a track record of working with DC superheroes. He was the director of the first DC Direct title Superman/Doomsday and has helmed episodes of such series as Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Legion of Super Heroes and The Batman. In addition to taking the director's chair on DC inspired project he's also boarded for several series, as well as the animated version of Wonder Woman. I had a chance to talk with him about the challenges of bringing this weighty story to the screen.
Rick DeMott: Having directed Superman/Doomsday and now Under the Red Hood, are you the go-to guy when it comes to dealing with the death of major characters?
Brandon Vietti: (laughs) I wouldn’t say I’m the go-to guy, but I have gotten my share of death stories. Both of the movies and even on The Brave and the Bold I had a few stories of heroes dying or villains dying. I don’t know why they keep coming to me.
It’s always fun to do stuff like that. It’s certainly cranks up the drama and that kind of drama is really fun to play with when you’re a board artist or a director. It raises the stakes. It raises the emotions of everything. It makes a very interesting experience for the audience that is watching.
BV: Well, Doomsday was really interesting to work in the longer format; I hadn’t worked with that too much before. I really learned a lot about extending action sequences for feature length. That was a lot of fun to play with on Red Hood. There is a lot of action in Red Hood and it feels like feature length action. I’ve done a lot of TV stuff as well where you’re constrained to 22 minutes basically of screen time, which doesn’t always allow you to do what you want to do with your action pieces. With the feature length format you can really expand on that. It makes for more entertaining viewing. Bruce [Timm] and I had worked pretty closely on Doomsday in staging action sequences for feature length so some of those lessons transferred over to Red Hood.