Conroy Talks Dark Knight Role In Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
What makes Batman interesting to audiences isn't just the fact of the personal drama, or the darkness of his having a secret identity, or his avenging his parents' death. All of that personal drama makes him appealing to people. But I think of all the super heroes, what sets him apart is that he's the only one that doesn't have any superpowers. He is the great detective. So in every story, it always comes down to his using his wits. I think everyone relates to that and loves that about him. I really admire that aspect of his character – I wish I was wittier. That's why I think audiences get into him so much, and that character trait is very important to this story.
Batman in Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
Batman is a basically a loner. What are your thoughts about his lone wolf approach, and how that works in a “buddy” adventure like the Superman/Batman films?
Batman’s isolation and his singularity, his inability to really let other people into his personal world, is really essential to the character. It's part of what audiences expect. Even in a series like Justice League, where he was one of seven super heroes, Batman was always the odd man out. The others would go off as a group to do something – you know, they might go have pizza – and Batman was always the guy left back in the cave.
So in these Superman stories, I think it's the closest Batman gets to having a brother, a kindred spirit. Superman understands Batman. He understands his need to be alone and his isolation. He’s probably the only one of all the super heroes who can balance Batman in terms of wit and power, so they're a very good balance for each other.
How does Batman see Superman?
I think Batman thinks of Superman as the Dudley Do-Right of super heroes. He admires his strength and his character, but he also he thinks he's incredibly naïve and very unsophisticated about the world. Remember, Batman is also Bruce Wayne, so he's very urbane. He's very versed in the way of the world. And Superman is Clark Kent, and he's such a goof (he laughs). So it's almost all about the alter-ego – the darkness of Batman’s Bruce Wayne is balanced out by the sunny demeanor of Superman’s Clark Kent. That's where I think the distinction is. Batman just thinks that Superman is kind of a very, very naïve guy who always sees the goodness in everybody. And Batman tends to see the darkness.
You attended Comic-Con International in San Diego last year for the first time in six years. How did that experience impact you?
The experience with the fans always re-energizes me for Batman. I've always been really into meeting and interacting with the fans. I understand why a lot of actors don't like to do that because it can be very invasive of your private life. But I'm just so appreciative because I figure I wouldn't have a job if it wasn't for them. Also, my background is the theatre, and the fun of doing theatre is the interaction with the audience, the feedback you get every night. You just don't get that in Hollywood. You don't get that with television or film, and you certainly don't get it working in animation. So the only place you get it is to go to places like the Cons.
Plus, you get funny perks. I went to a Starbucks in downtown San Diego, and they said, “Oh, Mr. Conroy, you don't pay for coffee today.” (he laughs) I thought, well, that hasn't happened in a long time.
Away from the Cons, how often are you recognized?