The actor chosen to perform under the cape and cowl of Batman in live-action may change from year to year, but even with Oscar winner Ben Affleck set to play Bruce Wayne in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (and WB’s shared Justice League universe to come) he’ll never be able to replace the undisputed “voice of Batman” – Kevin Conroy.
Having taken over the role in Batman: The Animated Series back in 1992, Conroy has voiced the hero in a vast majority of TV shows, animated films, video games, and any other DC project looking to honor the legacy of the modern Batman. However, Conroy’s iconic voice has also opened the door to a type of humor few other actors would dare. Case in point: his upcoming appearance on DreamWorks’ Netflix series Turbo FAST, playing the not-so-serious crimefighter known simple as ‘The Stinger.’
Conroy’s casting is no accident, as the above clip shows that the character is meant to capitalize on the pop culture fame of the voice actor’s growling delivery. The writers aren’t the first to use Conroy’s famous Bat-voice for a laugh, but in today’s world of super-serious superheroes, a reminder that fun is the top priority – from the voice of Batman himself, no less – is appreciated.
We got the chance to talk to the voice actor about the upcoming role, and why landing some jokes at Batman’s expense is as much fun for him as the audience.
I have to start off by asking you to talk a little bit about this character that you are playing in the Turbo FAST animated series.
Kevin Conroy: [laughing] Isn’t it a great character? I love this character!
Could you give a brief hint of how he may seem… familiar but different from what most people are used to from you?
Kevin Conroy: [laughs] Well, he’s everything that Batman is not allowed to be, which is great. That man is humble. Batman is self-effacing. Batman doesn’t want any attention for all the good work he does. This guy is arrogant. He’s full of himself. He blows his own horn. It’s so much fun to play exactly the opposite of what people expect. So I had a blast doing it.
In the upcoming season of the Netflix series (launching July 31st), the normal happenings of Turbotown and the F.A.S.T. team are turned on their head when the urban legend known as ‘The Stinger’ proves to be not only real, but looking to recruit Turbo in his quest to stop injustice. Things start to go off the rails when The Stinger’s quest seems to be less focused on supervillains, and more… everyday criminality.
Not to mention taking playful shots at Batman’s most memorable eccentricities in the process.
It seems that actors entrusted with playing Batman often speak very self-seriously about the role. You’ve voiced him for so long, this isn’t even the first time you’ve been able to poke fun at the character; is it a release for you to be as in on the joke as the fans?
Kevin Conroy: Oh, I get to be as in on the joke as anyone else. It’s a lot of fun. Like when I did Venture Brothers. That character [Captain Sunshine], I hear people talk about him at Comic-Cons all the time, and that was years ago, because it was just sort of a poking fun at the Batman ethos, which audiences love. I think the character can stand that without it being disrespectful or without it being considered in poor taste. I think it’s fun. And the fans seem to get that.
It’s so much fun to play these characters, because it is a departure from the Batman everyone expects. I think it reminds people that I’m an actor and not the character. I’ve got a wide range and I can do other things, which is fun.
The Stinger, I have to tell you, as a fan, seeing someone as ‘iconic’, really, as you being able to not only poke fun at Batman, but be able to be aware of when you speak in that voice, the image people have in their mind and you being in on the joke [laughs] makes it even easier to laugh at it.
Kevin Conroy: Oh, that’s great. I’m really glad to hear that from someone who gets it, because I had a blast doing it. And I hope the audience gets it.
When injustice defies the norms of decency, it’s The Stinger, Turbotown’s new, self-proclaimed protector, to the rescue! And he’ s looking for a sidekick. Is Turbo the snail for the job?
Watch them fly into action when the new season of Turbo FAST launches July 31st, only on Netflix.