The erstwhile Captain Kirk enters the Batcave…
Batman vs. Two-Face is a bittersweet venture. The sequel to last year’s animated Return of the Caped Crusaders features the late Adam West’s final performance in the role that made him famous, but he’s no longer with us to enjoy this victory lap.
It would have been a blast to see West and William Shatner — a stunt-casting coup as Two-Face — hamming it up together while promoting the direct-to-video flick. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be.
But Shatner and Burt Ward were at New York Comic Con together on Sunday as Batman vs. Two-Face was screened for its world premiere. Both actors and three of the film’s producers met the press and we’ll be presenting the complete audio as part of John S. Drew’s Batcave Podcast over the next few days. (Click here for the complete Shatner audio.)
Until then, we’ve got some highlights for you, so keep checking back at 13th Dimension.
Turns out, for example, that Shatner and West never spoke during the movie’s production. That’s actually fairly typical — actors very often record their voice work separately. But the one-time commander of the Enterprise spoke highly of the contemporary who dwelt below Wayne Manor. (One of the show’s producers also noted that West welcomed the idea of Shatner as Two-Face.)
“I saw Adam at a comic con some time ago,” Shatner recalled. “We had a lovely, nodding friendship where (we’d say) “Hi,” and we’d spend a few minutes. He was a lovely man. A lovely, sophisticated, charming, amusing guy. … I enjoyed his company. And in passing we’d be trying to top each other with a funny line.
“He was a great guy,” he added. “It’s ironic that this movie’s coming out and he’s not here.”
It wasn’t lost on Ward, though, just what a meeting of pop-culture titans this was, even in the virtual sense:
“This was the smartest casting, in my opinion, Warner Bros. could ever have done,” Ward said. “Why? Because you have the two most iconic television shows in history: Batman and Star Trek, with the actors working together.
“I mean, you talk about the Dynamic Duo of television series. You couldn’t do any better. I don’t know how you could top this.”
Shatner famously says that he’s never watched Star Trek because he doesn’t like to watch himself act. Turns out, he never watched Batman, which aired roughly the same time, either.
“No, I would watch the news rather than watch either one of them,” he said to laughter. “Kapow! and Bang! wasn’t my style exactly.”
That said, Shatner was reflective when discussing playing Harvey Dent and his villainous alter ego, a character he was vaguely familiar with before the project came about.
“I had a good time. It’s a double character; they’re always fun to play,” he said. And he talked about finding that duality as an actor — even comparing Two-Face to Las Vegas mass murderer Stephen Paddock.
“So it’s Jekyll and Hyde really, isn’t it?” he said. “If you think of the psyche emerging, like the guy shooting the window out — what was he doing, in Las Vegas? What was that meek little guy doing? How’d that evil person come out? There are many voices in us.
“Not to put too big a deal on this whole wonderfully, amusing story,” he later added, referring to the movie, “but my mind keeps going back to that meek, mild-mannered guy who brought 20 guns up to that room. And what was he thinking when he shot out that window? And he’s mowing down people. Is he laughing hysterically? Is he sad? Is he happy? What’s he thinking? … What was the monster inside Paddock doing?
“He had to be mild-mannered Harvey Dent somewhere in his life. His brother said he never saw anything that came out of him. But there was something monstrous in him. Wouldn’t that be an interesting character to play, as he’s fighting his conscience?”
— For the COMPLETE AUDIO of the Shatner interview, click here.
— Producer James Tucker discusses how Batman vs. Two-Face takes its cues from Season 1. Click here.)
— For an interview with Adam West on Return of the Caped Crusaders and the legacy of Batman ’66, click here.
Batman vs. Two-Face is available for download 10/10 and will be available on disc 10/17.