|Interview - Brandon Vietti
off, describe your role and subsequent duties on
Superman/Doomsday in as much detail as possible.
I directed the first third of the movie, which concludes at the
end of the Doomsday fight. Bruce (Timm) and I went over the
script he had written with Duane (Capizzi) and talked over
ideas. Then I worked with a group of storyboard artists to turn
the words on the page into pictures for the screen. My job was
to establish the tone and characters of the story and make sure
the visuals were as dramatic and dynamic as possible to match or
enhance the action of the script.
Coming off fresh from The Batman, how different is it to work
on a project like Superman/Doomsday (a PG-13 movie with looser
restrictions) than The Batman (A TV-Y7, Saturday morning
cartoon). Describe the pros and cons of each.
Obviously Saturday morning shows have to be a little lighter in
tone. They're designed for a younger audience, they're supposed
to be fun and so that's what we focus on as we make shows like
The Batman. Doomsday tells the story of the death of Superman
and the dramatic repercussions that follow. I don't think that's
the kind of "fun" that kids are tuning in for on Saturday
morning. But I know older audiences will appreciate it because
that kind of story allows for a deeper and more rewarding
exploration of the characters they already know and love from
the Saturday morning toons they watched as kids. These more
adult oriented stories take characters to a new level and the
audience along with them.
Personally, I loved working on a more mature story like
Doomsday. I'm really happy DC and Warner Brothers have taken the
step in that direction. I hope Doomsday and New Frontier are
embraced by the fans so that we can do more stories like this in
You've also directed The Batman Versus Dracula, another DTV.
Did the experience on that movie prep you for
The Batman vs. Dracula was my first experience working in a
movie length format. Planning seventy-something minutes of story
is much more difficult than planning twenty-something minutes
for TV plus commercial breaks. Pacing can be a real challenge in
longer formats but it helped to have a pro like Batman's
Supervising Producer/Director Mike Goguen to guide us through
the process and work out the kinks in pacing. I learned a lot
from the experience and it did help me out with planning
What was it like to work with Bruce Timm again? If I recall
correctly, you were a storyboard artist on The New
Batman/Superman Adventures, which was also your first job,
Yes. Bruce hired me about 10 years ago. Since I was a new guy
just learning the ropes back then I didn't get to work with
Bruce directly too much as he was busy overseeing the entire
production. I worked more closely with Director Butch Lukic and
Art Director Glen Murakami. But they would often teach me by
pushing Bruce's storyboards and designs in front of me to study.
Now it's 10 years later and I finally get to work with Bruce
directly. And I'm still learning from the man. He has included
me and my Doomsday co-director, Lauren Montgomery, on every
aspect of the production. From the early storyboard animatics to
the final edit, he's taken the time to offer advice and teach us
his theories on storytelling, art direction, and editing.
Working with Bruce is always an education.
Now, looking back on that and where you are now, what is it
like to be directing an adaptation of DC's best-selling graphic
novel? There must be a teeny bit of pressure there, right?
Oh yeah, there's some pressure. I remember when the Doomsday
story was first published. There was a huge buzz in the press
about it and the story really had an impact on people whether
they were avid comic book readers or not. Telling the story of
the death of one of the world's most iconic characters is a
heavy responsibility. But at the same time we all had a blast
drawing out the story. Everybody on the crew brought their best
game to the table knowing the importance of this movie. Pound
for pound, this was the most talented crew I've ever seen
assembled for a project and it was an honor to be a part of it!
Anything you want to tease for the fans on Superman/Doomsday?
I'll just say I love the script that Bruce and Duane put
together because they found a way to maintain core elements from
the comic while weaving in new elements to make the story feel
brand new. I think fans will be pleased with the final result.
Keeping on the Superman subject, you're joining Legion of
Super-Heroes this year. Can you describe your role in that
We actually just wrapped pre-production on season two of Legion
in which I directed 8 of 13 episodes. As I write this, we're
editing the animation as it's coming in from Korea and it's
looking fantastic! After The Batman and Doomsday, it was great
to land on a fun, team show where everybody has crazy super
powers. It was a nice change of pace. Plus I'm happy to get to
work with Producer James Tucker who also helped train me back on
The New Batman/Superman Adventures.
Before jumping to LOSH, you were apart of the The Batman
team, playing a part in the fourth season of the series, which
some call the fan-friendly series. Do you have any thoughts on
the fourth season and how it compares to the previous three?
With any series there is progression and I think The Batman's
fourth season is an example of that. It built on what was
established from previous seasons and brought in new elements to
keep it feeling fresh and new.
We thought season four might be the last so Producers Mike
Goguen and Jeff Matsuda and Story Editor Michael Jelenic and
myself all wanted to have a sense of closure to the final
episode just in case it was the very last. I thought the Justice
League ending served well to show how far Bruce/Batman had grown
from the first season. His concerns and sense of responsibility
had grown beyond Gotham and he was now accepting the help of
others in his mission. Thankfully a fifth season was picked up
and now we'll get to see some long awaited team ups that expand
out of the JL ending from season four. I've been peeking at some
of the work that The Batman crew has been doing this season and
it looks awesome!
Do you have a personal favorite episode from The Batman?
It's so hard to just pick one. So I'll cheat and pick three. Two
favorites out of the 19 episodes I directed are "A Matter of
Family" (Robin's origin episode) and "Gotham's Ultimate Criminal
Mastermind." I also loved "The Laughing Bat."
So, what can fans expect in Legion of Superheroes, this
season (aside from two Supermans)? Anything to whet their
Well, the new Superman, Kell-El, was a lot of fun to work with
and I think fans are going to like him a lot. We have some great
stories from James and Story Editor Michael Jelenic that really
push the growth of some the favorite characters like Lightning
Lad, Timber Wolf, and Brainiac 5. And the addition of Imperiex
in to the Legion universe brings a whole new level of action
unseen in season one! So I can't wait to tune in to the message
boards to see what everybody thinks of the new season.
The World’s Finest would like to thank Brandon Vietti for his
participation in this Q & A.