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Backstage - Brandon Vietti Interview (WF Conducted)

In an exclusive interview with The World's Finest, Batman: Under the Red Hood director Brandon Vietti discusses the upcoming direct-to-video animated feature.

Brandon Vietti, director of Batman: Under the Red Hood, recently participated in a brief Q & A with The World's Finest to discuss both the highly-anticipated animated feature and his future plans. Vietti has a varied background in animation, in a host of different creative capacities, including stints on The Batman and Batman: The Brave and The Bold. The direct-to-video Batman: Under the Red Hood animated feature debuts July 27th, 2010 on DVD and Blu-ray disc from Warner Home Video.

The World's Finest - It goes without saying that directing Batman: Under the Red Hood is different than an episode of Batman: The Brave and The Bold. Do you find your style changes when approaching two very different interpretations of the same character?

Brandon Vietti: Absolutely. When working with different interpretations of the same character, I think it's essential to change up the directing style. The success of each interpretation depends on creating an unique identity for itself so that it doesn't blend with something that came before. The directing style is one of the key elements that contributes to a show's

I've been lucky to work on several different versions of Batman at this point in my career. The New Batman Adventures was the first and then The Batman after that. And recently Batman: The Brave and The Bold and Batman: Under The Red Hood. Each show had a different tone and aesthetic. Those are the things that guide my approach to directing and storyboarding. For instance, Batman: The Brave and The Bold is all about fun so I tried to find a lot of cartoony/comic book panel camera angles and camera movements to help sell the over-the-top quality of the show. Batman: Under the Red Hood is a more realistic story so I tried to use the camera in the same way a live-action director would.

WF: What attracted you to this story? This is unlike any Batman story you've worked on before.

What I love most about this story is that it's very human in nature and realistic in tone. These are the qualities of my favorite Batman stories. Super powered guys in brightly colored spandex don't play into the big picture here. This is not about heroes punching through bad guys to stop some nefarious plot in the nick of time. Ultimately, this story is about characters working through tragedy, feeling regret, and questioning what's right and what's wrong. These are very realistic and human issues that ground the story in a reality that we don't often get to explore in TV animation so that was pretty interesting to me. And while these qualities that add realism and strength to the story can be psychologically dark and heavy, there's also a perfect counter balance of exciting action and fun supporting characters to keep the story moving. For me, this was the ultimate Batman story to bring to life in animation.

WF: Do you think fans will be surprised by the tone and content of this movie? Do you think it will go over well with viewers?

Yes and yes. Again, this story runs psychologically deeper than a lot of our other stories. Our characters are pushed to new extremes which really ratchets up the tension and keeps you wondering what they will do next. That makes for great viewing no matter what characters you're watching.

WF: With you working on the upcoming animated series Young Justice with Greg Weisman, does that mean this is the last DC Universe Animated Original Movie you'll be doing for the foreseeable future? Can you provide any teasers on Young Justice?

My producing duties on Young Justice keep me very busy, so I won't be directing any DCU movies anytime soon. We're keeping a lot of secrets regarding Young Justice at the moment, but I will say this - when Greg (Weisman) and I take breaks from our story planning for the series, we read some of the online fan forums. We understand there are a lot of questions about Young Justice. I think we'll be answering at least a few of those questions at San Diego Comic-Con this year -- so stay tuned for that.

WF: Lastly, is there one small final tease you can give on why fans should rush out for Batman: Under the Red Hood when it hits shelves next week?

Well, I think this movie has a pretty unique treatment across the board and it offers up everything that Bat fans could want in a Batman story. The movie has some great secrets and twists -- more than usual, I think. If you don't see the movie right away. it's more likely that someone who sees it before you might accidentally spoil the surprises. So, to the fans out there, buy Batman: Under the Red Hood and watch it early! Let us know that you want more movies like this one!

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