Interview Conducted by Jim Harvey
Duane took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down with us and give us some insight on the process of Brainiac Attacks, as well as drop some very interesting hints about the upcoming season of The Batman.
June 16th, 2006
First off, take us through the plot for "Superman: Brainiac Attacks" and why Superman fans should give it a spin on June 20th?
Well, that's a tall order -- will Superman fans take my word or that of your reviewer? :-) For the die-hard fans of S:TAS, presumably the bulk of your readership, let me first say that the movie is not intended to be in continuity with the Timm-verse, despite utilizing those character and background designs. Similarly, the depiction of Lex Luthor was intentionally modeled after Gene Hackman's performance in the Donner films, to dovetail with Luthor's depiction in the upcoming Bryan Singer film. If a die-hard fan goes into 'Brainiac Attacks' with this in mind, it should be a smoother ride -- and hopefully an entertaining one.
The plot involves a classic alliance between the two big Superman rogues, Lex Luthor and Brainiac, while catching Superman at a crucial juncture: he comes to feel he's living a lie with Lois Lane, and must decide whether or not to reveal his true identity to her. While Superman juggles these heroic and personal aspects of his life, the two intersect when Lois becomes critically injured. Superman goes to the ends of the Earth and then some to save her: it's as if we took the end of the first Donner film and made it the dramatic center of our entire story, played for high emotional stakes. It's an intimate story, yet at the same time very epic.
How were you approached to write this project? And what’s it like being asked to write a movie for such a huge icon like Superman?.
I wasn't sure I was the right guy for the job, since I'd been living in Gotham City for so long and had never written for the Son of Krypton before. I wasn't looking to reinvent the wheel, just to tell the best Superman story I could.
Did you have to adapt to write for Superman, who’s such a different character than Batman? Why or why not?
Mostly, I just did as much "homework" as I could in the time allotted: revisited the Donner films, reviewed as much of the animated series and Fleischer cartoons as I could, re-read some of the classic stories -- mostly to get the voices and tone in my head. Then I was off and running.
Coming off a successful season of The Batman, how did that affect your approach to writing this new movie? Did it rush you, and were you forced to compromise due to time constraints? How? Why?
Let's just say a tighter-than-usual deadline forced me into a period of very intense focus. But S:TAS nuances or continuity that may have been lost on me aside, it was the script I wanted to write. Curt Geda, the film's director and someone more intimate with Superman than myself by way of S:TAS, was more than pleased with the results. He said he'd always wanted to do a big romance story in a way that S:TAS never got to do.
What inspirations did you draw from when writing "Brainiac Attacks"? Did you make sure to stay dedicated to the continuity of the series this movie is based off? Were you intimidated to be writing a movie for the Bruce Timm cartoon, with a notoriously imposing fanbase?
I was more intimidated writing and producing The Batman, knowing that it was a conscious departure from the previous series. Little did I know!! I never considered 'Brainiac Attacks' to be such a stylistic departure (though again, it also wasn't intended to be "in continuity"): aside from the afore-mentioned characterization of Lex Luthor, the movie doesn't attempt anything too avant-garde -- though it does explore some until-now unknown phenomena of the Phantom Zone (arguably my favorite sequence among awesome sequences: it's this movie's "blood bank" sequence, IMO).
Rumor has it that plans for a Superman series along the lines of The Batman were in the works, with you at the helm. Any truth to those rumors, and if so, any word on what the show would have been like?
If there are plans, I'm not aware of them. (Fans of S:TAS, you may breathe a sigh of relief. :-))
Overall, how was your experience writing this movie, how did it differ from writing "The Batman Versus Dracula", and would you like to take a shot at Superman again in the future?
Aside from one being a horror film and the other an epic romance-tinged sci-fi adventure? I suppose TBVD came more naturally because I'd been living with the characters for a couple of seasons, whereas I had to learn Superman as I was writing him. As for the future, I've learned a lot by writing this one: I'm ready for more, bring it on.
And to wrap up, can you drop any tiny hints on what to expect on The Batman in season four?
Season Four may be the most fan-oriented season yet. It's no secret that we're introducing Robin to the series; we're also going to meet Nightwing in an episode, in a very interesting way. Penguin will attempt to form his own version of an "injustice gang," and among other villains we'll be meeting Killer Moth, the Matt Hagen version of Clayface, Black Mask, and Harley Quinn (in an episode penned by none other than Harley's creator, Paul Dini). We'll also discover more about Riddler's past, and Batman will finally team up with a superhero from outside the 'Detective Comics' universe. Yes, it's a JLA member -- but I won't say who, you know I hate spoilers. :-)
The World’s Finest would like to thank Duane Capizzi for his
participation in this Q & A.