As we reported previously, the classic graphic novel ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ is being faithfully adapted by DC Entertainment into an animated film. This is big news for Batman fans, especially those of maniacal villain The Joker, as the Alan Moore and Brian Bolland-created tale is widely referred to as the seminal origin story for how the man became so twisted and evil.
In a recent interview with Empire, the film’s producer, Bruce Timm, spoke at length about the process of adapting the story to the screen directly from the pages of the comic. One challenge in particular, he discovered, is that the graphic novel was written largely with the assumption that the audience knew who Barbara Gordon – the daughter of Gotham’s police commissioner Jim Gordon, and the secret identity of Batgirl – was, and that’s an assumption that he doesn’t want to make in the animated version:
“We thought if we were going to expand this to feature length, we didn’t want to just pad out the original story by putting in a bunch of stuff between sequences of the story, because it’s literally a whole other half of movie that we could add. So we took that opportunity to basically tell a Batgirl story, which we don’t often get a chance to do these days. And it was great, because we could spend more time with her as a character and get to understand what she’s all about and how she’s similar to Batman in some ways, and really different in others. They come at the crime fighting thing from two completely different places. The good side of that is we get to spend more time with her and learn that she’s an interesting character. We get to really like her. The bad side of that is that we get to like her so much that when The Killing Joke part of the story happens, it’s, like, “Oh, no!” because we really like her. So it’s a double-edged sword.”
If you think that fans might get concerned because the creative team is “adding stuff” to a classic story, it sounds like initial reports indicate that you may be able to put your mind at ease a bit. Mark Hamill, the voice of the Joker in the film (as well as several others), feels pretty confident about what you’ll be seeing in the finished product of the film:
“This story has to be expanded. If we just adapted The Killing Joke as an animated film, it would maybe be fifty-five minutes. They’ve actually done a really incredible job of supplementing it with Barbara Gordon/Batgirl material. [It] surprised me, how edgy the Batgirl material was. This is not your father’s Batman. The one regret I have is that if I was nine years old, there’s nothing I would rather see more, yet it really isn’t for kids. I hope people understand when they say it’s R-rated, they mean it.”
‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ will be released on July 23, 2016 via digital Video-on-Demand services, July 26, 2016 via digital HD purchase from retailers, and August 2, 2016 on Blu-Ray and DVD.
Tony Schaab yearns to see the deleted scene from the ‘Thundercats’ cartoon in which Snarf is forced to do his monthly cleaning of the giant litterbox behind the Cat’s Lair. A lover of most things sci-fi and horror, Tony is an author by day and a DJ by night. Come hang out with Tony on Facebook and Twitter to hear him spew semi-funny nonsense and get your opportunity to finally put him in his place.