When ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ premiered twenty-five years ago, no one really knew just how iconic the series would become over time. The show gave fans a definitive version of the Batman stories to latch onto for years to come, and it was well stocked with well-written stories, bold heroes, enticing villains, and probably best of all, characters you really get to know as people in a believable and realistic way. The series started off with Batman, and Robin joined him soon after. But something was missing until a little later in the series when another caped crusader joined the fight to keep Gotham safe in the form of Batgirl!
We were recently able to sit down with Tara Strong who voiced Batgirl during the later seasons of ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ and really brought the character to life! Check out the full interview below where we talk about some of her favorite memories on the show, and where she’d like to take Batgirl next!
Do you have any favorite Batgirl moments?
Tara Strong: Yes! I loved “Girls Night Out”, that was really fun! Because at that time, there weren’t that many kick-ass chick superhero roles, so to save the day with Supergirl was pretty cool!
What was it like when you first auditioned for ‘Batman: The Animated Series’? Do you remember how it all worked?
TS: Yeah I remember I had just moved from Toronto to Los Angeles, and I had that audition and it was really scary casting room! Because there were a lot of really known celebrities in that room, as well as voice-over legends, and I collected ‘Batgirl’ stuff as a little kid so I really wanted it! And then you could go in the room with Andrea Romano and Bruce Timm and you’re so intimidated because they’re just so damn smart! I just remember feeling like being in that moment and portraying her as real as I could, and when I got the phonecall my agent left on my machine I remember it was like “oh my god you’re her! You’re the girl that’s the bat! You’re Batgirl!” and I was like “oh my god!” I was so excited! I pinched myself then and I still do every time I get to play her.
Are there any ‘Batgirl’ stories that you’d like to do?
TS: I think it’d be really fun to explore ‘Oracle’. To just take her to all different kinds of levels, I think that’d be cool.
Like ‘Birds of Prey’?
TS: I mean, did you guys see that Huntress episode that I did? The musical one? “The Birds of Prey!” That was fun!
How did you like playing on ‘Batman’? What was your favorite aspect of it?
TS: It was so much fun! I can’t even say it, it’s like every single day I pinch myself! I’m working beside Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy and what’s happening right now! It’s just a magical experience.
You’ve done a lot of work with material that’s both dark or comical, which is your favorite to do?
TS: Well when it comes to “superhero world”, I think I prefer the dark. I don’t like it too silly and cartoony, which is another reason I really liked working on this series because it was dark. But then the comedy came out of sort of unexpected moments like a real life experience that would happen. It wasn’t ever a forced comedy, it was sort of tongue in cheek and I loved that!
Do you have any particular favorite memories of your time working on the show?
TS: Every day was like that! I sort of have a funny moment though, I was working on an episode and Brian Stokes Mitchell came in, and I didn’t know who he was, and he asked if I wanted to go see his show so I said “sure”! So he gave me two tickets and me and my boyfriend at the time went and we were like front row center like “oh this kid has got some pull!” and it was ‘Ragtime’, which I was like “Oh my god this guy is brilliant!’, which was probably the silliest!
Who do you think really makes a good fighting partner next to Batgirl? Other than Batman and Robin?
TS: Supergirl! That was fun!
When you did ‘The Killing Joke’, there was that little thing about you and Batman getting together. That was also alluded to in ‘Batman Beyond’, although you weren’t Barbara by then. In ‘Mystery Of The Batwoman’ you do have that flirty phone call! What do you think about pairing Barbara and Bruce as compared to Barbara and Dick?
TS: I really love ‘The Killing Joke’ and I love that pairing, and I just thought it was really strong and a bold choice. She’s an adult now, and they’re not related! People get mad because its like “that’s like kissing your dad!” but really it’s not! And I thought it was well “shot”. Like it wasn’t gratuitous. A lot of people wanted it, even though they pretended they were disgusted by it, they wanted that. I don’t feel even a little bit bad.
Recently for ‘Justice League: Total Action’ you got to do Batman as a child! How was that? Did you pull from Kevin’s performance?
TS: Oh totally! I just imagined him as a little boy and copied a lot of his inclinations and how he says things. Try to get where his mind is!
We’re sure you get this question a lot, but what’s your favorite episode of ‘Batman: The Animated Series’?
TS: What was the one where she dies? “Over The Edge”? That one! I love dying. It was cool and trippy.
All of these characters you play are really deep and strong and beautiful, how does that help you to grow yourself?
TS: I think it’s sort of the same as if I were doing an ‘on camera’ show or theater. You really become those characters and so I’ve grown up with Batgirl and when I started I had just moved to LA so now obviously ‘The Killing Joke’ has given a tremendous amount of growth and I’ve just grown up with her.
With ‘Batman: The Animated Series’, you came on as Batgirl and really made the character come alive. Did you have a lot of say in how she developed and who she became as a character? Or was it more that you just came in and played the part?
TS: I think I came in to become Batgirl and give as much of myself in essence to her, but I have to give kudos to the storytellers! The writing on that show was so brilliant that we didn’t really improvise a lot or really give our ideas of where the characters should go, but Andrea Romano was really such an actor’s director that she really trusted our integrity and allowed us to be organic with our choices. So it was probably a collaborative effort.
You can catch Tara Strong currently starring as Raven on ‘Teen Titans GO!’ and as Twilight Sparkle on ‘My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic’ which both air on Cartoon Network! Batman: The Animated Series’ is set to come to Bluray sometime in the next year thanks to Warner Brothers Entertainment. Be sure to keep an eye out for more news on ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ right here on ScienceFiction.com!