Words, Photos, and Video courtesy of Bleeding Cool's Jimmy Leszczynski:
Iconic Voice Director Andrea Romano has been bossing around the biggest names in voice acting for quite some time. As a voice talent Agent in the early 1980s, Andrea would record audition tapes for her clients, and sit in on recording sessions. The folks over at Hanna- Barbera thought she might be a good fit for Casting Director, and the rest is animation history. The Smurfs, Johnny Quest, Pound Puppies, the Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Teen Titans, Static Shock, Justice League, Spongebob Squarepants, and so many more.. But today, Andrea returns to SDCC to sit down with Bleeding Cool and discuss the remastering of Batman:The Animated Series (B:TAS), and what those early days in Gotham were really like.
B:TAS has been hailed by fans as the definitive portrayal of Batman, in any medium, almost since it first aired in late 1992 and the vibrant Andrea is a huge part of that depiction. Romano excitedly sits right down and jumps right in by telling us how it feels to be here today to celebrate the release of Batman:TAS on Blu Ray.
"Who would have thought, 27 years ago, when we said.' Let's make this Batman cartoon,', and we thought we had made something really good. We did. We wanted to make something that we wanted to watch, that we thought would be fun for ourselves."
Romano continues to explain,
"It is something that I am so proud of, and what is amazing is, it's still good. If you watch it now, it's still a good cartoon series. It evolved, it got better, we got better. The animation got better. The voice acting got better. My casting got better. Everything improved so that we all felt like we were growing and learning."
On taking her time to find just the right voice Romano tells us,
"The animation was going to be different, novel and new. I knew I had to find voices that were, I had to find actors first. If they had iconic voices, voices you could remember. Voices with character, as opposed to people doing character voices. Spongebob Squarepants is a character voice, but Kevin Conroy's Batman is a voice with character. It's just got a quality to it. Those are the kind of actors I like to bring in."
Andrea cites a few examples,
"Like John Vernon, you know has this deep wonderful voice. Or Bob Hastings as the commissioner. Not because I could use them doing multiple voices on the show, but a great voice. Or Bobby Costanzo as Bullock. He was that guy, he was that Italian tough guy.
Andrea's reputation as a casting director is unparalleled and she is known for taking her time in choosing actors, sometimes considering over 200 voices for a part. We wanted to know if there was anyone that she wanted to cast, but did not get the chance.
Elizabeth Montgomery. Samantha, from Bewitched. I can't believe she came in. She had to wait a few minutes because I was running behind, recording somebody else. She was being recorded by herself, because her schedule was such. She was already quite sick I said I'm sorry Miss Montgomery. I'm sorry for keeping you waiting. 'Oh call me Lizzy' she said.. She couldn't have been nicer or sweeter, I mean oh my God, Samantha Stevens. Holy Moley!"
Enjoy the full video below. Romano can barely contain her excitement as she also talks about the infamous restrictions they had and what they could not show on television, how the imagination is often more scary than what's on screen, and how you cannot set out at the beginning to stamp any project as a legacy.
In late 2018, fans will finally be able to enjoy a remastered Blu-ray release of Batman: The Animated Series from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, no release date has been set yet, but Amazon lists the limited edition at $112.99. With 109 episodes, the movies Mask of the Phantasm and Batman and Mr. Freeze: Sub Zero, behind- the- scenes featurettes about the show, a collection of postcards depicting key moments from the series, and 3 Funko pops of Harley Quinn, Batman, and the Joker in their B:TAS costumes- this collection is sure to be a cornerstone of any true Batman fan's collection.