Kevin Conroy Talks Batman, Voice Acting
When a character is trademarked by their voice, it isn’t the voice that actor Kevin Conroy is focused on- it’s the character’s demons that he elicits Batman’s growling, rasped tone from. Luckily enough for Conroy, Bruce Wayne is definitely elite amongst the unfortunate.
“Whenever I get into a character, I go back to what happened to them as a child. The root of [Bruce Wayne’s] torture is what happened to his parents, and that’s where all of his darkness, anxiety [comes from]- that’s where he’s still trapped in. He’s spent his life reconciling,” Conroy said.
Conroy said that he puts himself in the character’s skin and takes himself back to the tragedy that they face, and the pain that they have carried with them. “I always go back to that childhood tragedy, [Wayne] seeing his parents killed in front of him. That keeps the voice very grounded for me.”
To him, voice acting is not about “making” voices. It’s about creating a full character. Conroy said that when asked about becoming the Batman, he ‘grounds’ the voice from something real. It’s all about the darkness and pain for him.
As an actor, Conroy is often inquired for advice by fans about how to approach his profession. “It’s no different than live action acting,” he said, “It’s still acting. You inhabit the character, but you only have your voice to tell the story.”
Within the DC Universe, there is a vast amount of heroes, villains, and sidekicks that vary between alternate plotlines or overlapping timelines that allow crossovers. Dick Grayson, better known as Nightwing, is voiced by Loren Lester and has appeared alongside Conroy’s Batman.
Conroy and Lester have worked together for 25 years. “It’s a blast every time we see each other. It’s like seeing an old friend, we pick up where we last left off. You get a shorthand feeling for the interaction,” Conroy said. He admires Lester’s talent to manipulate his voice to portray a teenage character and claims that his voice doesn’t age.
“There are no other characters…” Conroy said, “I can’t really think of any other characters that would be as much fun [to voice] as Batman.”