Why Batman: The Long Halloween’s Julie Nathanson Didn’t Read The Original Story Before Doing The Animated Movie

Julie Nathanson's Gilda Dent in Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One

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Ever since it was published as a 13-issue limited from 1996 to 1997, Batman: The Long Halloween has been considered one of the greatest Batman stories of all time, to the point that both The Dark Knight and the upcoming The Batman have drawn inspiration from it. Decades later, the tale is now being adapted across two animated direct-to-video movies, with Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One and Part Two arriving within a month of each other. Among the members of these movies’ voice cast is Avengers Assemble’s Julie Nathanson, who opted not to read the original Long Halloween story during her preparation to play Gilda Dent.

When I recently interviewed Julie Nathanson about Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One, she mentioned that although her usual process for preparing for a role involves a lot of reading, she decided to forgo that for this first half of the Batman: The Long Halloween animated adaptation. In the actress’ words:

Specifically with The Long Halloween, I was definitely aware of the story and knew something about it ahead of time, I’d never read it. And while my process is usually read every single thing I possibly can and pull the knowledge from anything that might help me understand the character, I did some thing different with this one and I did not allow myself to purchase or read The Long Halloween until we had finished principal recording. And I did that because The Long Halloween source material was what was being adapted and created for screen in The Long Halloween movie. I know that sounds pretty obvious. But because it was ostensibly to be this universe, this story that Gilda would be living in, I wanted to make sure I was staying within the universe I was being offered. So I wanted to let Gilda be real for the first time for this trajectory of this story based on the script.

This makes sense. Although Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One and Part Two retain the core framework of the original comic book story, i.e. Bruce Wayne tracking down a serial killer named Holiday, like with any adaptation, changes have been made so that this take on the source material flows more efficiently in animated movie format. As such, Julie Nathanson felt it was more appropriate to solely model her version of Gilda Dent solely on the script written by Tim Sheridan, rather than take any inspiration from the Gilda written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Tim Sale back in the day.

However, once Julie Nathanson finished recording her lines for Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One and Part Two, then she rushed to read the original story to see how it compared to the project she took part in. As Nathanson recalled:

And then, as soon as we were finished, I immediately picked up and read The Long Halloween, and I was so excited because I felt that it was congruent and intact, and I feel that the movie itself did a really wonderful job of honoring the story that it did in The Long Halloween, with some nuances to help it come to life on screen. And I found it fascinating to read after having done principal recording, and I feel really proud of what we’ve done, and I’ve been excited for people to see and experience this movie, Adam, for three years. This is the longest secret to keep. I’ve wanted to shout this one from the rooftops.

Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One and Part Two were officially announced at least year’s DC FanDome, and this marks the third time that a popular DC Comics storyline have been adapted across two animated direct-to-video movies, following The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 and Part 2 in 2013, and The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Julie Nathanson’s Long Halloween cast-mates include Jensen Ackles as Batman, the late Naya Rivera as Catwoman, Josh Duhamel as Harvey Dent, Billy Burke as James Gordon, Titus Welliver as Carmine Falcon, Troy Baker as Joker and David Dastmalchian as Calendar Man, among others.

You can purchase Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD starting June 22, while Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two will follow with its digital release on July 27 and physical media rollout on August 10. As always, stay locked on CinemaBlend for more news about upcoming DC Comics movies.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.