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The Arrow-verse spectacular Crisis on Infinite Earths is almost upon us, and we've been given a lot of information about some of the wonderful things that are coming once we can actually sit down and feast our eyes on the newest installment of The CW crossover. Fans were already pleasantly surprised as news of some very important, and fitting, cameos came out, but reaction to the reveal that Kevin Conroy (who's voiced Batman in several DC animated projects for 27 years) would be playing Bruce Wayne in live action was perhaps the most positive.
While Kevin Conroy was thrilled to finally get the opportunity to take his version of the iconic character(s) to the small screen, it turns out that this shift from voicing Bruce / Bats to playing him in real life wasn't quite as easy as he was expecting it to be. Here's what he had to say about the experience:
It threw me at first. I never approached this character from that physicalized aspect. I always just inhabited him with my voice. When you do that in a recording studio, it’s a very intimate experience and you’re sort of living in your own imagination. You do it with your eyes closed and you’re in this other world, and you have Mark Hamill feeding you all the energy you [need], and the other actors (because we always recorded together in the booths). To actually be on the set, in the physical world, and to be walking as the character and inhabiting the character in three dimensions, it was a real transition for me. It did take a while to get used to, I have to admit. I was surprised because I know the character so well.
Well, of course this was surprising for Kevin Conroy. You don't play a character, even one as complicated as Bruce Wayne, for as long as he has and not think that you've nailed down everything there is to know about the dude. As he told Entertainment Weekly, though, because he had never played Bruce with anything other than his voice before, bringing that into real life and onto a set, with everything that goes into that experience, turned out to throw Conroy a bit of a learning curve.
It's probably shocking to hear for fans, too, especially because Kevin Conroy is our longest-running and, some would say, our greatest version of The Dark Knight. I mean, the man has voiced the famed superhero in over 50 animated TV shows (beginning with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992), movies and video games; there's a reason that the good folks at DC animation keep going back to Conroy when they need someone to give voice to the potentially deadly and determined detective.
But, it makes a lot of sense that Kevin Conroy had to make some adjustments when stepping onto the set of Batwoman (which is where his cameo will appear). As he noted in his interview, he had never given much thought to the physical aspects of the character, whether he was playing him young and relatively fit as he did for his first go-round, or as a much older man, as can be heard in Batman Beyond.
Feeding off of other actors in the very controlled environment of a recording studio (with your eyes closed, no less) is very different from interacting with them on camera. And, from what we can see of Kevin Conroy as the character in the above photo, he looks to be wearing some kind of exoskeleton, which would take even more getting used to. Luckily, Conroy said he had a lot of help from his main scene partners, recovered Batwoman star Ruby Rose and Supergirl's Melissa Benoist, so he was able to adjust before too long.
Fans can revel in Kevin Conroy's first time playing Bruce Wayne / Batman in live action for the hotly anticipated crossover, Crisis On Infinite Earths, Part 2, on Batwoman, which airs on The CW, December 9 at 8 p.m. EST.