WonderCon: Animated SUPERMAN: UNBOUND, Unwrapped

 

Superman: Unbound premiered at WonderCon 2013 at Anaheim on Friday night, with a panel moderated by Warner Bros.' Gary Miereanu, accompanied by director and supervising producer James Tucker, actors Matt Bomer (White Collar) and Molly Quinn (Castle), voice casting director Andrea Romano and screenwriter Bob Goodman.

Bomer called the Superman experience a dream come true and in turn, Romano, who has listened to many actors play Superman including Tim Daly, Mark Valley, Nolan North, Kyle MacLachlin amongst many others, called the first time she heard Bomer's voice as Superman in the finished film "perfect."

"This Superman is quite mature," Bomer said about the relationship between Lois and Clark. "It's like the battle of control freaks; he's very protective of her; he fears for her future if their relationship ever goes public. He also has this paternal instinct towards Supergirl; plus Braniac is a weighty foe."

"He's got a lot on his plate."

"It's a particular challenge when you're playing a role like this, that's been iconic to me since I was 4 or 5 years old. Inevitably you have in the back of your mind all of the interpretations from the comics to the films, cartoons, and TV shows. So what you have to do is focus on the story at hand."

 

"Dark Knight Returns was such dense material that we were able to get two full movies out of, while Superman: Unbound is based off a really great short story," Goodman explained the differences and the challenge to make it longer. "Geoff Johns gave a really great highway and it gave us an opportunity to find some roads like Clark's relationship with Lois.

On the subject of Lois Lane Goodman told a fan, "I wrote what I thought she was, I think Lois is one of the best characters ever. I think she's the strongest character in this movie." 

But Lois is not alone. There's a wonderful duality and complexity with Kara-El, a.k.a. Supergirl who is still a teenager. Quinn was able to relate to that easily — being a teenager — but more for Supergirl's "sense of right and wrong, which I really connected with and what I really love about her." When the role for Supergirl came up, Quinn was Romano's absolute first choice, after working with her on Ben 10.

Every great superhero story, needs a great villain and Braniac is that, with John Noble behind the voice. Romano expressed how much she loved working with Noble. "He was so incredibly elegant and John tried to bring humanity to the character and not so robotic. He also suggested that he should voice the ship, because it is an extension of him. It's a remarkable performance; it's rich, it's deep and full. It wasn't one note, which Braniac can tend to be sometimes."

 

Romano is often asked how she assembles such great casts and she shared with the audience how she has a wish list of people she'd like to work with, and then it becomes a matter of scheduling and roles to fill. For example, she met Noble at a Warner Bros. party a few years back and respected his work on Fringe and other works, and asked him if he'd ever be interested in doing voice work. Bomer was another actor she had deeply wanted to work with but his White Collar schedule didn't align with many of the DC Animated film slate. Bomer expressed interest in the recent Thundercats cartoon that Romano casted, but it didn't make it to a second season. "This version of Superman required such a sensitive touch." Romano said. "He has maturity."

"I get these ideas and I walk in always worrying if I made the right choices — usually I'm right," she said.

"What was remarkable was everyone was available, but almost no one worked together," revealed Romano, who prefers to record in ensembles whenever possible. "I was pleased at how it was all pieced together."

Perhaps surprisingly, the legendary voice director admitted that some of her favorite scenes in the film were moments with no dialogue. Be on the lookout for some powerful quiet moments.

Miereanu teased the audience what was coming next for the animation house. "We are taking our next film to Comic-Con, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox so you'll get your fill of Flash and some voices you've heard and some you haven't heard yet in Warner Animated Original films." Kevin Conroy is in the film — but not in the capacity you might be thinking of — and Ron Perlman will be back, too.

The Superman: Unbound Blu-ray/DVD will have a 10-minute behind-the-scenes look at Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. There are three more films in the 2014 slate that have completed recording audio.

Also making news is Bruce Timm is taking a short leave of DC Animated Films as was first reported by Voices From Krypton. Taking over is James Tucker who wants to bring more of the DCU to the animated movies, not just Batman, Superman or the Justice League; however using them as gateways to other characters.

 

"That's my goal moving forward; that's what we've always tried to do as a group, that's what we continue to do." In the VFK piece, Tucker explained his goal as supervising producer is making more cinematic animated films instead of directly "replicating specific comics, image by image and word for word" and creating a secondary experience.

Timm meanwhile was already winding down his work on the now-canceled Green Lantern Animated Series, and is currently developing some original material. When asked about the Young Justice and Green Lantern cancellations at Cartoon Network, the panel declined to say anything except that they handle only the film side of things.

The floor was opened up for questions:

Romano was asked if Mark Hamill would be considered to play the Joker if The Killing Joke animated film was ever made. She said that any Batman project that comes her way she sees if it's right for Kevin Conroy or Mark Hamill. But that it's not always the way it goes because sometimes they want to do a different style of art or age. The Killing Joke often comes up as a story to adapt, and Hamill would certainly be considered.

A fan asked when the Riddler will get his time in the spotlight and Miereanu said before 2015. "It's good and it's voiced by someone we love."

Another asked about a Superman: Red Son feature, to which Miereanu said "anything is possible," and Tucker noted, "it's definitely on my wish list."

Miereanu asked both actors if they're able to watch themselves and enjoy the performances or if they continue to watch with critical and scornful eye so many actors express when watching themselves. "No, it's still there," Bomer said. "I thought everyone else did a good job," Quinn said.

 

Both actors were asked what superhero was their favorite growing up. Quinn said the she loved Supergirl but she was never the one she pretended to be. "I preferred Poison Ivy, so I like being mad, but I was so unhappy. By the end I enjoyed playing her and I have to say, she gives Ivy a run for her money."

"Growing up I was always the lesser because of my older brother," shared Bomer. "If he was Superman, I was Superboy. If he was Batman, I was Robin. One year my mother made me a Superman cape and I wore it out for two years. So I guess I manifested Superman: Unbound and I also like Nightwing a lot." Bomer told members of the press how he'd like to play him in any capacity, live action or animated.

One this is for sure, Bomer told Newsarama how much he got into it on the physical scenes. "I was really swinging, bouncing all around the sound room, and I'd look into the booth and they're all laughing at me. [Putting on his fight face] I was like, 'You want the real thing or a fake one.'

Look up in the sky for Superman: Unbound in stores on May 5, 2013 on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download.

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