Daly: The Voice Of Steel
returns as Superman in Superman/Batman:
For most fans, Tim Daly patented the All-American trust
within the voice of the title character for the landmark Superman:
The Animated Series. Daly returns to his heroic roots today
as the Man of Steel in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. The
film is available today, Sept. 29, in Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def,
DVD, OnDemand, Pay-Per-View and for download.
someone's got to keep America safe for democracy,
might as well be me."
his 52 episodes and several movies as the voice of Superman,
the Emmy nominated actor has had a prolific career on television
as the star of numerous series, most recently continuing
as Dr. Pete Wilder on ABC’s Private Practice and most
notably for eight seasons as Joe Hackett on NBC’s
Wings. The New York City native, who made his feature film
debut in Barry Levinson’s 1982 classic Diner, has
also had plum guest starring roles on The Sopranos and From
The Earth To The Moon.
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, United States President
Lex Luthor uses the oncoming trajectory of a Kryptonite
asteroid to frame Superman and declare a $1 billion bounty
on the heads of the Man of Steel and his “partner
in crime,” Batman. Heroes and villains alike launch
a relentless pursuit of Superman and Batman, who must unite
– and recruit help – to stave off the action-packed
onslaught, stop the asteroid, and uncover Luthor’s
devious plot to take command of far more than North America.
found time away from the Private Practice set to answer
a heroic number of questions regarding his longstanding
connection with the Man of Steel. Read on …
MIEREANU: Can you recall your initial
audition for Superman?
DALY: Yes, I remember it very well. The wife of
one of the writers on Wings knew Andrea (Romano,
casting/dialogue director), and, I guess they had been
having trouble casting (Superman) for some reason.
I don’t really know why. She suggested me and I came
in and read for them, and they sort of hired me in the room.
I was just shocked, but I was thrilled, because it was Superman.
And, you know, if someone's got to keep America safe for
democracy, it might as well be me (he laughs).
MIEREANU: What are the challenges to voicing
DALY: Superman is a real boy scout, a real straight
arrow, and yet he does have certain moments of kind of ironic
humor. The challenge is not to tip him into cynicism because
he is not a cynical guy. He is truth, justice and the American
way. He is about trying to do the right thing and trying
to be earnest about his goodness. What makes him fun are
those little moments where he reveals that he actually does
have a sense of humor.
Superman has always gotten the crap kicked out of him by
various laser beams, electrical force fields, bombs, kryptonite
and new weapons – so there's a lot of grunting and
straining and screaming noises that you have to do. There
is so much punching and fighting that I find myself standing
in front of the music stand and the microphone, pinching
myself and torque-ing my body around as if I'm getting punched
or straining against someone or grabbing someone by the
scruff of the neck.
makes him fun are those little moments where he
reveals that he actually does have a sense of
key is to push out of your mind the embarrassment of what
it would look like if someone actually saw you do that in
your shorts and flip-flops when you're supposed to be the
Man of Steel.
probably the most fun I have as Superman was in the episodes
with Superman and Bizarro, where he changes into this sort
of idiot Superman and his whole demeanor sort of changes.
He's not really deviously bad, or not consciously bad, but
he does a lot of bad things because he can be manipulated
– of course, by Lex Luthor.
MIEREANU: What do you bring to Superman?
DALY: I guess the actual embodiment of that character
(he laughs) – no, I'm kidding. I ain't no
Superman (laughs). I guess I bring whatever little
quirks make him more real. I like to think that this is
my wheelhouse Superman. Whenever you reprise something,
you hopefully reinvent it a little bit. If I had portrayed
Superman as a live action person, I would really have wanted
to know that there was a new spin on the ball.
MIEREANU: You’ve been away from
the role for a while – did recording Public Enemies
present any new revelations about the character and doing
DALY: The most surprising thing about it was that
I missed it. I found that I really had missed doing Superman.
I thought that particular script was really good. For those
of us who are interested and aware of new certain things
in our world and our country, I think that it presents a
very kind of subtle social commentary which I think is cool
and relatively bold for something that's a DVD release of
a Superman animated project.
most surprising thing about it was that I missed
MIEREANU: How did recording with Kevin
Conroy influence your performance?
DALY: Voicing animation is always interesting because
you don’t have to all be in the room together. It
can be done separately. But it's always better when you're
in the room because then you're responding to someone else.
Kevin is such a good Batman and, unlike Superman, Batman
is pretty cynical. He's of darker character. When you have
those two flavors playing off each other in real time, there's
a lot more sizzle to it. You're not in a vacuum. So being
in the studio together is definitely helpful.
MIEREANU: True or false – did you
beat out Kevin Conroy for the role of Joe Hackett in Wings?
DALY: All I know is that we both screen-tested
for the part on the same day. The screen test was odd because
I was there, and we were sort of observing each other. We
both screen-tested with Steve Webber, who apparently had
the role (of Brian).
I remember the most about the aftermath of that is Webber
coming up to me as we were shooting the pilot and saying,
"Hey, Tim, great to meet you. I could've sworn I was
going to be working with Kevin Conroy.” I was like,
“Oh, well, thanks, buddy boy. It's going to be a great
eight years.” And I still can't get rid of him. I
had dinner with him two nights ago.
sad part is I think he was serious. I think he was telling
me that he thought I was not going to get the part. He was
like, “Hi. You know what? I really thought you sucked
in the screen test. I'm so surprised you're here.”
MIEREANU: Did you enjoy the “buddy
cop” aspect of the film?
DALY: Superman and Batman have a good flavor to
them, much like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or Nick
Nolte and Eddie Murphy in the 48 HRS movies. They're
sort of thrown into a situation where they have got to respond
to a dilemma and they have very different points of view
about how to deal with it, but ultimately they bond as a
team. And it's funny having these two guys who are so different
working for the same cause.
and Batman have a good flavor to them..."
MIEREANU: When you were first cast as
Superman, did you understand the importance of the character
to the world, and were you surprised by the fan reaction?
DALY: I admit to my own shame that I took it just
on a lark. I thought, “Oh, this would be fun.”
And then I started to realize that Superman actually meant
a lot to a lot of people. I feel badly that I didn’t
take a moment to understand that I actually have a greater
responsibility than I thought I did. I understand that now,
and I enjoy my responsibility and have more of a profound
sense of it.
once in a while, someone comes up to me and says, “Excuse
me, are you Tim Daly?” And I say yes and they say
“I have to tell you, I am such a huge fan of yours,
and my favorite work of yours is the voice of Superman.”
always sort of surprised when that happens – I used
to think that it was all about the kids watching those animated
shows, and who did the voices didn’t really enter
their consciousness. But there are people that it means
a lot to and I'm always a little bit taken aback by that.
And I'm thrilled when that happens.
MIEREANU: Which character do you gravitate
toward: Batman or Superman? And why?
DALY: I like Superman better. Not just because
I play him, but I think because I'm a little bit of an idealist
and Superman is, too. He's a little bit more pure. He's
about saying that good can win, that you can have goodness
be the order of the day.
is somewhat more realistic in terms of the human psyche
because he's a little more tortured – he's darker,
more cynical and more street savvy than this strange guy
that landed in a cornfield in Kansas. But for the purposes
of having a super hero, I think having someone be good is
more satisfying for me.
MIEREANU: Is there something you consciously
do to put that sense of trust in your voice as Superman?
DALY: It's acting 101. I see what Superman is supposed
to say, and then I say it as truthfully and straightforward
as I possibly can. It's always more fun to play villains
and there's a lot more latitude, but it's way more difficult
to play the good guy – especially someone as squeaky
clean and straightforward and All-American as Superman.
You really have to commit to the idea that this guy believes
in his mission, that he's telling the truth and that he's
looking somebody in the eye and giving it to him straight.
It's surprisingly difficult to do.
always more fun to play villains...
it's way more difficult to play the good guy..."
MIEREANU: You may not be Superman in
real life, but you do act as a super hero in representing
The Creative Coalition, right?
DALY: I'm not Superman. No, I'm just me. One of
the great things about cartoons is that they're not real
– you're not watching real people and it engages your
imagination. One of the cornerstones of America is that
we are creative thinkers. We're innovators. And in order
to continue to be innovators, we need to train the creative
minds of our children.
Creative Coalition is a non-profit, non-partisan arts advocacy
group. It's made up of people who have attained a high level
of visibility in the entertainment world, and we have two
essential missions. Our core mission is to promote federal
funding for arts and public education and freedom of speech.
The other thing that we do is we use in a responsible way
this notoriety that we've gained to focus attention on issues
of public importance that affect everybody, issues that
otherwise might have a little more difficulty getting the
attention they deserve.
became involved because I believe that it is vital to the
survival of our culture to have arts be part of the public
school curriculum. I could spew tons of boring data –
but the bottom line is that when you're teaching a child,
you have to teach the entire child. Kids that study the
arts are better mathematicians and scientists and politicians
… and voice actors. They're not just better artists.
MIEREANU: In conjunction with everything
else you've done as Superman, can you envision how the fans
will embrace this film?
DALY: I think that, interestingly enough, this
particular film will work on a pure light entertainment
level because there's all the fighting and characters and
technological things involved. But there's also this subtle
social commentary that I think that people who are more
thoughtful or sort of discerning about that the progress
of Superman over the years will be very interested in. I
think that a lot of people will love it. Other people might
be a little discomforted by it, which I think is great to
stir things up a little bit.
MIEREANU: And finally – I’ve
heard that you not only like Bugs Bunny, but regularly quote
DALY: You cannot go wrong with Bugs Bunny. He's
the coolest cartoon character ever. I quote him all the
time. There's a hotel in New York – Le Parker Meridien
– and they used to have old Bugs Bunny cartoons playing
on the TV in the elevator, and I would find myself staring
at the cartoons. My floor would get there and I would just
push a different button so I could finish – I'd just
go up 20 more floors so I could finish watching the Bugs
Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation are set to
release the all-new Superman/Batman: Public Enemies on September
29, 2009 in a Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def edition, a special edition
2-disc DVD, and a single disc DVD. Warner Home Video will
distribute the action-packed movie, which will also be available
OnDemand and Pay-Per-View as well as available for download
that same day.
Public Enemies is based on the popular Jeph Loeb/Ed McGuinness
comic series/graphic novel. Animation legend Bruce Timm
(Superman Doomsday, Green Lantern) is executive producer.
Michael Goguen (Justice League: The New Frontier) is supervising
producer. Sam Liu (The Batman) is directing a script written
by Stan Berkowitz (Justice League: The New Frontier).
more information, images and updates, please visit the film’s
official website at www.SupermanBatmanDVD.com.