From Superfriends To Gotham Knight
through anime eyes...
has spent more consecutive years “in the Batcave”
than anyone in animation history.
Not counting his stint on “Super Friends”
in 1983, Burnett has constantly helped bring the Batman’s
legacy to animation since 1991 – when he began scripting
episodes of “Batman: The Animated Series,” the
Emmy®-winning production widely considered a pivotal
moment in American animation.
This summer, the latest animated venture
into the Dark Knight’s mythos takes an altogether
different approach than anything produced during Burnett’s
17-year association with the character. Burnett served as
movie story editor and the writer of the anchoring segment
of “Batman Gotham Knight,” the third in the
ongoing series of DC Universe animated original PG-13 movies.
“Batman Gotham Knight” is a
fresh and exciting new film weaving six interlocking stories
that reveal Bruce Wayne’s journey to The Dark Knight,
each with stylish art from some of the world’s most
revered Japanese animation visionaries. The film features
stories written by several of the most talented scribes
of film, comic books and animation, including Burnett, Academy
Award®-nominated screenwriter Josh Olson (“A History
of Violence”), David S. Goyer (“Batman Begins:),
Jordan Goldberg (Associate Producer, “The Dark Knight”),
and award-winning comics writers Greg Rucka and Brian Azzarello.
Burnett, Azzarello and Josh Olson, along
with producer Bruce Timm, have already confirmed their participation
on the panel following the world premiere of “Batman
Gotham Knight” at Wizard World Chicago in late June.
“Batman Gotham Knight” will arrive July 8, 2008
on DVD and Blu-Ray disc, and will also be available that
day On Demand via digital cable and for download through
broadband sites. The film is produced as a collaboration
between DC Comics, Warner Premiere, Warner Home Video and
Warner Bros. Animation.
through anime eyes...
An anime fan, Burnett said he was very intrigued
and inspired by the idea of allowing Japanese directors
to have relatively free reign on the animated look of Batman.
“From a visual point of view, this
is the most stylized Batman that’s come out of Warner
Bros. -- what they’ve done is really eye-catching,
and it truly expands his world,” Burnett said. “Their
visualization of Gotham City is stunning, and it’s
very interesting to see how they’ve envisioned Batman,
his environment and his action and movements.”
Burnett’s stellar talents have merited
four Emmy Awards, three Annie Awards and two Humanitas Prizes.
His work within the Batman realm includes as a series producer
on “Batman and Superman” and “Batman Beyond,”
and most recently as supervising producer and story editor
for Warner Bros. Animation’s four-time Emmy Award-winning
series “The Batman.” In the direct-to-DVD arena,
Burnett co-produced and co-wrote the animated feature film
“Batman: Mask of the Phantasm,” was supervising
producer and writer for “Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman,”
and served as producer on the feature-length “Batman
Beyond: Return of The Joker.”
with a gun?
For “Batman Gotham Knight,”
Burnett served as story editor for the entire film, and
writer of the sixth and final segment, “Deadshot.”
The segment ties together threads from all the film’s
chapters as Batman must thwart an unerring assassin whose
love of guns and disregard for human life lets him cross
lines that even a Dark Knight shies away from.
Burnett said having the opportunity to finally
bring the villainous Deadshot to the screen was instant
motivation to pen the script. First, “Batman Gotham
Knight” provided the perfect vehicle for a villain
associated solely with guns – an attitude that flies
in direct opposition to Batman’s anti-gun approach
to heroism. The anti-gun theme is prevalent throughout the
film. Moreover, because television standards do not allow
the use of “real” bullets in children’s
programming, Deadshot has been kept out of Batman’s
animated legacy. For Burnett, this was the first opportunity
to portray Deadshot as he is known in comics.
want to see a live Deadshot...
“I’ve always liked Deadshot
as a villain, and I really like stories with assassins,”
Burnett explained. “The fact that they’re killers,
and what they do has impact, automatically heightens the
energy of the story.”
In addition to writing the script “Deadshot,”
Burnett also story-edited the film, ensuring all six scripts
– from six different, widely-acclaimed writers –
worked fluidly together to interconnect into one story.
The ever-modest Burnett said his job entailed little more
than a few alterations for flow and continuity while he
attempted to maintain each writer’s individualism.
“I thought it was important to keep
the integrity of each writer’s words,” Burnett
said. “The writers all pretty much had the same voice
for Batman, so I had to change very little dialogue –
just small fixes to tie up loose ends, and reinforce transitions
and connections between the stories. But I did as little
editing as I could because I respected what the writers
wrote, and I thought it was important that their voice was
heard. Just as the artists made their segments their own,
so should the writers.”
Stark? Or Floyd Lawton?
Overall, Burnett is pleased with the final
product, and excited to see the fans’ reactions to
the film – particularly the use of shorter segments
to tell great Batman stories.
my segment, I think the first Deadshot murder is quite good
– there’s a lot of eye candy within the cityscape.
The artists added fireworks and balloons and a lot of interesting
elements to what ultimately is a cold-blooded murder,”
Burnett said. “I like the short-form for Batman, because
it feels almost like a 22-page comic book story. In short
form, the stakes are elevated from the beginning, and it
gives you a chance to really heighten the action quickly
– so you can make your points hard and fast and get