by Gene Turnbow

In last week’s installment, we let it slip that we were at the west coast premiere of the new Warner Home Video direct-to-video movie Justice League: Doom.  We were there to interview the cast and crew at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, California last Thursday, February 16.  The movie, to be released February 28, 2012is an adaptation of Mark Waid’s “Tower of Babel” story from the JLA comic.  It was produced by Bruce Timm and directed by Lauren Montgomery, and is the final DC Universe film to be scripted by the late, great Dwayne MacDuffie.

The grand reunion of actors who provided the voices of the Justice League for the cartoon of the same name and its follow-up, Justice League Unlimited, includes Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series) as Batman, Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville, Breaking In) as Flash, Susan Eisenberg (Superman/Batman: Apocalypse) as Wonder Woman and Carl Lumbly (Alias) as J’onn J’onzz/Martian Manhunter. Bumper Robinson (A Different World, Transformers: Animated) joins the cast as Cyborg.

Videos after the break.

The Justice League faces two sets of villainous teams in the film – The Royal Flush Gang, and a newly formed Legion of Doom, headed by Vandal Savage. These are voiced by  three voice acting alumni of the Justice League animated series: Phil Morris (Smallville, Seinfeld) as Vandal Savage, Olivia d’Abo (The Wonder Years) as Star Sapphire, and Alexis Denisof (Angel) as Mirror Master. There’s also  Carlos Alazraqui (Reno 911) as Bane, Paul Blackthorne (The Dresden Files) as Metallo, and Claudia Black (Farscape, Stargate SG-1) as Cheetah. David Kaufman (Danny Phantom) is back as Jimmy Olsen.It’s probably the darkest Justice League film I’ve seen in a long time.  Batman, ever five moves ahead of everyone else, has figured out scenarios for nullifying each of the members of the Justice League should they go rogue.  Unfortunately, the plans fall into the hands of Vandal Savage, who has even bigger plans once the League is out of the way.  The look of the film reflects the theme of betrayal that brings the League to the brink of destruction, with Batman as the indirect cause.  Nobody animates on celluloid sheets anymore – it’s all done digitally.  Yet, somehow, they’ve managed to bring a remarkable look to the scenes.

People talk endlessly about the “silver screen”, but few today know what that means.  If you’ve never seen Casablanca projected from an original nitrate print, it had this shimmery, silvery quality to it that you only got from nitrate film.  In this video excerpt featuring Batman and his butler Alfred, you can see something of this ineffable, almost indescribable visual quality.  The whole film looks this beautiful – and yet, it’s traditional, hand-drawn animation.

We got to talk to Tim Daly (Superman), Phil Morris (Vandal Savage / Martian Manhunter from Smallville), Susan Eisenberg (Wonder Woman), Voice Director Andrea Romano, and the film’s Director, Lauren Montgomery.

Tim Daly spoke on how he breathed Superman to life for his reprised role as the Man of Steel, and the iconic importance of the character.

Susan Eisenberg talked about her relationship with her character as it has developed and matured over the years.

When we spoke to Lauren Montgomery, she did confirm that the next film will be called Superman vs. The Elite. She said that she wasn’t going to be working on that one, but that it was already in production.

It was a real treat to speak with Andrea Romano.  The spark for a film has to come from somewhere.  Of course, it does have to start with the screenplay, and the director has a lot to contribute as well (some directors contribute almost at the level of being a film’s author. After speaking with Andrea, though, I think I know where the film’s vital spark comes from.  Watch the video of the interview and see if you agree.

Phil Morris was a delight. This isn’t the first time he’s played Vandal Savage, having had the role in the Justice League series, but he offered interesting comparisons between this role and his part on Smallville as J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter (Carl Lumbly plays the Manhunter in this film, not Morris). draws themas well as being a student of the humanities, arts and sciences.  I don’t think there are any examples of his work on the ‘net anywhere – we may be able to get him to show us some of it at some point, if he’s amenable.Here are the interviews. Enjoy.

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