What William Shatner Brings To Batman Vs Two-Face

William Shatner was the obvious choice for Two-Face, says director Rick Morales.
William Shatner was the obvious choice for Two-Face, says director Rick Morales. Warner Bros. Animation/ DC Animation

Batman Vs. Two-Face may be one of the most noteworthy animated movies the franchise has ever produced. First, and most obvious, is the legacy effect of having Adam West voice the role of Batman in what turned out to be his final performance as the legendary hero. Second, and more uplifting, are the introduction of Two-Face into the ‘66 Batman universe and the voicework of William Shatner. During a press event at NYCC earlier this year both Shatner and Batman Vs. Two-Face director Rick Morales spoke about what the character means for the movie, and for them.

“Two-Face is a villain that never appeared in this era before, and it just kind of seems like William Shatner would've been, at that time, a good fit for the role in reality,” Morales told Player.One. “So it made a lot of sense.”

Morales said the decision-making process centered around the idea of finding villains who would work in the context of the 1966 Batman television show. Once they settled on one, the next step was finding an actor who would’ve played the villain on TV at that time. Anyone familiar with Shatner’s early work no doubt feels enthralled while imagining what he would have done with the role of Harvey Dent, the ambitious District Attorney who becomes the physically and mentally disfigured villain Two-Face. Of course, Shatner himself downplays the performance.

“I took the cliched approach,” Shatner told Player.One. He explained that doing the deep, husky voice for the evil side of Harvey Dent’s split personality was the easy choice. But don’t mistake his simple character choice as a simple character approach. Shatner told the assembled press that the nature of heroes and villains fascinate him, and that he thought quite a bit about who Harvey Dent really is.

“The villain is the same guy as the hero, except he pulls the trigger and the hero doesn't,” he said.

In the case of Harvey Dent, the hero and villain share the same face. But it’s the interior space that interested Shatner most. He spoke candidly about the recent shooting in Las Vegas that left dozens dead and hundreds wounded. Villains, he explained, don’t often appear outwardly villainous.

“What was going on in his head as he was spraying those bullets around? This mild-mannered guy, what are the voices that are so obviously, totally sick. So devoid of humanity, ubuntu, that it's incomprehensible,” he said. “That's what's going on in [Harvey Dent]. The struggle between good and evil.”

Morales, who described Shatner’s work in the movie as “just incredible,” said that the day Shatner recorded his lines was the busiest he’d seen at the studio. Typically, it’s the actor and producer/director, maybe a writer, on hand for each session. But not so for Shatner.

“That room was full,” he said, laughing. “There were a ton of people there for that recording, and I think a ton of people were interested in seeing what he was going to bring to that recording. He had some great moments, it was fun to see.”

If you want to see the fun for yourself, Batman Vs. Two-Face is out now on Blu-ray, DVD and for download on YouTube and Google Play.

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