» Blog Archive Tim Daly reprises benchmark role as Man of Steel -
The Big Kahuna Comic Book News, Movies

Private Practice actor returns to Superman: The Animated Series role for all-new DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 Movie available today, Sept. 29 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.

Beyond 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.

Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation presents the
all-new Superman/Batman: Public Enemies in a Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def edition,
a special edition 2-disc DVD, and a single disc DVD. Warner Home Video
is distributing the action-packed movie today, which is also available
OnDemand and Pay-Per-View as well as available for download.

In 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.

Daly 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 …

QUESTION:
Can you recall your initial audition for Superman?

TIM 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).

QUESTION:
What are the challenges to voicing Superman?

TIM 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.

Also, 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. The 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.

I think 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.

QUESTION:
What do you bring to Superman?

TIM 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.

QUESTION:
You’ve been away from the role for a while – did recording Public
Enemies present any new revelations about the character and doing the
voice?

TIM 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.

QUESTION:
How did recording with Kevin Conroy influence your performance?

TIM 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.

QUESTION:
True or false – did you beat out Kevin Conroy for the role of Joe
Hackett in Wings?

TIM 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). What 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.

The 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.”

QUESTION:
Did you enjoy the “buddy cop” aspect of the film?

TIM 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.

QUESTION:
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?

TIM 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.

Every 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.” I’m 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.

QUESTION:
Which character do you gravitate toward: Batman or Superman? And why?

TIM 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. Batman 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.

QUESTION:
Is there something you consciously do to put that sense of trust in
your voice as Superman?

TIM 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.

QUESTION:
You may not be Superman in real life, but you do act as a super hero
in representing The Creative Coalition, right?

TIM 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.

The 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. I personally 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.

QUESTION:
In conjunction with everything else you’ve done as Superman, can you
envision how the fans will embrace this film?

TIM 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.

QUESTION:
And finally – I’ve heard that you not only like Bugs Bunny, but
regularly quote him. True?

TIM 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 Bunny cartoon.

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