Troy Baker is a very busy man. Last year, he was a part of seven films, six television shows, eleven video games, as well as releasing his debut album the previous year. Blast Magazine had the opportunity to speak with Baker at the premiere for his new film, Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Cosmic Clash at the Paley Center for Media in New York. The animated film, produced by Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment and the LEGO Group, focuses on the story of Brainiac, a super-computer plotting to take over Earth. After Braniac sends some of the members of the Justice League to other time periods in history, the remaining members must work together to save their friends. Baker voices Batman in this project, a character he has played in multiple LEGO iterations in the past.
Blast Magazine: In this movie, you are back again as Batman. You’re known for voicing these stronger characters, often villains or anti-heroes. What attracts you to those dominating roles and is that a conscious decision to play those characters or are those more of the roles that come to you?
Troy Baker: I don’t know. I guess it’s more of what’s been given to me. I try to find a little vulnerability in every character I play. It’s interesting because I think all actors are inherently insecure and so maybe the real acting is that they get to play these very confident characters. That’s a great question.
Blast Magazine: Since you play Batman in this project, is he your favorite superhero?
Baker: He is. That’s my first graphic novel that I bought as a kid. I’m probably more invested in that DC storyline, the true DC Detective Comics line, than anything else.
Blast Magazine: You have played a lot of amazing video game characters in the past, like Joel in “The Last of Us”. Is the process different when you prepare for a film versus a video game and can you tell us what the preparation for this film was like?
Baker: I kind of look at myself like I have a toolbox and I just come to work and whatever tool I need for the job, that’s the one I use. When you’re doing a game, especially one with full performance capture, it’s more like theater. With this, it’s really about trust because when you’re doing less, you want to do more with it. When you have a story like this and characters like these, what am I going to do that is going to make Batman cooler or better or smarter? You just really have to get out of your own way and trust the script, trust the directors, trust the producers and trust the cast. In this movie, Batman is the Dean Martin and he’s got all these Jerry Lewis’s floating around him, so it’s really about setting up the joke, getting out of the way and letting them do the slam dunk. I’m more about the assists than anything else but at the end of the day, as long as we win the game, that’s all that matters.
Blast Magazine: I know that for “Far Cry 4”, your audition for Pagan Min included some great improv and you were given a lot of freedom with that role. Do you prefer more of a set plan and a stricter script or would you rather be able to do your own thing, improvise and really add your own opinions to the project?
Baker: There’s an interesting experiment that someone did where they took a herd of cattle and they gave them no fence and the cows actually gathered together and they wouldn’t explore. However, as soon as they put a fence up, they went all the way out there in the pasture. I think we’re the same way. I think that we need parameters that allow us to have the freedom to explore, but without those parameters, without the structure of a good script, good directors and a good cast, you wouldn’t actually do anything. We have a great script, we have a team of people that trust their cast to have fun with that line and do whatever we want, but ultimately we know how they want it to be. This is our 3rd or 4th movie now, so I think that everyone feels a lot more comfortable with one another but at the same time, if it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage.
Blast Magazine: You are also an amazing musician. Your album, “Sitting in the Fire,” is a great collection of music full of passion and emotion. Can we expect another album from you soon?
Baker: We are talking about it right now. We are currently writing so hopefully we will have something soon. It’s always something that I want to do and I can’t stop making music. It means a lot to me that it meant something to you.
Blast Magazine: You have managed to combine your talents by acting in video games as well as playing on the soundtrack for some of them. Would that be something you would want to do again in the future?
Baker: I never want to break the fiction for anybody. I never want anyone to wonder why Joel is singing. Well, actually that would make sense, but I don’t want to put myself in something like that just for the sake of doing it but if it’s ever appropriate, definitely. The ultimate dream is to score something that you’re in.
Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Cosmic Clash can be purchased on Blu-Ray and DVD and Troy Baker can be followed on Twitter at @TroyBakerVA.