Judd Winick talks Batman: Under the Red Hood!

Comic writer Judd Winick has evolved his Red Hood storyline from 2005 into the next DC Entertainment/Warner Bros. Animation DVD release. As you can see from these brand new images, Batman: Under the Red Hood won’t be pulling any punches. Or crowbars.

Winick, along with artist Pablo Raimondi, have coincided their DC Comics mini-series, Red Hood: The Lost Days, around the film’s release on July 27. (The first issue hit stores last week and I gave it 5 stars.) But, as I mentioned, Under the Red Hood is based on Winick’s Batman story from the comics five years ago. “I had to take two years of story and boil it down to 75 minutes of film, and that’s a challenge and liberating at the same time,” he said. “It forces one to cut out all the fat and get to the heart of it.”

Speaking of cutting out hearts, this is a PG-13 feature but how did Winick convince Bruce Timm and Warner Bros. to go with such a violent story? He talked them through the first five minutes of the film. “I’m on my head set, going through this scene, talking about Batman barreling down the street of Sarajevo, the Joker beating Robin to death. I’m banging my hands on the desk, yelling as loud as I can, and by the time I said ‘Fade to black, cue to opening credits,’ it was just dead quiet on the other end of the line. I said, ‘Is everybody still there?’ And they said, ‘Yeah, that was awesome.’ Done. Sold.”

Winick also said the success of the recent live-action Batman films gave him the idea for a darker animated feature. “I’d say Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight was sort of the catalyst. After seeing that film, it got my juices going thinking that we could do something like that with a Red Hood arc,” he said.

Under the Red Hood features the voice talents of Bruce Greenwood, Neil Patrick Harris and Jensen Ackels and Winick couldn’t be happier with how they took on the roles but it was John DiMaggio’s Joker who he thought had the toughest job. “There’s only been a handful of people who have created Joker – Mark Hamill set the standard for animation, then you’ve got Jack (Nicholson) and Heath Ledger. But John (DiMaggio) has such versatility, he could go anywhere with it, and he made it totally his own,” he said, “He’s wonderfully scary and really gets the job done.”

This was the comic scribe’s first foray into film writing but seems to have caught the bug. “One of the fun parts of writing for film is that it allows you the freedom for your characters to just shut up and fight. We can’t do that in comics – there always has to be some banter or internal monologue,” said Winick.
So, could we see more DC animated work from him in the future? As long as the DVD does well, all signs point to yes. “I’d like to do an entire feature with Bruce Greenwood as Batman and Neil Patrick Harris as Nightwing,” he said.

3 Responses to “Judd Winick talks Batman: Under the Red Hood!”

  1. I hadn't heard anything on the "Red Hood" feature. I was crushed to hear that Mark Hamill was ending his Joker career with Arkham Asylum II (but if you're going out, what a way to do it). After reading your post I've got hope for the new voice actor DiMaggio. I know his work and that he's really talented, it's just not going to be the same without Mark (for awhile anyway)

  2. Josh Hill says:

    I am looking forward to UNDER THE RED HOOD more than just about any other DCU Animated Feature they have done. There is just something about it that makes me think they knocked it out of the park on this one. It reminds me a lot of the early buzz on NEW FRONTIER.

  3. Arturo says:

    Winick doing a Nightwing feature? I like JW, but anybody who read Titans just gulped a little at that idea.