NYCC 13: Batman: Arkham Origins – Troy Baker Interview
Warner Bros. Interactive had a fairly large presence at New York Comic Con this year, what with more than a handful of new superhero-themed games coming out over the next few weeks. To help hype up Batman: Arkham Origins even more, the publisher brought out the big guns in Troy Baker and Roger Craig Smith, or as you might know them, the Joker and Batman. We sat down with Troy Baker to discuss what it was like being the clown prince of crime.
We were lucky enough to participate in a round-table discussion with Troy Baker to hear his thoughts on Batman: Arkham Origins, and taking over for Mark Hamill.
What was it like stepping into these iconic roles?
“Pooped myself on a daily basis. [Mark Hamill] was my Joker. That is my Joker. No one has been the clown prince of crime longer than he has. So, there’s nothing I can do to add, or top, or even compete. I simply want to… it’s almost an homage. I’m not doing an impersonation of Mark, as much as I would love to do that.
“Where I pull my quintessential elements of the Joker from is stuff like The Killing Joke or Arkham Asylum, the graphic novel. That’s where you really get to see the depths and the complexities of who that character is. Intrinsically, because of how I grew up and what Joker I was raised with, that’s going to come out that way. We want to point to what you’ve seen in [Arkham] Asylum and in [Arkham] City, and ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ and everything else you’ve heard with Kevin [Conroy] and Mark.”
What inspiration did you look to to created your version of the Joker, and his mindset?
“That monologue in The Killing Joke is such a good cross-section of who the Joker is. That to me, if you ever wanted to know everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the Joker that you can know about the Joker, is in that monologue.
“Really, the writing that we have in our game, it’s so in canon, and just makes sense. There’s never a line where you’re like, ‘He wouldn’t say this.’ You can see it written and you can hear it being voiced. It was really just being honest, and never doing anything that felt false. As actor-y as that sounds. You rely heavily on your team; You trust those guys to let you know when you’re getting a little too far outside, or you’re going to close to [Mark].”
How did you come up with your take on the Joker’s laugh?
“You have to be willing to throw up. I don’t know how Mark has done it for so long. It is draining, and it’s not just the laugh, it’s a dark place. To go to that mindset and effectively and honestly say those words… you don’t want to hang out in that place.
“Going to a cemetery at midnight with your girlfriend so it gives her the heebie-jeebies and she gives you a hug is one thing, but you don’t want to live there. You want to get in and get out, in both ways. It was draining, and the laugh is the manifestation of that. There were times when I was like, ‘I don’t have anymore in me.’ Again, that really speaks highly of people like Mark and John DiMaggio. For me laughing is one of my biggest challenges, so when I got this thing, I had to learn how to laugh.”
How do you leave that darkness at work, and not take it home with you?
“A lot of it depends on what your workload for the day was. Just doing some call outs is a little bit easier to leave at the office, but when it’s stuff that was [a tiny bit of text] but [a lot] of complexity and what it means to the story? Yeah, there’s a little bit of residual.
“It was interesting those times my wife would go, ‘Troy? I know Troy is in there.’ At the end of the day it’s acting. You want to do good by the role.”
“I can give you a visual representation. [Troy gets up and struts] We were at San Diego Comic Con a few years ago, and we were at this bar, and they asked, ‘How would you feel about [taking the role of the Joker]?’ It was disbelief. I may be scared shitless. I may go down in flames. But I’m going to go down fighting. I hope that shows when Origins comes out.”
Batman: Arkham Origins will be out for the Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC on Oct. 25.