BATMAN: YEAR ONE Spotlight on Benjamin McKenzie

Ben McKenzie is the voice of Bruce Wayne/Batman in the new BATMAN: YEAR ONE animated film. Best known for playing Ryan Atwood in the television series The O.C. and rookie police officer Ben Sherman on the NBC cop drama Southland, Ben made an appearance at Comic-Con International to share his views on bringing the caped crusader to life.

A disarmingly charming Ben explained that he jumped at the chance to play the role of a young Bruce Wayne returning to Gotham City and his first efforts to fight injustice as a costumed vigilante, since he considers BATMAN: YEAR ONE one of the best graphic novels of all time. “There have been so many great Batmans, and everybody tries to make the role their own, do their own take on it, as indeed I tried to,” Ben said. “When I got in the booth I worked collaboratively with the [Executive Producer] Bruce Timm and [Casting/Dialogue Director] Andrea Romano to come up with the most compelling Batman/Bruce Wayne that we could.” He described the 20-something Bruce in this story as “trying to exact justice but he is unsure of himself in terms of how he can really do this and gets himself in over his head in certain situations. He’s younger, uncertain and more naive than the Batman most of us think of.”

Ben got a kick out of the few comedic moments in the film and playing the young Bruce as a “bit of a Lothario” and admitted that he really enjoyed getting into character for this role, since he was a fan of the comics as a kid. He even jokingly “practiced a few Travis Bickle moments in the mirror at home” and doing a couple of deadly-serious “I am Batman” line readings to an audience of one — his dog — although he admitted with a grin that his dog was not super-impressed. Ben agreed with the suggestion that “I am Batman” had to be the best pickup line anyone could possibly have, and went on to say that “Comic-Con was certainly the best place to use the best pickup line ever!” but blushingly denied trying it out for himself at this year’s event.

BATMAN: YEAR ONE the animated film hits the shelves on Blu-ray and DVD on October 18.

Cross-posted from my report at


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