Batman: The Long Halloween Part One is now available on Blu-ray and digital. An adaptation of the classic comic of the same name, the film features Batman (voiced by Jensen Ackles) finding himself at a loss in capturing the mysterious Holiday, a killer that strikes on holidays. The cast is rounded out by Billy Burke, Josh Duhamel, Naya Rivera, and David Dastmalchian.
ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with actor Josh Duhamel about playing Harvey Dent in Batman: The Long Halloween, showing his dark side as Two-Face, and why the role is a big deal to his son.
Tyler Treese: Harvey Dent is such an iconic character and there have been so many great portrayals of him in the past. How exciting was it to get to put your own spin on the role?
Josh Duhamel: It’s pretty cool. He’s one of my favorite villains. I’m a huge Batman fan. So it was fun to take this on and sort of come up with my own take on it. It’s cool because we had some time just to give the character some context. We sort of build it up, so you get this feeling that things are going, there’s something impending happening to Harvey. Then when it happens, you can kind of see that full turn and sort of what that dark side looks like. I didn’t really know what I was going to do with the voice until we’re in there, but sometimes you get in there and just kind of have to let it go and wherever it takes me. It’s fun to lose yourself in this character because it’s dual personality,
The Long Halloween is such an iconic comic and many actors have different approaches when it comes to adaptations. Some go deep in on the source material, others like to just go off the current script. Did you read The Long Halloween or how did you approach this?
Yeah, I read The Long Halloween. Of course, I talked with Wes Gleason quite a bit about what we wanted to sound like. Then you just kind of have to let it fly. I didn’t want to over-rehearse what I thought it was supposed to be. I just kind of wanted to see where it went when we were in the booth because that’s the fun. That’s one of the things I’ve been doing as an actor too is not necessarily tying myself or walking myself into everything, but just kind of on the day being open to whatever comes. It was really funny because we found this weird sort of dark side to Harvey that came out in Two-Face. The hard part was trying to recreate it nine months later when we went back in the booth. So I heard it and I was like, “Hold on there. How did I do that?” But we were able to get it, but it took us a little bit. So it was good to just sort of become somebody, you give audio to a character that’s already been visually created.
This is such a great role to play in Harvey Dent. While Batman is always the main character, this is kind of Harvey Dent’s story. As you said, you really have time to flesh out this character and tell his story. How great was that?
Yeah. You really do. You typically just share a little bit of a part of the beginning and then he becomes Two-Face. For him, you kind of get to see how he became and, and what were some of the underlying things that were happening in his regular life. You can just kind of feel him start to crack and when he finally cracks all the way, he becomes this different dude. That was a lot of fun, and I think that for Batman fans to get this history leading up to it gives you some understanding as to why he became who he is.
Interview: Josh Duhamel on Playing Two-Face in Batman: The Long Halloween
I’d love to hear some about your relationship with Batman. Did the films or TV get you into the characters, or did you grow up reading the comics? What’s your relationship there?
Well, you know, I was always a fan of Batman and my son is a huge superhero fan. Every conversation leads back to superheroes in some way. His favorite changes daily. Some days it’s Flash, some days it’s Captain America, some days it’s Spider-Man. Now, for me, it’s always been about, and he asked me this, it’s always Batman. So this is as much fun for me as it is going to be for him to see it. This might be a little dark for him as a seven-year-old, but he thinks it is pretty cool that I get to play this character.
That’s so cool. Did the fact that your son is a big fan of superheroes help draw you to this role? Was it partially your son and then the story itself?
Yeah, and I’ve worked with these guys a lot with Warner Brothers and Wes Gleason. I just have a good time going in there. They’re such a positive group and you just feel like you can go in there and just try stuff.It’s like this positive reinforcement and Wes has got this great ability to take what you’re doing and make it even better. Jensen Ackles is playing Batman, a buddy of mine, Julie Nathanson plays my wife, who is fantastic in this. So it’s fun. For me as an actor, doing this kind of stuff helps me not only get better at voiceover, but also helps my on-screen stuff because we forget sometimes how important your voice is and what you need to do.
And you sort of make it in a way when you’re doing this voiceover stuff because you don’t have any sort of thing to marry to what you’re doing audibly. This is purely based on what you’re doing audibly. So you have to really find a character with just with your voice. And I think that there’s a great exercise for me. This one was probably the biggest challenge that I’ve had because that’s Two-Face. I had to go to a different place to come up with that. I don’t know where it came from.
Dent has such a strained relationship with his wife, Gilda, and, a lot of that problems come from trying to balancing his career with his personal life with his family. That’s a very common struggle. Were you able to draw from your own experience of juggling both of those?
I’m not sure I took from my personal experience so much as I did just trying to understand who he was and the struggles he was going through personally, and trying to find those moments where you can see where he starts to crack. That’s really what was fun about it is getting a chance to kind of give this guy some context before he fully goes dark. That to me was a challenging part, but also what makes this kind of stuff so fun.
There’s a great scene with Dent in the joker in the film. Dent is kind of no-nonsense with him, and he plays this really straight foil to the Joker’s, over-the-top personality. How fun was it getting to interact with the Joker played by Troy Baker?
Again, it’s just so much fun to play in this world because it truly is a different medium from what I’m used to doing. Joker is one of the most iconic characters of all time. So, just to be a part of the history of this is fun for me, especially knowing that my kid is going to get a big kick out of it.
There’s a really emotional scene where Harvey wants to start a family. Gilda says that she can’t have one because she doesn’t want one because she can’t have it. How did it change in your performance to really portray the more serious side of Dent there?
I just try to play the reality of what was actually going on with him. I think that there’s the serious side, but more just the human side of him and what he was going through personally and how that contributed to his sort of breakdown, which ultimately led to completely cracking and go on to the dark side. In anything I do, I’m just trying to find the humanity in it. And I think that there was something really human and relatable about Harvey and what he was going through personally. I think all that helps contribute to what he ultimately becomes.