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Interview: Jack Dylan Grazer on Playing Jonathan Kent in Battle of the Super Sons

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with Jack Dylan Grazer, who voices Jonathan Kent in Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons. Grazer discussed Jon’s relationship with Superman and his favorite comedic scenes from the film. The film is now available on 4K, Blu-ray, and digital.

“Ahhhh, to be young … and charged with saving the world from impending doom! That’s the burden that 11-year-old Jonathan Kent and reluctant young sidekick Damian Wayne face in this all-new DC Animated Movie,” reads the film’s official synopsis. “On his birthday, Jonathan Kent learns his dad is Superman and that he has latent superpowers of his own! He also meets the legendary Dark Knight and current Boy Wonder, Damian. But when the two boys are forced to team up to protect their loved ones from a hostile alien force, will they become the Super Sons they’re destined to be?”

Tyler Treese: What did you find most interesting about Jonathan Kent as a character? Especially in this early period in his life where he just finds out he has powers and he’s finding out his dad is Superman — there’s a lot going on.

Jack Dylan Grazer: Yeah, it’s a great place to pick up on their lives. When Superman, Jonathan’s dad, finally expresses that he is, in fact, Superman … I think that just is earth-shattering in the greatest way possible to Jonathan. And he’s filled with so much eagerness and determination to expand and explore his capabilities and it’s really exciting. It’s overall just so exciting.

Jonathan’s a really beloved character by fans, but he hasn’t been in a ton of movies. He’s not the most well-known character. How familiar were you with Jonathan Kent before you took this role?

I honestly didn’t know about Jonathan Kent. I knew about Conner Kent, and I knew about Superboy as different things. Then I later found out about Jonathan Ken and did some research. He only existed for like five or six years beforehand, and it’s pretty funny. I’m the first person to do a voice interpretation of Jonathan Kent. It feels kind of historical — for me, at least. It feels really big and cool. Really exciting.

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One of the really fun dynamics about this is that Damian Wayne is already trained. He’s not really looking for partners, but he’s forced to take you under his wing when stuff really hits the fan in this film. What do you like most about this dynamic between Jonathan and Damian?

It’s something that seems so right, but at the same time, what makes it so right is that they have this ping-pong, back-and-forth banter. They’re competitive with each other, but when their friendship blossoms into something really special, it’s all because of their efforts to come together and create unity and fight bad guys, and save their dads. That’s just a beautiful thing.

There’s some really great humor throughout. I love Damian Wayne throwing the Batarang at Jonathan. Did you have a favorite comedy moment in the film?

Ooh, I don’t know. I love the Bat-Cow in there, that feels good to see. I missed that a lot, so Bat-Cow being back makes me happy. I think that and when he hands Batman the bucket of cow’s milk and he’s like, “oh, here.” I think that’s so funny because that really is probably equally confused as Damian is.

It’s been a real moment for Starro lately in the DC universe. He’s a fun villain because we get to see both Jonathan and Damian taking on so many familiar characters, and also just looks disgusting. What did you like most about going up against Starro?

Starro? Starro was sick. I knew what Starro was, but I’m not a big Starro nerd. I don’t know too much about Starro but I do know that he was a science project or something that they held captive on Krypton, and that was pretty intense to see Starro become the full size that he was in the end and just be tossed into the universe and explode like a supernova.

I love the different upbringings we see, because Jonathan’s obviously very close with his father, but because of Superman’s superhero duties, he was pretty distant. He wasn’t always there. So can you speak to the struggles that Jonathan went through growing up and not knowing why his dad wasn’t always around?

It’s the ultimate wish fulfillment to find out your dad is Superman. My personal experience was I always thought my dad was my hero growing up or a super hero. He was just so cool and I wanted to grow up and be like him. It’s like the hyperbolic frame of this is when you do view your dad as your superhero, and then you find out that your dad is the ultimate hero. He’s Superman. That’s mind-blowing for any kid. That Jonathan Kent also has the same powers as his dad and just has to learn to explore his capabilities is really awesome. So exciting, especially for a kid to watch that movie and then afterwards think their dad might secretly be Superman. It’s so cool.

Damian and Jonathan are at odds at the beginning, but they really respect each other and become friends throughout the film. What did you like most about that friendship that grows throughout the film?

I like that it started on tense terms and then blossomed into a beautiful friendship. I like that they have their own differences and were kind of competitive, but in the end, what was most important was saving their dads. How high those stake were, I think, is what brought forth a lot of of their persistence and perseverance and resilience and dedication to saving the day. Which is the most intense life lesson any kid could get.

RELATED: Jack Griffo Talks Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons

You’ve also done voice work for Luca and Ron’s Gone Wrong. When you do a voice role, does your approach change any or is it the same for any live-action role?

Well, it’s not really dependent on live-action or animation. It’s more dependent on the character, but I’m always invested. I’m always immersed and in it, no matter what it is, whatever the job. I love to just play the characters. I love to play characters as best I can and to the fullest extent. Unfortunately, I only had one recording session for this movie, then I had an ADR session about two years later. In between moments in the whirlwind of this experience was just … it was palpable to me. I never thought I’d ever experience something so fulfilling, like in the DCEU. So it’s remarkable.

The art style of this film is phenomenal. When you were actually able to see it and see these scenes that you voiced in their full glory, how fulfilling was that?

So fulfilling. I mean, the style is very nostalgic, but then also very nuanced — mixed with the CGI and the skies. I think that was beautiful to see, the colors and the reality and the clouds were just so awesome. To see my favorite superheroes flying through it was like the best of both worlds.

What kind of similarities do you see between Jonathan and Freddy Freeman? Obviously, they’re very different, but they’re both young and dealing with superhero stuff at a very young age, and they’re both coming of age.

They’re both very eager and both very deliberate, and also naïve, sweet, and somewhat innocent. Also excited. They’re both very excited and full of ambition to take on whatever the future holds for them.

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