Along Halloween at the movies
Batman: Along Halloween Part 2 is now available digitally and on Blu-ray, concluding DC’s animated adaptation of the iconic Batman story. Written by Tim Sheridan and directed by Chris Palmer, the films feature a star-studded voice cast that includes Jensen Ackles, Josh Duhamel, the late Naya Rivera, Troy Baker, Billy Burke, Fred Tatasciore, and more.
“Inspired by the iconic mid-1990s DC story of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, Batman: Along Halloween Part 2 continues as the Holiday Killer is still on the run and, with Bruce Wayne under the spell of the poisonous Poison Ivy, Batman is nowhere to be found, ”the official synopsis explains. “Freed by an unlikely ally, Bruce quickly discovers the real culprit: Poison Ivy’s employer, Carmine Falcone. The Roman, his ranks decimated by Holiday and his spiraling business, has been forced to bring in less desirable partners – the Gotham City Thugs Gallery. In the meantime, Harvey Dent faces battles on two fronts: attempting to end the Mafia war while facing a strained marriage. And, after an attack that leaves Harvey horribly disfigured, the District Attorney unleashes the duality in his psyche that he has worked his whole life to suppress. Now, as Two-Face, Dent decides to take justice into his own hands and judge those who have wronged him, his family, and all of Gotham. Ultimately, the Dark Knight must bring together the tragic pieces that converged to create Two-Face, Holiday Killer, Batman, and Gotham City himself.
RELATED: Interview: Josh Duhamel on Playing Two-Face in Batman: The Long Halloween
ComingSoon editor-in-chief Tyler Treese spoke to Batman: Along Halloween screenwriter Tim Sheridan on the classic two-movie adaptation of the comic, the challenges of its duration, and what the movie is really about.
Tyler Treese: I’d like to know your relationship to the original graphic novel. When did you first read The Long Halloween?
Tim sheridan: Well my relationship is such that I’m going to be the big nerd here and correct you that it was actually a monthly book that came out. It wasn’t technically what we might think of as a graphic novel, but graphic novels can certainly be released on a monthly basis. So I’m not going to argue with you too much.
I love this book. I think most die-hard Batman fans like me, and maybe just like you, love this story. He inspired so many other writers and creators and gave so much to the Batman mythology. It’s great because it’s really happening at such an early point in Batman’s timeline that he has no choice but to inform our understanding of who he is and who he’s becoming. You see us leaning into that a little bit in the movie, I mean we really play on the aspect of him that’s new as a sleuth and sort of has to figure out how to be a Batman in the new Gotham that’s emerging.
Yes. That’s a good point because you think of DC, it’s Detective Comics and Batman, he’s not the best detective during that. He focuses on the bad suspects, all of these people get killed during his investigation. Can you talk about this interesting take on Batman’s time, where he’s not really at the peak of his deduction skills?
Well, this is funny. I mean, I feel like it was so obvious. Some people tell me, wow, the fact that Batman is new and a detective is something that you made up and added to the story. I’m like, wait a sec. We all know it plays out a bit like around the second year of the book, right. For Batman, he’s got all the guys in costume, a lot of them are already locked up. But it takes him a year to get to the end of solving this mystery, and no doubt a lot of people would read the book and say, It’s not really Batman who solves the case. There are big, big questions to interpret because that’s what we get when we get a great work of art like Along Halloween comic.
So for me this is completely organic to the story that this is a Batman, it’s going to take him a year. I mean, these days Batman would probably solve the Vacation Killer case into one problem, maybe two. See him struggle with that, have sea legs and understand how he’s going to have to do this job in the future. He learns it from Harvey and Jim Gordon. We see Harvey at the very beginning of Along Halloween, he’s setting up a business. He works hard and he is devastated when Johnny Viti falls because it was all his business. He is devastated in this movie when things don’t turn out the way they’re supposed to be with Sal Maroni. He’s always trying to build the case the right way, which is what Batman has to learn to do.
RELATED: David Dastmalchian on Voicing Calendar Man in Batman: The Long Halloween
You talked about it for a whole year. When you adapt this comic, how hard is it to both play that duration across both movies and then work from such a beloved storyline, how hard is it to choose what is in it? and what you need to change?
Butch Lukic, James Krieg and I, when we first sat down to talk about making these movies, when you know your goal is, in the best possible way as fans of the book, to make the story happen and the essence of the story and its ultimate point in a new medium, in a new format in a way that could never be the graphic novel, but is its own version that exists in its own part of the multiverse. It is much easier to make these decisions. One of the big challenges for this story is to manage the schedule. I mean, originally this movie was meant to be the whole book. The 13 issues were meant to be a 72- to 80-minute film.
When I looked at it I was like, you guys just don’t know how we’re gonna do this and still feel like Along Halloween in spirit, at least. I don’t even know how. We should have moved some elements, big plot points in act one of the movie that shouldn’t happen for a long time. In the book, it took place over a year. We had to wait a month to find out what was going to happen next. Well, now if we had done that in a 70 minute movie, every and a half minutes, every two minutes, we’re going to jump in time for another vacation. It would just become some kind of snuff movie where someone gets murdered, someone gets murdered, someone gets murdered. So we needed air, we needed it to be able to breathe a little bit so that we could feel Gotham and because ultimately that’s what the story is. It’s a story about Gotham City and its transition from organized crime to disorganized crime. That’s kind of how we got down to it.
There is such a great cast of voices. Jensen Ackles is fantastic in Batman, there are so many great performances. Can you talk about Ackles’ performance as Batman?
The day I learned that he had agreed to do it, I jumped for joy. As a fan of him, I knew what he was going to be able to bring to it. I knew he was going to be able to do it. When making a great Batman movie based on a huge book, you have to make sure you have the right guy. A guy who can possibly play Batman at a very early stage in his career. He still has, as we discussed, things to learn and it would be really hard to believe that Batman had a lot to learn if we had one of the guys who has been in this role for so long and that we really trust and know. so good. We really had to get there with an actor who knows Batman and knows them really well but who could bring that element to the story, the element of being a little new to it, and Jensen tackled that head on and on. perfection as far as I’m concerned. I couldn’t be happy actually. He was happy to participate, to play Batman, to play Bruce Wayne, and it brings endless joy to me as a fan of him to know that he was able to do that.
While Batman is obviously the protagonist, the story has all of these characters who are normally more on the side in the foreground here. Can you talk about it?
This story, like I said, is about Gotham City. He’s really the main character, isn’t he? Gotham City’s transition from this certain type of crime to a new type of crime. Really, the way that is portrayed in the story is through the different families who all live in the service of Gotham City. It’s the Waynes, the Falcones, it’s the Gordon, it’s the Dents. So that’s important, I think in order to tell this story the way that we have in a movie to really get into these characters a little bit and learn more about the sacrifices they made and the cost, that is what they talk about at the end of Along Halloween. I mean, the real question is whether it was all worth it and what it is costing these people, men and women who served this idea that is Gotham City, this once brilliant and brilliant idea that could maybe shine and shine again.
The story is so ingrained compared to other Batman arcs. How did you make it resonate on the screen?
One of the great things about Along Halloween had I gone into the script as a live action movie. I said listen I’m gonna write a live adaptation of Along Halloween that we are just going to animate. So that made some decisions that we made along the way, what would work and what wouldn’t in live-action and how we would bring that to life.