Bruce Timm on Adapting The Killing Joke


Batman: The Killing Joke is less than two months away from being released and co-director and co-producer Bruce Timm, once again sat down to speak on what went into adapting Alan Moore’s classic story with Empire Magazine.


This is really going to sound mercenary, but The Killing Joke part of the movie is something that we decided early on we weren’t going to try to “fix.” Even though I’ve always had issues with the original source material, it’s one of those books that I admire more than I love. I never personally think of it as the ultimate Batman story or the ultimate Joker story. Obviously it kind of isn’t, but I do admire certain aspects of it. The artwork was amazing. Even though we had issues with certain things that happened, it’s, like, “Well, this is one of those classic stories.” Love it or not, we felt we just needed to kind of do a straight-up adaptation of it. So we didn’t deliberately tone anything down. We didn’t deliberately change anything. We didn’t look at anything and say, “It’s just too disturbing, we can’t do that.” If we were going to do it, we were going to do it. So we left basically all of our tinkering to the Barbara Gordon/Batgirl prologue.


There’s very little changed in it. I mean, Brian Azzarello, who wrote the script, did come up with a couple of sequence here and there which just kind of filled things out a little bit, especially when Jim Gordon is being tormented by The Joker. He came up with that interesting kind of trial sequence, which, having watched the movie so many times in production from storyboard and rough cut and everything, is so of a piece with the source material that a lot of times I forget that it’s not in the comic. It feels like it is.


Truthfully, if you did any straight-up adaptation of almost any current DC comic, chances are you’re going to have to get an R rating. The material is pretty intense these days. People have asked me that, but it’s not like we’re going to suddenly do lots of R-rated animated movies. This is a special case. I’ve said from the beginning that home video, even though they were nervous about the R rating especially in terms of, frankly, how it’s going to impact sales, knew this story had to be told in a certain way. That if we got an R rating, we would have to go with it, because we didn’t want to have to sanitize it and tone things down just to get a PG-13. Again, this is a really famous, classic comic. There are very few things that I think would warrant going that extra mile to take the chance on an R rating.

Support the film by heading to your local theater on July 25, 2016 for a one night theatrical release.

Source: Empire Online 

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