John DiMaggio Voicing the Joker in 'Batman: Under the Red Hood'

John DiMaggio Voicing the Joker in ‘Batman: Under the Red Hood’

Warner Home Video has issued its first press release in connection with the upcoming straight-to-video release of ‘Batman: Under the Red Hood.’ Available for pre-order now, but due to release on DVD and Blu-Ray July 27, 2010, the story deals with the return of Jason Todd, the second Robin who was brutally beaten to death by the Joker.

In the film, Batman faces his ultimate challenge as the mysterious Red Hood takes Gotham City by firestorm. One part vigilante, one part criminal kingpin, Red Hood begins cleaning up Gotham with the efficiency of Batman, but without following the same ethical code. And when The Joker falls in the balance between the two forces of justice, hard truths are revealed and old wounds are reopened.

Within the press release, there is some great Q&A with John DiMaggio, who was announced would be portraying  the Joker, and how his approach to giving voice to this iconic villain differs from previous efforts. Best known for his previous work as ‘Bender’ in the long-running ‘Futurama’ franchise, DiMaggio has an extensive voice-over career spanning the past decade.

With credits like Kim Possible, Samurai Jack, Teen Titans, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Duck Dodgers, Jackie Chan Adventures, The Penguins of Madagascar and Chowder, DiMaggio now sets his sights on the much darker role of the Joker in this all-new DC special.

Speaking specifically to his motivation and inspiration in this new role, DiMaggio’s comments give us a sneak peek at this new twist on the Joker, while paying homage to the iconic bad guy’s long and storied past. Check out some quotes straight from the man himself after the jump.

“I just wanted to honor the real true lunacy of the character. I didn’t want to make him campy, but I wanted to pay a little bit of tribute to the past Jokers – and yet keep it original at the same time. That’s walking a fine line, if there ever was one. It was a little intimidating because it is such an iconic role. It’s an honor to get this job — and especially to play the Joker in this version because it’s so dark and twisted. I felt like I got a really wonderful opportunity.”

And talking about how some of the previous Joker actors might have influenced his  performance in this role:

“I actually would’ve loved to see Cesar Romero take the role to its darkness. There was a bit of Cesar Romero in what I did, but it’s Cesar Romero if he was in A Clockwork Orange. I guess my naiveté in my approach kind of kept it clean. I wasn’t trying to do a Jack (Nicholson) or a Heath (Ledger). I respect all the folks that have come before me, and their take on the character. Mark Hamill is awesome, Heath Ledger was unbelievable, and Jack Nicholson – what can you say? But I wanted to do my own thing.”

‘Batman: Under The Red Hood’ also stars Bruce Greenwood (‘Star Trek’) as Batman, Jensen Ackles (‘Supernatural’) as the Red Hood, Neil Patrick Harris (‘How I Met Your Mother’) as Nightwing and Jason Isaacs as Ra’s Al Ghul. The Special Edition DVD and Blu-Ray will also include a DC Showcase Short featuring ‘Jonah Hex’ in an animated adaptation straight from the comics.

We are certainly looking forward to checking out the final product when it releases in July. Be sure to let us know in the comments who your favorite voice-actor or live-actor to play the Joker. Mine? Mark Hamill. What do you think?