Batman: The Killing Joke's Tara Strong: "I Would Love to Play Barbara As Oracle"


Last night, fans at Comic Con International: San Diego got to be the first to watch Batman: The Killing Joke, Warner Bros. Animation's feature-length movie based on the fan-favorite comic from Alan Moore and Brian Bolland.

Bolstered with new material that informs the world and fleshes out the story, The Killing Joke is one of the most-anticipated animated films DC and Warner Bros. have ever done. It's based on a classic comics story, it's R-rated, and it reunites Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, and Tara Strong from the DC Animated Universe as Batman, The Joker, and Batgirl, respectively.

Yesterday at Comic Con International, Strong joined for a brief chat about Batman: The Killing Joke.

When you sit down with Mark and Kevin, do you even need to take a minute to get into the right headspace at this point? Or is it automatic?

No, when I get together with Hamill and Conroy, it's just suiting up. It's really special and I feel honored to play such iconic characters. When I first booked Batgirl and I was sitting aside Hamill and Conroy I was pinching myself and I still am. I still feel so blessed to be able to play such an iconic role.

Historically, people have taken issue with how Barbara was depicted in The Killing Joke. Did that concern you -- or, for that matter, were you even aware of that going in?

Whenever they call and say "Will you play Batgir--," they don't even get to finish the sentence. I say yes. And I actually wasn't familiar with the story prior to working on it, and then once I read it, it was completely shocking, which I actually think helped with the acting beats becuase it shocked me when she was going through different stuff.

I think from an acting perspective, I was almost glad to not know the backstory or not know how controversial it is. Then, seeing it, I think people are going to be surprised, but also happy if they're fans of it. They stick pretty close to the story, except for the add-ons, which pretty seamlessly tie together.

If they were going to follow this up with something from the '80s or '90s, would you be interested in playing Barbara as Oracle?

I would love to do Barbara as Oracle. I think it's an important story, I think lots of people would love to have a people in a wheelchair.

Years ago, I did Extreme Ghostbusters and Jason Marsden was a Ghostbuster in a wheelchair and the show won a lot of awards. There's so many people who are like, "Why don't we have more heroes like that?" So I would love to play Barbara as Oracle.

And of course, Barbara as Oracle is a concept that originated in Suicide Squad, so maybe it would even give you a chance to play Barbara and Harley in the same production.

That would be crazy, that would be fun. I had to do Harley alongside Raven last week at a DC Super Hero Girls and they were like, "You can do those back to back?" And I was like, "Let's go. They're two different people who live in my head."

And Harley has such a distinct voice that it's really impossible I would think to --

--confuse her with anyone else. That's definitely Harley!


The add-on material that you talked about, for a lot of comic book people, The Killing Joke is a sacred cow and so they're skeptical about the new material.

I think in terms of character and character development, when I watched it on the screen I was like, "Oh, this is my movie? Batgirl's the star?" And I think a lot of fans are going to be excited about that becuase it's still true to the story and there's nothing shocking about Batgirl. It's still part of the same story, but interwoven so seamlessly that I'm hoping the fans will like it as much as I did.