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Actor Robin Atkin Downes and director Michael Chang sat down with CBR TV at WonderCon in Anaheim, CA to discuss their upcoming “Superman Vs. The Elite” animated feature, available June 12 in store and via digital download from DC Entertainment and Warner Home Video, as well as their history in animation.
Chang discussed the pressures of working on an animated feature as opposed to single episodes of a series. The movie allowed the director to spend more time on a single story and give it the proper time to develop and become a richer story. Both Downes and Chang admitted they did not read “Action Comics” #775, upon which the story is based, prior to starting work on the movie. They have each read the comic book since and hope their film lives up to the story originally told by writer Joe Kelly and artist Doug Mahnke.
Downes discussed his choice of accent for Elite member Manchester Black, and nailing the right dialect that fit both the actor and would remain understandable for American audiences. Downes discussed some of his past accent and dialect choices as well as the reception of accents across the world. Downes particularly enjoyed the unique nature of Manchester Black as a foil for Superman due to his status as an anti-hero, making him more relatable than other villains in Superman’s world. CBR’s Jonah Weiland noted that Downes seems drawn to villainous characters — he also plays Mumm-Ra in the new “Thundercats” series — but the actor said he enjoys playing both heroes and their nemeses.
The choice of this story, as opposed to something longer or more recent, stemmed from its topical and current nature according to Chang. Even though it’s a shorter tale, it has a strong heart that the filmmaker hopes resonates with fans.