Though I’m not really a comic reader, I love certain comic book characters and I appreciate the immense talent of Frank Miller and the way artist David Mazzucchelli illustrates. Watching this preview of Batman: Year One, you’ll get a sense of how serious the directors (Sam Liu, Lauren Montgomery) take the business of faithfully translating the story and the art to film, including getting “actors who have voices with character as opposed to actors who do character voices.” In this telling from Jim Gordon’s point of view, they couldn’t have cast better than Bryan Cranston, who clearly revels in the role. And I’ve been pleasantly surprised with Ben McKenzie, transformed since his “The O. C.” days (have you caught him on “Southland?”) from angst-y teen to serious actor. He’s a good choice here. As evidenced by its title, Batman: Year One delves into Batman’s earliest years and focuses on how dark Gotham City really is, beset by drugs, prostitution, organized crime and a corrupt police force.
Also starring are Alex Rocco (The Godfather, “The Simpsons”) as crime boss, Carmine Falcone, Katee Sackhoff as Detective Essen and regrettably, Eliza Dushku (who always sounds nasally to me) as Selina Kyle/Catwoman. Batman: Year One is a direct to video production and will be available September 27, 2011.