Adam West talks Batman

With so many incarnations of the character, how does it feel to be a classic Batman?

Adam West: Well, I’m excited. I’m pleased with it because, you know, we’ve been around for forty years, and we’ve never gone away really. And it’s fantastic that Fox has done this in a superior format, on Blu-ray, which gives people a chance to see our wonderful legs. The color and everything is magnificent. It looks very updated. The definition, the resolution. It looks like maybe some of the first color drawings of Batman. I’m painting, I’m in several galleries and things, and some of my paintings have been of the Batman villains. And this Blu-ray disc of the movie is terrific. It looks like I’ve got to match that with my paintings.

Speaking of the classic villains, pretty much all of them appear in the film. How was it working with all of them at once?

Let me tell you, it was a most enjoyable experience. No matter how tired we were, because it was a terrible pace, but to go in there every day and try to stay light-hearted, and think of the absurdities and think funny and to see that those people got it, it was a great pleasure.

The show was a big hit. How did the movie come about?

I think the movie was planned early on, as I recall. So it wasn’t a big decision. I think they planned on doing the movie before the series to try and get people ready. But then they decided, no, the episodes had been so successful, they’ll hold the movie until the first hiatus.

Coming back to the movie after all these years, is there anything that comes to mind?

Nothing except how much fun it was and how much I enjoyed the theater of the absurd and the silliness of it. That, and the relationships and the unspoken warm things that are missing, possibly, from these new films. It just brought back some wonderful memories.

When you were performing the role back in the 60s, did you think we’d still be talking about it decades later?

Let me tell you something I’ve never said: I had to. Because if I didn’t, I reasoned, it wouldn’t be a classic. I had to somehow keep myself convinced enough to do a straight line reading and the best work I could for that character in that time and that show. And I always convinced, I guess, the others that it would be a classic if they did their best work. And sometimes they thought of me as being conceited for saying that. But I realized from that wonderful first script that this thing could go on forever.

Were you a fan of the Batman comics?

AW: When I was young, yeah. I think up until I was about twelve it used to be my favorite comic. I read a few others but, yeah, Batman was my favorite. In fact, I used to run around in the yard with a bath towel for a cape, never dreaming that someday I’d be playing Batman.

When you first read the script for the film, what was your reaction?

I thought they were really selling it with all those villains at once. It gave it certain, largesse, I guess is the word, dimension. And I thought that was wonderful. And I wish we had more time to work on it. We had a really good director, Les Martinson, with whom I had worked before. And he got it. Les had a great sense of humor. I had the chance to play Bruce Wayne more and get out of that cowl, which I was thankful for.

You mentioned that the shooting schedule was rigorous. How was it different from shooting the TV show?

It was probably more relentless in that we were all damn tired from a season of TV. And it was a hot summer. But we knew that we were doing the feature, and that for the reaction it would get, this longevity, that we should ignore that and just make this thing absurdly wonderful.

Do you still get a lot of positive fan reaction to your performance as Batman?

AW: Well, I spent the morning looking at fan mail. It never stops. I’m very grateful for that, because it just never stops. And I made an agreement with Batman, that I’m just going to keep enjoying it, and having fun with it, because people still do. You know, I’m a lucky guy. They say “icon” and all that stuff, how lucky can you get, to have a signature role that goes on like that? How many actors would love to do that, or to have that in their arsenal?

Is there anything on the Blu-ray we can look forward to?

Sure, lots of stuff. Catwoman does a strip. No, not really. What you can look forward to is the commentary. Burt Ward and myself and others and the fact that you can take a tour of the Batmobile, for example. There are other little goodies you can click on. But the quality of the movie is just superb. It stands up. What it is, is what we envisioned, which is wonderful.

Batman The Movie is out now on Blu-Ray