A couple months ago I was invited by Batman: Dead End director Sandy Collora to see his â€˜top secretâ€™ follow-up to BDE; WORLDâ€™S FINEST.
The Collora cast & crew were holed up in downtown Los Angeles in the long abandoned Harold Examiner newspaper building. Upon arriving we (my son & I) were given visitor ID badges with our pictures and Daily Planet logo – we entered the set, a dark smoke filled warehouse doubling for a number of set-ups that day. We watched from high above as Two Face performed for the cameras, I was taken aback by the commitment and professionalism of the crew. This is not your run of the mill â€œfan filmâ€ shoot. My son tagged along with me for the day, his favorite superhero, Superman was going be there and he was very excited to meet him.
Now Iâ€™ve worked in Hollywood for almost 20 years, and been on hundreds of film and TV sets, so this was no big deal for me, but I must admit it gave me chills to see both BATMAN & SUPERMAN walking around in the fleshâ€¦ for a brief moment my son wasnâ€™t the only six year old kid visiting the set.
Chris â€œExcelsiorâ€ Mason was lucky enough to chat with Batman & Superman, and ask their alter egos: Clark Bartram & Michael Oâ€™Hearn some candid questions about their experiences making WORLDâ€™S FINEST.
Clark, what has been the fan reaction (toward you) since Dead End hit last year, and was there any pressure on WF, to out do BDE?
Clark Bartram: Amazing to say the least. I think most of the fans have embraced my performance as The Dark Knight and I’m honored by that! Not really any pressure, because I know all of the parties involved. We all bring everything to the table every time so there is no expectation but excellence in everything we do. This was an entirely different project because of Supes! He made it something totally different that will capture even more fans.
Itâ€™s every boyâ€™s dream to be a superhero, whatâ€™s the feeling when you are in the Bat & Super suits?
Michael Oâ€™Hearn: Indescribable!!!! It’s…it’s…it’s…like I said – Indescribable!!!!
CB: Surreal. Imagine the feeling. I can remember putting towels around my back as a kid pretending to be Batman and Superman. (now) I get do it for the world to see. I loved putting that suit on! That is way too cool for words.
Clark proved that Batman didnâ€™t need all that rubber. Batman (in BDE) was in my book for the first time â€˜flesh & bloodâ€™ and the fans loved it. Mike, was has been the fan reaction (toward you) as Superman?
MOH: Sandy had a lot of faith in me. I think that’s why he had me play Superman. I didn’t know how the fans were going to take it. The response up to this point has been incredible – Very positive. Even my worst critics, my three older brothers are giving me the thumbs up!
Clark we finally got to see you as Bruce Wayne, what stands out for you?
CB: The two beautiful girls on each arm (one was my wife, the brunette) Bruce Wayne is too cool. I hope the two seconds I was HIM on camera that it worked. He is a tough guy to be… money, looks, women, mansion, cool toys, alter ego.
Mike, I thought your scenes as Clark Kent we marvelous, who was more fun to play?
MOH: Clark Kent is fun to play. He’s such a good guy, the character that is. When you’re Superman, with the “S” on the chest, there’s a lot to live up to. So it makes it a little tougher. A Superhero doesn’t act tough, they know they are tough. So going out and acting like I’m this invincible icon, I felt was not the way to go. Superman has super powers, and he’s very humble about those powers. I can go on forever… both characters were great and really brought my theatrics and acting skills to a new level.
You both have a history together, how did you both meet?
CB: He was stalking me and I had to put an end to it. I felt sorry for him and let him be my friend.
MOH: What do you mean a history together? We never dated. Clark and I go way back. We met actually when we both competed for Mr. California. Or should I say, we almost met. I’ll let Clark fill you in on that.
CB: Seriously, fitness is a small business and we were eventually going to meet in person. We are both at the top of our game and we just hit it off when we did finally have the chance to get to know each other.
MOH: Clark’s great. Been a good friend of mine for years. For some reason, he doesn’t want to make the drive up to work out with me, but that’s OK. I’ll let that slide. But if you’re a Playstation fan of Madden Football, Don’t play Clark’s son Mitchell. He kicked my butt for 6 hours on Saturday.
What are you expecting to come from Worldâ€™s Finest?
MOH: World domination.
CB: Not sure really, for me at least. Sandy on the other hand will be noticed, the guy has proven himself back to back. I’m not trying to be a movie star!
In the WF trailer there is a very brief shot of the Batmobile, did you get to drive around downtown LA in it as Batman?
CB: No. I barely fit in that thing. It would have been impossible to do that. Plus I was dying of exhaust fumes. It wasn’t totally done yet so we couldn’t do much with it.
Do you have a favorite shot in WF?
MOH: Ouch…that’s kind of tough. I think because I was there, I’d have to say when Bats and I are in the Batcave. There was just some lighting, some dialogue. But, yeah…that’s my favorite.
You are both in tip-top condition. What do you do to keep in shape?
CB: Eat right, exercise consistently, keep a positive, can do, attitude.
MOH: Train like a madman. It’s funny I’m answering these questions today. I just got back from a leg workout where I went up to 700 lbs. squats, then I followed that up with dead-lifts where I went over 600 lbs. I don’t know what’s going on. I think I got a little Superman in me giving me that extra push right now. My training regimen: I work out twice a day – once with weights and once cardiovascular. The other thing I do is stay on a high calorie diet. I also do a lot of Judo, which is both physical & mental, (it) keeps me sharp so if Sandy or Clark get out of line – you figure it out…
You both must be comic book fans, who is your favorite?
CB: I am now! My son & me love to go read comics together, and of course Batman & Superman. But the Dark Knight wins out. I remember coming home after school and watching the television series and I was a big Wild Wild West fan. I just dig the guys with all of the cool gadgets
MOH: Besides my Dad, I’d have to say Thor when I was growing up, because I had the long blonde hair. And while I played football in college everybody called me Thor. When I look at comic books, those guys are so buffed out and athletic, that was what I wanted to be at 10. Now it’s come true. But I’ll tell you, after meeting Mac and Sandy, and after studying up and reading everything I can, along with starting a collection and shrine for Superman – He has definitely taken over the 1st place spot. Besides, Superman is 6’3″ and I’m 6’3″. Superman weighs 225, and I weigh 240. So if I can mimic that – Maybe people will start calling me Superman.
Did the white Batman contact lens’ bother you at all?
CB: Not on Dead End but on Worldâ€™s Finest, it felt like they were soaked in acid! My eyes were watering the entire time. I wasn’t much fun.
What was the toughest thing to do on Worldâ€™s Finest?
CB: It was much easier than DE so it wasn’t too hard. I did smash my head pretty good on some ductwork in the Batcave.
MOH: It was hard to go to the restroom in that suit. Besides that, everything went real smoothly.
Mike, what was it like doing the outdoor flying shots? That had to be the ultimate fantasy come true.
MOH: YOU HAVE NO IDEA! I have these old videos of me and my brothers jumping off our 2-story house when we were kids. I thought that was fun but scary. The way they taught me how to do the flying (on WF) was amazing. I’m going up to work with the stunt director Scott who taught me the most amazing stunt work. Air rams, Russian swings–this guy’s had me flying 40-50 feet onto an airbag. He had me doing high falls from 30 ft. This place was like a kid’s playground for grownups. You’ll actually see some of this if Sandy releases the behind the scenes footage.
What are your thoughts on some of the recent superhero films to hit the big screen?
CB: I loved Spidey 2 – the Hulk was something to be desired. Hellboy rocked and I think Bale will be a good Batman.
MOH: Got to tell you… I loved X-Men, or should I say I loved Wolverine. Is it me or how much did he (Jackman) remind you of a young Clint Eastwood? Oh, I loved Spiderman 2. Hellboy (Ron Perlman–Dude you Rock!) was great. The Keeper of Time, Barbarian. OK, so those last two were my movies. But I want the fans to go out and rent them.
If Sandy asked would you suit up as Batman or Superman would you do it again?
MOH: I’m hoping I can work with Sandy again at the end of the year.
CB: H@## yes!
When itâ€™s all said and done, at the end of the day, Clark o you ever turn to your wife and say â€œIâ€™m BATMANâ€?
CB: Yeah, I’m usually naked! She just laughs and says shut up and get dressed Batman is much more impressive.
What are you working on now? (upcoming projects)
CB: Check out: www.3dabs.com. I have an infomercial launching Aug. 7th with that product. I have several more products to follow that you will se on QVC and in retail locations. I am also working on some new supplements available at selected stores and at my website: www.ClarkBartram.com. Iâ€™m very excited about the possibility of being involved with the Tales of Midnight feature film.
MOH: I am collaborating with Andy Brynarski (you may know him from Texas Chainsaw Massacre as Leather Face, and as Max Shrekâ€™s son in Batman Returns) We’ve been friends for years, we are moving ahead on a joint project we got a green light. You can find out more at my website: www.MikeOhearn.com
Any last words for the fans?
CB Thanks for all of the positive feedback from the fans and I’m always here.
MOH: I do want to say thanks to the positive responses I have received from the majority of the fans. We’re out there doing this for free so we can bring an icon to life, and I think we did a great job. I’m glad the majority feels the same.
SHH would like to thank Clark Bartram & Michael Oâ€™Hearn for taking time to chat with us. Please feel free to visit them at their websites above.
And check out: www.CapedWonder.com to view the Worldâ€™s Finest trailer.
Next up, I’ll have an interview with the director & star of GRAYSON!