From Fanboy to Filmmaker
a talk with the man who brought Batman to the silver screen
by Matt Ledger
Mark your Bat-Calendar for March 8, because UWEC is bringing Michael Uslan, the executive producer behind the modern Batman movie franchise (and yes, that list includes both Batman and Robin and The Dark Knight, and no, I don’t know how that works either), to The Forum at Zorn Arena. Uslan’s talk, entitled “From Fan to Filmmaker: The Journey to Bring Batman to the Silver Screen,” will center on the noted comic book fanboy’s struggles to convince Hollywood execs that a more serious Batman film would resonate with audiences and perform successfully at the box office. Uslan worked for more than two decades to realize his vision, which eventually spawned director Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film and led directly to the 2008 phenomenon that was The Dark Knight. So you basically have to concede that the man was right. Born and raised in New Jersey, Uslan has also taught a course in comic book folklore at Indiana University and donated a large part of his comic collection to their Lilly Library. In addition to the Batman franchise, Uslan has been a producer on such other films as Swamp Thing and The Spirit, and he won a Daytime Emmy for his work on the kids’ show Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?. Uslan’s talk is a part of UWEC’s weeklong “Be a Hero” campaign, which will also feature a screening of the Uslan-produced animated feature Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.