10 Things We Learned from the Justice League: War Event at Paley Center

Super Friends, the animated series that ran on ABC from 1973-84, was an integral part of Saturday mornings for many kids. A core group of superheroes—led at first by Aquaman, Batman (and Robin), Superman and Wonder Woman—joined forces to fight evil doers. Remember the Hall of Justice? Wonder Woman’s invisible jet? The Wonder Twins? Gleek?

But times have changed. And so have the animated masked- and caped-crusaders, as evidenced in Justice League: War, the latest release of DC’s original PG-13 movies, out on DVD/Blu-Ray today (Feb. 4). These superheroes are not friends; they’re treated more like vigilantes than heroes...even Wonder Woman gets called out for dressing like a whore!

But what also sets Justice League: War apart from the old series, is that it boasts a star-studded cast with faces NOT made for animation. In the film, we hear the voices of Jason O’Mara (The Good Wife) as Batman; Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds) as Cyborg; Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs) as The Flash; Justin Kirk (Weeds) as Green Lantern, Michelle Monaghan (Mission Impossible III) as Wonder Woman; Alan Tudyk (Suburgatory, Firefly) as Superman; Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) as Shazam; and Rocky Carroll (NCIS) as Cyborg’s father Silas Stone.

At a Paley Center event last Thursday, LAist got a chance to preview the movie and talk to some of the cast and creative execs about this latest iteration, comic book heroes and super powers.

So here are 10 things we learned during the Paley Center’s event:

10. [Spoiler] Purists beware. The movie strays from the Geoff Johns and Jim Lee's Justice League: Origin comic in a big way as Aquaman has been replaced by Shazam/Captain Marvel.

9. Heath Corson, screenwriter, said that one of his influences was The Avengers. “Joss Whedon’s a god. He brings these characters...they meet each other, they have fun with each other, they hate each other. Same sort of thing...you’ll see a lot of influence from that.”

8. Bruce Thomas, voice of the villain Desaad, said Batman was his favorite superhero. "I actually got to play Batman in a series of Onstar commercials 12 years ago. That was a whole bunch of fun and a dream come true….”

7. Shemar Moore said he’d love to play Cyborg in a feature film...or be “an action figure at Toys”R”Us.”

6. When we asked Moore to choose a super power, his answer surprised us: “I’m going to be a Hallmark Card right now. I would like to cure multiple sclerosis because my mother has multiple sclerosis…Now on the fun side, if I could tell the future or read people’s thoughts…[I’d like to] see it coming before it happens.”

5. When we asked Gorham the same question, he couldn’t decide at first between mind reading or flying. (He ultimately picked the latter.) But he knew one thing: “I wouldn’t choose invisibility. There’s that whole clothes thing that makes it really complicated...I wouldn’t want to walk around commando every where I go!”

4. Jay Olivia, who’s also directed the animated Batman: The Dark Night, Parts 1 and 2, among other titles, never went to film or art school. “I went to school to be a doctor. I wanted to be a pediatician.” He said that he took a few film and animation classes and his student film was spotted by Marvel...and the rest is history.

3. Dialogue/Casting Director Andrea Romano, a veteran of the industry, has a huge following—and in a roomful of guys—probably got the warmest reception from the crowd.

2. Though he can defeat The Joker, Bane et al, even Batman can the flu. (O’Mara had to cancel last-minute because of illness, which was a total bummer.)

1. The film has a lot of humor, and in one of our favorite funny scenes, Wonder Woman tries ice cream for the first time in the movie. Her reaction is pretty amazing.