Adam West: 'If I didn't love Batman, I'd be a little bit strange'

The inimitable Adam West talks about playing Batman once again for a special level based on the much-loved 1960s TV show in LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, and why he's the "luckiest actor in the world".

Nic Healey
Nic Healey Senior Editor / Australia
Nic Healey is a Senior Editor with CNET, based in the Australia office. His passions include bourbon, video games and boring strangers with photos of his cat.
3 min read

Warner Bros.
At 86 years of age, Adam West's career in film and TV has spanned six decades. But if there's one role he'll always be best known for, it's the eponymous Batman from the campy 1960s TV series.

It's a role that's defined a lot of his career and one that he returns to in LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, where he appears in a entire level that emulates the fun and feel of the TV show -- complete with POW! and BAM! graphics, of course. He voices himself in each level for a hidden "Adam West in Peril" where players need to find Adam.

And if that wasn't enough, the entire original Batman series has been completely remastered for Blu-ray, with West contributing heavily to the over three hours of never-before-seen additional content.

CNET spoke with Adam West about the game and this wildly enduring role.

Back in 1968, did you think this character was going to become such an integral part of your life?

No, not really. Not for about a week. And then I thought 'oh my God, I've had it'. I don't want to sound like some idiot tortured actor who got himself caught up running around in a cape and cowl and tights and was certainly typecast after that -- but I was.

However, I've brought so many laughs and so much happiness to so many people that if I didn't love Batman I'd be a little bit strange.

Why is it that some actors who have that kind of success will put down or in some way negate those characters they've created? I just refuse to do that.

Was it a strange experience coming back to the role for a LEGO videogame?

No, it was fun -- this new Batman game is great! And I get to play an exaggerated version of classic Batman -- I guess you'd call it sort of 'game style'.

We tried to bring the show's tone to the game and really hit a new audience. The kids love the excitement and the adventure and running around, but the adults get to enjoy that we keep the humour.

You also voice yourself -- something you're a little familiar with thanks to Family Guy, where you play Mayor Adam West.

I do, and this was a lot like it is in Family Guy -- it's me, but once again an exaggerated version of me. And you know, playing yourself is the hardest role an actor can take on. It's very difficult to play yourself -- it's a tight wire. But as long as they send the cheque, what the hell?

We've seen a lot of takes on the Batman character over the years -- each usually darker and grittier than the last -- but yours remains loved by fans. What's been the lasting appeal?

If an audience has affection for a leading character then that show has a chance to last forever.

When you do it on so many levels like we did back then, with the bright colours and the humour and the social satire, well it gave the show and my take on the Batman a chance at true longevity. I have to say again -- how many actors would give everything to play a character that becomes iconic and lasts for 40, 50 years?

This character has gone on and on for me -- it's never stopped. Doesn't that make me the luckiest actor in the world?

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is out now on Xbox One and PS4, Xbox 360 and PS3, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, PS Vita and PC.