We’ve known for quite some time that classic Batman villains like The Penguin, Catwoman, and The Riddler would show up in some form or another on Fox’s new Batman prequel series “Gotham.” But what about the Clown Prince of Crime himself, The Joker? In an interview with EW, showrunner Bruno Heller definitively answers the question by saying that we’ll absolutely be seeing The Joker appear in the new series – but that isn’t all he says. This guy is either a little nuts, or he’s insanely confident in his upcoming show, because in the same interview, he drops what some might consider to be a little trash-talk on the look of Nolan’s Bat-trilogy and on every actor who’s ever played Bruce Wayne.
Let’s run through some of the highlights.
On The Joker, and how they’ll live in the shadow of Heath Ledger’s portrayal:
[The Joker is] the crown jewel of the Batman villains. He will be brought in with great care and a lot of thought.
I’ve written scenes for Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony and Cleopatra. So while that is a serious and valid note, you can’t get into doing this without going there. That was a wonderful performance and — apart from everything else — wonderful make-up. And we should try to live up to that. It will be a different character. It’s certainly going to be more Heath Ledger than Cesar Romero. But like I say, all of these people are real people with feelings and emotions and history and parents. I just build from that.
If he thinks Nolan’s recent films will make people draw unfair comparisons between the movies and the show, especially on a visual level:
I’m not at all concerned. Actually I would [pauses … considers] — yeah, in that area, I would say in terms of what [director and executive producer Danny Cannon and director of photography David Stockton] are doing — visually — Gotham will surpass the Batman movies. The movies are a very rigorous, kind of Germanic take on that world. They’re visually stunning, but not particularly visually pleasurable. I would say this is much more on the street level of Gotham. There’s more people, it’s a more colorful place, it’s a more vivid place, it’s more crowded. The inspiration for me and Danny was New York in the ’70s, because we both remember that as a seminal moment, coming to the city for the first time. This is very much that kind of Gotham — intensely visual and three-dimensional and layered and gritty and dirty and sexy and dangerous. From that point of view — and it’s easy for me to say, I just have to write the thing, Danny and David have to visualize it — but I think you’ll see it’s fabulous.
On David Mazouz, the show’s young Bruce Wayne:
Well, I will say [actor] David Mazouz is, without doubt, the best actor ever to play the part of Bruce Wayne. Without doubt — including the people who played Batman. He is a genuine prodigy of an actor, as you will see on screen. Frankly, before David was cast, I was ambivalent about how much we would use Bruce Wayne in the series.
Talking about how his show will look better than Nolan’s films is one thing (although Wally Pfister might have something to say about that), but I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that last part. Heller is basically saying, “Keaton? Garbage. Bale? A joke. David Mazouz is where it’s at, everyone.” Granted, I’ve never seen the kid act in anything before, but saying a 12-year-old is “without doubt, the best actor to ever play” Bruce Wayne is a total slap in the face to the guys who have played him before. Bale has won an Oscar, for God’s sake. I think there’s probably a more tactful way to talk up your young talent than hyping him as a better performer than an Oscar winner.
“Gotham” stars Ben McKenzie, Jada Pinkett Smith, Donal Logue, and a gaggle of others, and though I’m a bit hesitant about it, it’s worth noting that this show may be a bit more complicated than we thought. Check out the trailer below in case you haven’t seen it yet:
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