‘Gotham’ has officially been picked up to series this fall by Fox.  The series will focus on the man who will one day become Commissioner Gordon in the Batman mythos, but this show features him as a young rookie cop, facing nascent versions of Gotham City’s classic villains.  Many were hesitant upon hearing the premise… “So it’s Batman… but with no Batman?”

Showrunner Bruno Heller breaks the silence regarding the highly anticipated series and proclaims that this will be the best Gotham City we’ve ever seen.

First, as to why this show is set before Bruce Wayne became Batman, Heller stated:

“For me, if they said, “Do Batman,” I would have said, “No.” I would have not been interested at all. I don’t think Batman works very well on TV — to have people behind masks. Frankly, all those superhero stories I’ve seen, I always love them until they get into the costume. And then it’s, “Oh, okay, they’ve ascended, they’ve stopped becoming humans.

“Gotham itself is much more a fascination for me than Batman specifically. When thinking about how to enter the DC world for… network TV, to do shows about superheroes — about people who wear spandex costumes — that doesn’t work very well. We want to see people’s faces. TV is about emotion and character, not stunts and special effects. This is a way of entering that world in a fresh way.”

To that end, Heller went on to describe the earliest creative processes:

“The first thing was starting with Jim Gordon, who is the most human and real and normal person in the DC pantheon. What would the city of Gotham look like to a young rookie cop coming into this world? And that’s where we calibrated. This is a world that’s going to become that familiar world of Batman, but it’s not there yet. It’s an embryo. A lot of the work was reverse engineering the story to look at what these characters were like when they younger. Penguin, for instance, is not a powerful gang leader, he’s a gofer for a gangster. It’s about giving the world room to grow, but at the same time giving the fun and pleasure and drama of that heightened world. One of the great things about the Batman world is [the characters] have no super powers. Nobody flies or leaps over buildings. You start with psychology and that’s where we build from.”

(Guess he’s never heard of Clayface or Killer Croc.)

When asked if the show would be serialized or more stand-alone procedural, he replied:

“There’s a procedural framework for it, but the world of ‘Gotham’ is too big and operatic and complex to do it any other way but serialized.”

When the big white and green and purple elephant in the room is brought up, Heller is game:

“[The Joker]’s the crown jewel of the Batman villains. He will be brought in with great care and a lot of thought… 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.

A bold statement to be sure, but when asked about a comparison to the Nolan movies, the showrunner is even bolder:

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.”

Heller then went into detail about the show’s approach to three of its central characters.  First Harvey Bullock:

“Harvey Bullock, for the comic book fans, he’s an iconic early Batman character. I always liked him just because he encapsulates the moral ambivalence and corrupt-but-fun quality of Gotham… Gordon is a complicated figure, but he’s very much a good guy. He’s an old-fashioned American hero. So it’s important to pair him with someone who has a darker and funnier side, and someone who personifies that ambivalence of Gotham. And we got Donal Logue playing the character. As soon as we got him, I was able to write the character with much more edge and comedy and wisdom because Donal has all those things in spades.”

Alfred Pennyworth:

“What kind of man would allow their teenage charge to turn into Batman? Obviously, someone with very original parenting notions. So yeah, he’s… a dangerous father figure. He’s a tough character, and Sean Pertwee plays Alfred with gravity and humor. We’re lucky to have him.”

And of course Bruce Wayne:

“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… He’s off-the-charts talented. So I’m hoping to use him as much as his mum will allow us to, and in the kind of stories you’d imagine. It’s not going to be young Bruce Wayne going out and saving the day, because that’s not what kids do. It’s about the strange education of this young man. He has a good idea of where he’s going early on. But it’s about the growth of this young man.”

So, huge proclamations from the ‘Gotham’ showrunner!  Visually surpassing the Batman movies?  Mazouz is the BEST actor to ever play Bruce Wayne?  Lofty words, sir!  We’ll have to wait until the fall to judge for ourselves.

Are you looking forward to ‘Gotham’?

Source: Entertainment Weekly