Bruno Heller, creator of FOX’s upcoming show Gotham, sat down with Entertainment Weekly for an exclusive interview. Heller is very confident in what he created and makes some pretty bold comparisons. He says that visually, Gotham exceeds all previous Batman movies and that David Mazouz is the best actor to ever play Bruce Wayne (yes, Heller claims he’s even better than Christian Bale). Heller also talks about the characters we’ll see in the first season, the Joker, and much more. Check out some interesting excerpts from the new interview below:
When reading your script, I kept thinking how difficult this must have been to write — there’s so many tough decisions that need to be made, so many ways to do this idea wrong. How did you decide the tone, how realistic vs. comic, which villains you would use? Can you talk me through the creative process?
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 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.
Which Batman characters are you likely to introduce this season?
Obviously, the Penguin, Riddler, young Catwoman, Alfred. Possibly Harvey Dent. Poison Ivy. Um … and then there will be others, but I hate to — I’m so used to doing a police procedural, so I’m used to telling, “Next week he’s going to go there.” With this, it’s very much storytelling. So I would be remiss to tell you who will show up when. I will say we’re not going to skimp on giving people the characters they want and expect from Gotham. But when and how they’re going to show up is half the fun. Penguin is one of those guys that, as soon as you see him, you go, “Oh, that’s the Penguin.” It would be hard to disguise him as somebody else.
You mentioned The Killing Joke. So you’ll bring in The Joker?
He’s the crown jewel of the Batman villains. He will be brought in with great care and a lot of thought.
Some feel Heath Ledger’s performance was so iconic it would be a mistake to try to do that character again so soon.
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.
Likewise, some think the Nolan movies were the best version that we’ve had from the Batman universe. With those having come out so recently, does that add some pressure — that people will make unfair comparisons, especially in terms of visual presentation?
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.
With Bruce Wayne, in the pilot we see him as we’ve seen him before — as a victim of a tragedy. And of course we know where he goes eventually. What function he serves in the series is unclear.
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.
Well, yeah, what do you do with him?
What do you do with a 12-year-old kid? Like I say, 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.
Fox chief Kevin Reilly said the pitch version of the show was that the final scene of the series would be Bruce Wayne putting on the cowl. Is that right?
Yes, whether metaphorically or literally — something like that. But that’s six or seven years down the line. Hopefully.
There’s a lot more in this interview, I’ve just scratched the surface here. Check out the full interview at the source link below.
SOURCE: Entertainment Weekly