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TV News: Showrunner Gives Big Update on GOTHAM

Written by Andrew Pollard Friday, 09 May 2014

TV News

With FOX recently confirming that GOTHAM will get the full series treatment, speaking to EW, showrunner Bruno Heller has given the most comprehensive details on the show to date.

About the world that’s being created, Heller said, “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 they have no super powers. Nobody flies or leaps over buildings. You start with psychology and that’s where we build from.”

On which comic books the show will pull from, he added, “I read everything I could and then – I didn’t throw it away, but I started fresh. I would hate to pick a particular Batman iteration because I would be dismissing others. But for me, THE KILLING JOKE was one of the great ones in the comic books. Obviously, the [Frank] Miller version as well.”

In terms of the look at style of GOTHAM’s world, Heller said, “I would say in terms of what we are doing, visually, GOTHAM will surpass the Batman movies. The movies are 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 colourful place, it’s a more vivid place, it’s more crowded. The inspiration for me and Danny [Cannon, director executive producer] was New York in the ‘70s, because we both remember that as a seminal moment, coming to the city for the first time.”

With younger incarnations of Catwoman, The Riddler and Penguin already cast, Heller was asked about a certain Mr. J. “He’s the crown jewel of the Batman villains,” he said. “He will be brought in with great care and a lot of thought.”

Then asked about how knowing the endgame in terms of these characters and this world may influence what they are able to do with the show’s key players and bring about some predictability, Heller said, “No. Because there’s lots of other people in the world, and one of the conceits of the show is, where did they get all their ideas? There’s precursors to that for the villains and the heroes. They got inspiration from other people, and it’s about how they got to that point in the world. It’s invigorating and expansive how many stories you can tell once you get away from the gravity of Batman.”

It’s previously been said that the show’s final moments will see Bruce Wayne donning the cape and cowl and becoming Batman. Heller confirmed that is still the plain, but that it won’t be until“six or seven years down the line. Hopefully.”

The official word on the Jim Gordon-centric show reads:

Everyone knows the name Commissioner Gordon. He is one of the crime world’s greatest foes, a man whose reputation is synonymous with law and order. But what is known of Gordon’s story and his rise from rookie detective to Police Commissioner? What did it take to navigate the multiple layers of corruption that secretly ruled Gotham City, the spawning ground of the world’s most iconic villains? And what circumstances created them – the larger-than-life personas who would become Catwoman, The Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face and The Joker?

GOTHAM is an origin story of the great DC Comics super villains and vigilantes, revealing an entirely new chapter that has never been told. From executive producer/writer Bruno Heller (THE MENTALIST, ROME), GOTHAM follows one cop’s rise through a dangerously corrupt city teetering on the edge of evil and chronicles the birth of one of the most popular super heroes of our time.

Growing up in Gotham City’s surrounding suburbs, James Gordon (Ben McKenzie, SOUTHLAND, THE O.C.) romanticized the city as a glamorous and exciting metropolis where his late father once served as a successful district attorney. Now, two weeks into his new job as a Gotham City detective and engaged to his beloved fiancée, Barbara Kean (Erin Richards, OPEN GRAVE, BREAKING IN), Gordon is living his dream – even as he hopes to restore the city back to the pure version he remembers it was as a kid.

Brave, honest and ready to prove himself, the newly-minted detective is partnered with the brash, but shrewd police legend Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue, SONS OF ANARCHY, TERRIERS, VIKINS, COPPER), as the two stumble upon the city’s highest-profile case ever: the murder of local billionaires Thomas and Martha Wayne. At the scene of the crime, Gordon meets the sole survivor: the Waynes’ hauntingly intense 12-year-old son, Bruce (David Mazouz, TOUCH), toward whom the young detective feels an inexplicable kinship. Moved by the boy’s profound loss, Gordon vows to catch the killer.

As he navigates the often-underhanded politics of Gotham’s criminal justice system, Gordon will confront imposing gang boss Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith, THE MATRIX, HAWTHORNE, COLLATERAL), and many of the characters who will become some of fiction’s most renowned, enduring villains, including a teenaged Selina Kyle/the future Catwoman (acting newcomer Camren Bicondova) and Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor, THE WALKING DEAD, ANOTHER EARTH).

Although the crime drama will follow Gordon’s turbulent and singular rise through the Gotham City police department, led by Police Captain Sarah Essen (Zabryna Guevara, BURN NOTICE), it also will focus on the unlikely friendship Gordon forms with the young heir to the Wayne fortune, who is being raised by his unflappable butler, Alfred (Sean Pertwee, CAMELOT, ELEMENTARY). It is a friendship that will last them all of their lives, playing a crucial role in helping the young boy eventually become the crusader he’s destined to be.

GOTHAM will debut during the second half of 2014.

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