Donal Logue on GOTHAM’s Setting and Conflict

I feel a lot of people are still confused about the path Fox is taking with their Batman-inspired series, Gotham. After the many casting announcements last week, I read a lot of complaints about Ben McKenzie being cast as Jim Gordon, who will serve as the central character in the series which will also explore the rise of Gotham City’s infamous villains. Most of the casting gripes have been over the age of all the actors — do they not get that this takes place long before Bruce Wayne dawns the cape and cowl? I’m hoping these comments from Donal Logue, who was announced to play Harvey Bullock, will help clear up some of that confusion. In an interview with Nerd Repository, Logue talked about he’s gonna approach his character, the conflicts that will drive the series, and the show’s setting and timeline. 

We’ve seen many iterations of Detective Bullock throughout the years in the comics and in the animated series. However, Logue will be the first actor to play the character in a live-action film or series. When asked about what his take on the character will be, Logue seemed keen on making it his own.

“It’s dangerous, because my kids watched the animated series and I remember listening to it over the speaker on road trips up to Oregon, I would hear it. It’s that tricky thing where I’m not that guy, I don’t look visually like the guy even in the cartoon. Then there’s that weird thing where I don’t want to take someone’s choice from the cartoon and match it. I want to create a character, no different from Lee Toric in Sons of Anarchy or King Horik [from History's Vikings] or Hank Dolworth in Terriers. They’re all uniquely different scenarios and I don’t want to feel forced to do an impersonation of something else, which is a difficult thing to keep up over the course of a longer series. So we’ll have those talks.”

In Gotham, the Bullock-Gordon dynamic has been reversed in some ways from what we’ve seen in the past. We’ve always seen Gordon as Bullock’s superior. But in this series, the future Commissioner of Gotham will be introduced as an idealistic rookie with Bullock being the more experienced one. Here Logue explains how Bullock’s willingness to play a bit "fast and loose" with the rules will setup the core conflict between the characters.

"There’s kind of an ambiguous line between good and bad. We have to let certain bad guys do certain things, in order for the greater good, for this machine to keep working. And then someone comes in who’s like 'No, I have a much more black and white view, I’m not into this notion of moral relativism. There’s right and there’s wrong.'....And what is law? Is law this platonic form of truth that floats in space that is fixed, or is it something that’s this arbitrary thing where it’s like ‘the law is me and you, right now, in this car. Whatever we determine, that’s the law.’ And that’s the kind of thing that will be a conflict in this show."

When asked about the show’s setting and timeline, Logue teased:

“You know what, that’s hard for me to really get into, I don’t want to say. But there were a couple of examples of modern technology, but maybe an antiquated version of it, that gave me a little bit of sense that it’s certainly not the 50s and the 60s. No one’s making a joke about how ‘there’s no way you can press a telephone button and have a piece of paper show up in another machine.’ There is an acceptance of a certain technological reality. But its not high tech and it’s not futuristic, by any means.”

“What I do love about Gotham, that I can say so far, is that it creates this incredible world that, for me, you can step into things that almost feel like the roaring 20s, and then there’s this other really kind of heavy Blade Runner vibe floating around. It has this anachronistic element to it where it feels like it’s either New York in the 70s, or it kind of exists independently of time and space in a way, and you can dip into all of these different genres. So I’m excited by it. There are elements of it that are completely contemporary and there are pieces of it that are very old-fashioned. I’m excited to see which way they go with the production design and wardrobe and all that kind of stuff.”

Logue obviously had to keep tight lipped about certain things, but what he was allowed to say still paints a clearer picture of what the series will entail. Production on the pilot begins in a couple of weeks. Along with Logue and McKenzie, the confirmed cast includes Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth, Robin Lord Taylor as the Penguin, Zabryna Guevara as Captain Detective Gordon’s boss, and Erin Richards as Barbara Kean (Gordon's fiance). Casting for young Bruce Wayne has yet to be announced. For more info on those characters click here. To read the rest of the interview with Logue head over to Nerd Repository

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