Gotham Showrunner Talks His Batman-less Show: “Look, Most Stories That People Tell Don’t Have Batman In Them”

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Entertainment Weekly did an interview with Gotham showrunner Bruno Heller, and there are a lot of interesting tidbits in there—how Gotham will compare visually to the Batman movies, whether the Joker will show up eventually, comparisons to Agents of Shield, the bold claim that ickle Bruce Wayne actor David Mazouz (he of the “tragic gravitas“) is better than all other Batman actors in the history of ever. But I’ve put my favorite bit in the headline. How do you do a Batman movie without Batman, Bruno Heller? “Most stories that people tell don’t have Batman in them,” so back off his jock, OK? I’m in love.

There’s been a fair amount of skepticism regarding Gotham: Our own Susana Polo was iffy from the get-go about how the show can translate the origin stories of many of Batman’s adversaries to be Batman-less. And there’s a (supposed) leaked script floating around that, word has it, is pretty bad. But Heller has enough confidence for, like, the entire Internet. Asked about whether he’s worried people will compare his show to the Nolan trilogy, particularly in terms of visual presentation, he said “I’m not at all concerned. Actually I would…” after a pause to adjust his brass balls, he continued:

“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.”

He also thinks Christian Bale is just OK, he guesses, compared to 12-year-old David Mazouz, who 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.”

Heller also spoke about one of the criticisms frequently leveled at Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD: That it’s taking place in the boring corner of an exciting universe (my understanding is that the complaint is more along the lines of “it’s set in a potentially exciting corner of an exciting universe, but its characters are boring as hell,” but hey, people say that other thing too). “Not to comment on Agents of SHIELD, but [the SHIELD agents] are in the same temporal space as their superheroes. So while watching it, I imagine you feel, well, it’s kind of mean not to show us Thor. If Thor is there in the next room, or the next town, why not come by and see us?” Way not to comment on Agents of SHIELD there. He continues:

“For Gotham, if we could bring Batman in to say hello, he’d say hello. It’s not that the celebrities are in the VIP lounge while you’re out front wondering where they are. In this case, the heroes aren’t ‘born’ yet. They’re kids. I am cognizant of that as an issue. But look: Most stories that people tell don’t have Batman in them. You’ve just got to make the story you tell as compelling as it can be.”

Among the villainous “kids” showing up in Gotham are origin story are Riddler, Penguin, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and “possibly Harvey Dent.” But what about the Joker? Will Batman’s most famous foe put in an appearance? Spoilers! “He’s the crown jewel of the Batman villains. He will be brought in with great care and a lot of thought.”

On the subject of villains, Heller also said that some of them might be snuck in under the radar, because “we’re starting way before these villains even themselves knew they were villains. Some of them started out as good guys. So there will be a lot of that.” Mob boss Fish Mooney, played by Jada Pinkett Smith, won’t be revealed as someone from established canon. But there’s nothing to say that the little old lady Alfred hires to clean Wayne Manor every Tuesday was actually young Bane the entire time. Surprise!

(via: Entertainment Weekly)

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