Warning: This article contains spoilers for Gotham.
Ben McKenzie is known to Gotham fans as James Gordon, the police detective and future commissioner responsible for keeping the law enforcement community honest amid rampant corruption. Telling the origin stories for a number of villains, as well as for Bruce Wayne’s Batman (David Mazouz), Gotham may be the only comic book adaptation on television that doesn’t have a superhero. McKenzie dishes on how that will be changing, beginning with “Heroes Rise: These Delicate and Dark Obsessions,” the episode Ben directed for this week’s installment of Gotham.
Ben McKenzie Wanted No Wires, But What’s Gotham Without a Flying Bat?
The New York Times reports that Ben McKenzie wasn’t too keen on joining a comic book adaptation with superheroes flying around on wires. In fact, the actor approached Gotham creator Bruno Heller and the series showrunner Danny Cannon about it and managed to get them to promise there would be no wire work on Gotham.
“It’s Batman, it’s supposed to feel a little more grounded, it’s supposed to feel more like the Christopher Nolan films,” McKenzie says about his vision for Gotham.
For three years, the Gotham bosses kept their word, but then fate took an ironic turn.
“So, of course, I’m the one director that brings in the wires,” Ben says, referring to this week’s episode.
McKenzie recalls the first season of Gotham in which the entire creative team did everything they could to separate the Batman origin series from other superheroes currently saturating the market. They had hard and fast rules about keeping Gotham free of superheroes flying around at supersonic speeds and donning capes and tights.
Over time, however, McKenzie says they started to break their own rules, as the series began exploring the origins of some of the DC universe’s more fantastical villains. In this episode, for example, McKenzie hints that we will get to see David Mazouz take flight, via those wires, for the first time.
“Now that we know what the show is, we break our own rules a bit,” he teases.
Ben McKenzie Embraced the Challenge of Directing a “Still” Episode
The Gotham star opened up further with Screen Rant about his first experience in directing an episode of the Batman prequel series. McKenzie says he found that he knew more than he thought he did about directing through his experiences as an actor and was surprised that questions from the cast and crew didn’t stump him as often as he had expected.
Ben adds that, as the director, he found that he was constantly being asked for his opinion on everything from wardrobe to scene location. It was a busier position than he expected, but the Gotham star says he was pleased with his ability to step up and take control.
Directing “Heroes Rise: These Delicate and Dark Obsessions,” Ben says people commented on the “stillness” of the episode, implying it’s a slow-moving installment in the show’s third season. McKenzie says he liked that aspect of the episode and points out that, while it may be a “still” story, it’s certainly not boring.
Among the various scenes in the episode, Mr. McKenzie says Gotham fans can look forward to a decapitation, several shootings, an assault that involves the use of a gardening tool, and a suicide.
“I like it when our show is able to go to wherever we need to go to, violence-wise, but with a certain, let’s call it class. There’s always knifing and dicing in the show, but even that’s relatively elegant. So that’s how I tried to handle that.”
The next episode of Gotham airs on Monday, May 1 on Fox.
[Featured Image by Fox]