Friday, May 30, 2014

[Gotham] EW's exclusive interview with Bruno Heller

Entertainment Weekly asked Bruno Heller about his upcoming FOX series Gotham and the ideas and inspiration that will drive this show which he even proudly claimed will be visually superior to the Christopher Nolan movies themselves. 

He said some really interesting things during the interview and it has given us enough substantial tidbits on what to expect and watch out for. Heller did express some hesitation for the project when he remarks: "I don’t think Batman works very well on TV — to have people behind masks. Frankly, all those superhero stories I’ve seen, I always love them until they get into the costume. And then it’s, “Oh, okay, they’ve ascended, they’ve stopped becoming humans.” It’s their apotheosis. They go to heaven and they’re Superman. There have been so many great versions of it. This is a version of something else entirely." 

That said, the premise of the show would like to examine and fully explore the question, What if young James Gordon was the detective who investigated the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents? According to Heller, this will open up a refreshing and exciting line of storytelling pertaining to a world before Batman which could then provide us with an array of origin stories from both heroes and villains of Gotham City. To illustrate the creative process in the writing room for Gotham, Heller enlightens us with the basic rundown of how the show will expand its setting and characters: 

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 they 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.

So far, so good. It does seem like he wants to focus on character-driven narratives which might give his show a Lost-esque vibe if every episode is character-centric. It's a novel idea, personally. Heller also added that Gotham will be more of a serialized series than procedural which came as a surprise to me, considering this is network TV, but I suppose that should make the series standout from the other crime procedural. Another thing that would blows my mind is Heller's plan to bring in the Joker some time during the show (I wonder if it's by the middle or end of the first season), considering he did state that his favorite Batman comic book is Alan Moore's The Killing Joke.

In regards to people's tendency to compare the show with the Nolan movies, Heller has this to say:

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.

I do appreciate that Heller plans to incorporate some color and life to Gotham and then deeply contrast that with the darkness and grime underneath. And though I'm largely a Gordon fan, I'm glad we also get Harvey Bullock, the 'other' detective of the original Batman stories. I'm quite the sucker for buddy cop dramas anyway and it would be interesting to see how Heller plans to develop and play out Gordon and Bullock on screen together; how their characters would react to each other and grow through one another. But aside from that dynamic, I very much look forward as to how they will handle the character of the young Bruce Wayne. From what I can discern, Gotham is strictly pre-Batman so we won't ever get to see him as the hero he will become but the process and motivation that will lead for him to one day take up the mask and costume. I'm very excited about this because I love Batman because of who he is underneath as well; that broken, traumatized child whose loved ones were taken away from him by a brutal, random crime. I wanted to see how the actor will play that angst on an intimate level. I want to see how his relationship with Jim Gordon is going to be, and yes, I'm excited to see their take on Alfred as well because he's always been the center that grounds Bruce growing up. On Bruce Wayne's character, Heller gives us this promise:

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.

You can read the rest of the interview HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment