Last weekend I had the privilege of representing Dark Knight News at the first annual Heroes & Villains Fanfest in London. One of the highlights was the Q&A panel that featured no less than 5 members of the cast of Gotham.
Representing the show were David Mazouz (Bruce Wayne), Sean Pertwee (Alfred Pennyworth), Robin Lord Taylor (Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin), Jessica Lucas (Tabitha Galavan/Tigress), Drew Powell (Butch) and Milo Ventimiglia (Jason Lennon/The Ogre).
Over the course of the event Dark Knight News secured exclusive interviews from three of these incredible actors – the first is already available. Keep your eyes peeled for one-on-one conversations with David Mazouz and Sean Pertwee, which will be coming up soon.
Here is part one of two, featuring the panel from the cast of Gotham.
Moderator: First of all, congratulations on season four.
The Cast: Yes! Season four!
Moderator: So… so far, in the U.K., have you guys had a good time?
Sean Pertwee: It’s home for me, so it’s brilliant.
Drew Powell: Sean’s been talking about this for years! Wait ’til you get to London!
Milo Ventimiglia: He even uses an accent.
(Laughs from the crowd)
Mod: So, Jessica. this is your first one with us. Is this your first convention ever?
Jessica Lucas: No, no. I’ve done the San Diego Comic-con a few times with this crew last year, which was fun. But no, this is a huge turnout! Wow!
(Cheers from the audience)
JL: This is my first time in London too, so…
Mod: It looks like almost every attendee is here now, so that’s pretty awesome.
DP: Clearly there’s a lot of Gotham fans in the U.K. and we sure appreciate it.
Mod: Right, so we’ll get started. Please, come up to the microphones, ask questions.
Fan: We all loved Clayface’s (impersonation) of Jim (Gordon). What would your Clayface impersonation be like? For your characters?
SP: Mine would be like Dick Van Dyke.
(Huge laughs and cheers)
Robin Lord Taylor: Mine would be Burgess Meredith, I think (Penguin from the 60s Adam West Batman TV show).
David Mazouz: I think Clayface kind of like, studies the person that he’s supposed to imitate, and he gets one emotion from that person, and then just copies that way too much. So I think he would just make a really drama queen, melodramatic Bruce.
JL: Yeah, I don’t think… He would never smile. He’s gotta get the frown down, he’s gotta get the look that I give Drew down.
DP: Yeah, yeah! She’s very good at giving me “The Butch Look,” I don’t know if it’s the Butch, or if it’s the Drew look… maybe a little bit of both. But I secretly try to get it from her, whenever we’re working, and I’m like “Seriously? Seriously?” and it’s very effective. I think it would be funny if Clayface was Butch, and he would like in a totally high pitched voice, I think, kick down the door and (In a shrill and lady-like angry voice screams) “You’d better come out here, or I’m gonna shoot you in the face!”
RLT: Wait Drew, are you sure it’s the Butch look, or is it the bitch look?
(Raucous laughter and cheers)
RLT: Yeah, let’s think about that.
We Are Family
It’s clear from the outset that this cast is close. The camaraderie and sense of family between all of them is palpable. The laughter is deep and real. Their bond and closeness – from three years of working together, as one of the finest ensemble casts in television – is strong.
Fan: Because we know that Fish Mooney is gonna be back in the next episode, do you think she’ll be permanently there throughout season four?
DP: How much money you got?
RLT: Stay tuned! I have to say that there’s some people here who have not seen season three, so… be well aware there are gonna be many spoilers!
JL: I think there’s always potential for characters to come back, even if they’ve died. You know our show brings people back all the time.
Mod: No one ever really dies…
MV: I haven’t figured that out yet. Didn’t help me out!
(Laughs and cheers)
DP: You shouldn’t have been such a jerk, then!
Mod: But, I will say this; The Ogre lives on in what he created, with Barbara Kean. It’s kind of your fault that she’s the psycho that we all love.
MV: Yes. Very much so. Which I think is great! I mean, I think it gave Erin (Richards) something else to play, and it gave Barbara, the character, somewhere to go. It was one of those discovering moments, that I know even (Gotham producers) John (Stephens) and Bruno (Heller) when I talked about it with them, yeah, we weren’t exactly sure what to do with Barbara and that scene, that dynamic between she and The Ogre, it gave them inspiration for where it went.
Mod: Were you able to still tune in? Do you watch and you’re like “That’s my girl!”?
MV: I’ll be hot! I even like the spoilers, I love it.
Loving And Living In Gotham City
Fan: My question’s for David. Are you and Selina ever gonna get together, come season four?
DM: What do you guys want?
(Even louder cheers)
DM: The honest answer is, I have no idea. So, I don’t know… we’ll see.
Fan: My question’s for Sean. What’s it like to play these famous iconic characters? (The fan didn’t quite grasp the mic, so Sean heard the question as ‘actors’, rather than ‘characters’. The on screen captions helped the other actors answer the question).
SP: Going to work with David is just an absolute joy, because he’s irritatingly good at his job! Honestly, seriously, he’s got a memory (like) a sponge, he’s devilishly handsome – as you can see – and then he nips off, in between doing really emotional scenes, nips upstairs to do some quantum physics! Because he’s good at that as well. And now, also, he can actually throw a punch! He’s a nightmare!
RLT: I would say it’s overwhelming, as actors… when you’re trying to get a job, you audition for everything, you’re throwing things at the wall, and waiting for something to stick… I just fell into this role, almost virtually unknown to playing a character that’s been around for 80 years! It’s unbelievable, and it’s something that you can’t, and you really shouldn’t, if you’re an actor prepare yourself for because it never happens. Except, in this case it did. So, it’s unbelievable… to be here with all of you, it blows me away.
Mod: For me, as a viewer, I know you say you fall into these roles, but it goes into how you portray your parts. I think these roles were created for you, because you all do such a phenomenal job. I am lucky, because I get to spend a lot of time with these folks, but when I’m watching the show, you’re your characters, you’re not you. So, good job! It’s amazing, it’s always so interesting.
RLT / DM: Thank you.
The Changing Of The Seasons
Fan: Will we be getting any Alfred and Bruce versus Sonny Gilzean and Butch Gilzean in season four?
(Big laughs and cheers)
DM: Let’s do it!
DP: No one’s ever asked that question before!
SP: We should take you to the car park now.
DP: Yeah, absolutely. The Gilzeans would take y’all down!
DM: Yeah, right!
DP: Bring it! I’m bringing the gatling gun. I’d like to know where Sonny Gilzean, like what – he’s my nephew? So what… I got a sister? Or a brother? Somebody find out for me, will ya?
JL: We need more of Butch’s story… Immediately.
Mod: One thing I know that I’ve discussed with several of you is the costuming; that’s one of my favorite parts of the show. Now we can ask Jessica, what’s it like to squeeze into those outfits?
JL: Um… It’s better now. The first season I was on, I wore corsets and was trying to do stunts in a corset, and so when we went into the second season I said we have to get rid of the corset, because I can’t breathe or move! So she has more of a military style look to wear this year, which I love. That costume is the key for me, for getting into character. They do such an incredible job in that department, so… yeah, the whip and everything…
DP: I’ve asked for a corset for next season.
JL: The jacket that I wear this year is the same jacket that Beyonce wore at the Superbowl, isn’t that cool? The black one with the gold buttons, it’s a Dsquared2 jacket. It’s really cool, very Janet Jackson.
DP: What does she smell like?
JL: It’s not the actual jacket, Drew! (She’s laughing now) It’s just the same style!
DP: Whatever. I bet she smells like butter.
(Huge laugh for the audience and the panel)
DP: It’s not weird, it’s not!
MV: No, butter smells good!
Who Is Batman?
Fan: Going back to Adam West, right up to Ben Affleck. For you, as the cast of Gotham, who do you think is your definitive Batman? Mine would be Kevin Conroy, in the Animated Series.
RLT: Great answer.
DP: I think we’re contractually obligated to say Ben McKenzie (Jim Gordon in Gotham and Bruce Wayne/Batman in the excellent Batman: Year One animated movie).
SP: I’d still go with – that’s the great thing about the Batman character, it sort of morphs with every generation – I know it sounds a little bit camp to sort of just talk about the Adam West years, but to be honest, I grew up – with my father being an actor – in New York, and I used to watch Adam West and I thought he was super cool. In fact, I used to bounce around with the cape on and everything, just like everybody else and to me, he was super cool. With every generation, you’ve all got your favorite Batmans for each of you.
RLT: All of us on the panel being different ages, there is a Batman that came up when we were discovering (the character) so, of course, for me it would be Michael Keaton.
JL: Yeah, Michael Keaton, and Val Kilmer too.
DP: Mine’s Will Arnett.
(Round of applause and cheers)
Fan: Any George Clooney?
Fan: I’ll leave it there…
SP: That’s the enduring Legacy of Batman. It’s about the (man) who stands up for the little guy, I wish we had one now.
DP: Fun fact. David has Christian Bale pyjamas. Not of Batman, but just pictures of Christian Bale. Super weird.
DM: Drew… I told you that in private.
Fan: Thanks for Gotham. I think it’s the most criminally underrated show of all time. My first question’s for Drew. You play Butch, and you’ve played him mind-controlled and you’ve played him post-mind control. Which one was your favorite one to play?
DP: That’s a great question. The thing about the mind control is, it was fun, but it was challenging too, because they actually wrote into the script the kind of twitch that he had, and that kind of came from the scene from the end of season one, where Fish goes over the edge, and it kind of fried him. That whole thing, where he didn’t want to kill her, but Penguin was making him shoot her. So that whole season two, until this one (pointing at Jessica Lucas), breaks him out of it, the twitch was part of it. Physically, it was really hard to do. (A) To remember (B) To get it just right, so that it wasn’t awkward and then (C) My neck hurt!
DP: Physically, it was a fun challenge. I really liked the stuff with Penguin, it made sense that I had to be mind-controlled to follow him. But, then I loved how there was this organic chemistry between the two very different characters and so, I secretly hope sometime that those two will get back together.
A Change Of Scene
Fan: For the whole of the cast of Gotham. You guys all have great scenes, what’s each of your individual favorite scenes?
SP: Me beating up Jessica Lucas.
JL: You didn’t beat me up! I’m pretty sure I won that fight!
SP: I’ve got just a quick story about that. Jessica did this extraordinary fight, and I have to say that they weren’t very giving with the costume she had to wear, the high heels, the corset. During the end of the fight, she shivs me, she punches me, I run outside, and she had this sickle knife, and I ran and I had to jump onto the back of this dumpster. So I jump on the back and I swear to God that she threw this thing, and it went like a boomerang and it hit me right in the back where it was supposed to!
JL: Yeah I did. I did do that. But it’s funny, because the first two times I did it, it went in the puddle right in front me. So they said, do you think you can get it in the air, at least? So when I actually threw it, I hit you right in the middle of the back, which was one of my proudest moments! That’s my favorite scene as well, actually. It was a lot of stunts, it took a long time to shoot, the pay-off was great.
DP: Mine was the Azrael goes boom scene. The Butchzooka.
(Laughter from the crowd)
Past, Present And Future
RLT: Mine was, it would have to be the scene in the pilot (episode) with me and Jim Gordon, on the pier. To me it felt like that was when my life changed, and it also felt like that was one of the many moments when the show kind off spun into the world, and we were launching the show. It was the moment that launched this whole experience, which has been mind-blowing.
DM: I hate to do this… my favorite scene hasn’t aired yet. I’m sorry.
(Moans and groans from the audience)
Mod: Which episode is it?
DM: It’s in the finale. It’s a two part finale, and it’s at the very end of the first part. Sorry guys, my bad.
An Ogre’s Tale
MV: Man! I had a lot of different scenes, played a lot of different notes with The Ogre. One being the guy who is actually truly looking for love, and then the guy who’s gone so far beyond what love actually is. I think some of my favorites were at the beginning, the opening of the character. In particular, this one dinner scene with a great actress named Willa Fitzgerald, where she doesn’t get the dinner cooked properly, and it was just a level of control and you knew it was bad news for her. That was one of my favorites.
Or like, fighting with Ben (McKenzie) at the end. Like a big battle going on, and running around this beautiful mansion. I had a bunch of them.
Mod: I loved the scenes between you and Erin (Richards)/Barbara Kean.
MV: Thank you.
Mod: In those scenes the control that you had over her was palpable. It’s like none of those scenes were shot with you more than four inches from her face. It was all very close up. Was that something that the two of you came up with, or was it something that the writers were like, don’t get this far away from her?
MV: I think when you’re playing a psychopath like Jason Lennon, you’re always looking for that control. Yes, there was physical control, but it was also very (psychological). I remember the scripts being not as descriptive, but you understood what needed to happen amongst the characters; the growth that needed to happen, the discovery that needed to happen. A lot of it was played within that intimacy, so it felt that we didn’t need to have loud or raised voices, or be across the room.
I felt like Jason was always a character that was quiet when he needed to be, and that he never needed to push the line of loud, because if it got loud it got incredibly dangerous. Not just for him, but for everyone else. So I think, especially with Barbara, it was kind of a place of love. Really, he loved her, and he knew that she loved him. So it didn’t need to be loud or excitable. The most intimate moments were the smallest, quietest where we could just be super close.
End Of Part One
So there you have it! That’s the mid-point of the incredible live Q&A panel with the cast of Gotham. It was fascinating to listen to, and there’s still more to come!
What did you think? As always, your thoughts and opinions are invaluable, so please let us know.