Published On: Mon, Sep 29th, 2014

Ben McKenzie on ‘Gotham,’ comparisons to ‘Southland’ and the Gordon mustache

Gotham returns tonight and star Ben McKenzie details his love of the Batman franchise, why there’s no Gordon mustache and much more. First up was the question on how he joined the cast.

Ben McKenzie as Jim Gordon Gotham ep 3 photo“In all honesty, I worked with Bruno Heller, last year, on a pilot.  Southland was ending, and we did a pilot for CBS that Warner Brothers produced, but it didn’t go to series.  So, Bruno called me in January or February of this year, and said, ‘I have a script that I’ve written.  I’d like to send it to you.  I’ve written the part of Jim Gordon with you in mind, and I’d like you to take a look.’  So, it started from that,” he says in the Sept. 29 interview with Collider.

“I’m a fan of Batman, but not a hardcore fan,” he confesses before comparing the role to Southland.

“Well, that’s a good question.  The overall similarity is probably in the mentality of law enforcement officers.  There’s a sense of wanting to really uphold a sense of morality and make sure that the laws are enforced to the letter, whenever possible.  I just got an email from the guy that did some of our tactical training on Southland, who was a cop in the LAPD, just congratulating me on Gotham.  They captured a serial killer recently who was on the run in L.A., blowing people away with shotguns.  There’s bad stuff that happens in real life.  In Gotham, it’s more that we want to keep a sense of realism, but at the same time, it is fantastical and it is meant to be a little bit more approachable, in the sense that it’s not so starkly drawn.  In Southland it was so real that, at times, it could be quite frightening.  We don’t want to acknowledge that people terrible things to each other.  In Gotham, we want to have a little bit more fun with it.  We want to feel free to take a certain amount of liberty with tactical stuff and just give it more of a throwback to an old school gumshoe, noir conceit, with a little bit of cop tactics in it, if that makes any sense.”

One of the more interesting issues is McKenzie sans mustache, a feature very iconic to the Jim Gordon character in the comic book.

“I had lengthy conversations with Bruno and Danny about all sorts of things, in meeting after meeting.  And then, as soon as it hit the internet that I was doing it, it felt like all anyone wanted to talk about was whether I would have a mustache or not.  I thought about ringing Bruno and being like, ‘Uh, one last thing . . .’  We just literally never talked about it.  And then, I brought it up to him and he said, “No, that would look ridiculous on you.  We’re not doing that.”  It’s 20 years before he can grow into the maturity and wisdom that it takes to sport a mustache, and that’s the line we’re sticking to.  Maybe 20 years from now, the mustache will feel earned.  For the record, I can grow the mustache.  If you think that I can’t, you should watch Junebug.  I’m not afraid of the mustache.  I just don’t feel it’s appropriate for the image.”

Check out the full interview at Collider

Gotham airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on Fox.

Ben McKenzie Jim Gordon Gotham character photo

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About the Author

- Stephen is a contributor and writer on The Dispatch. Stephen is the founder and editor for the Steven Spielberg Fan Club website and contributes to pop culture stories on The Dispatch, especially upcoming movie news. Beginning in 2016, Stephen took the role of Managing Editor for the Tampa Dispatch.


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