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The latter half of Gotham Season 2, subtitled “Wrath of the Villains,” has seen several notable members from Batman’s rogues gallery appear. Mr. Freeze made a great impression over his two episodes, and Professor Hugo Strange has taken over as the show’s overarching antagonist. Now, Clayface is the latest villain to take the stage, and for his live-action TV debut, he’ll be played by Brian McManamon.
McManamon, a New York City-based actor and acting instructor whose previous credits include Gossip Girl and Project Beth, tweeted this photo of himself with Gotham star Ben McKenzie last week, and Comicbook.com reported today that he’ll be playing the Basil Karlo version of Clayface. It wasn’t revealed whether he’ll be his usual gooey self or just be a normal human, but considering the other pre-villains viewers have seen on the show, he probably won’t be a nice guy. Plus, when the villain was first announced last year as one of the villains who would appear in Gotham Season 2, he was called Clayface, not Basil Karlo.
Introduced in 1940, Basil Karlo was a once-famous actor who grew furious when he learned that his most famous horror movie, The Terror, was being remade. Donning the costume of the villain he played, Clayface, he began killing the actors of this new production in the order that their characters died in the story, and he was eventually stopped by Batman and Robin. At first, Basil didn’t have any superpowers, and instead just wore elaborate costumes while carrying out his crimes. It was only after being approached by some of his Clayface successors in the “Mud Pack” arc that he gained the mud-like form and shapeshifting abilities that nearly all the Clayfaces have. The Basil Karlo Clayface previously appeared in The Batman animated series, and he’s also had a video game presence in the Batman: Arkham series, the Lego Batman series and DC Universe Online.
Depending on how Gotham uses Basil, he could someday become one of Batman’s frequent villains, or this could be a one-off appearance. As mentioned earlier, there have been other Clayfaces in the comics, like Matt Hagen and Preston Payne, so one of them could be the “real” Clayface, and Gotham’s Basil is just a disgruntled actor on a killing spree. As for whether we’ll see him turn gooey, Gotham has largely stayed in the boundaries of reality, so it seems unlikely. That said, moments like Hugo Strange’s experiments on bodies in the Indian Hill facility and Mr. Freeze’s formula altering his body have pushed the show more towards superhuman territory, so perhaps Basil will get to become something freakish as well.
New episodes of Gotham air Mondays at 8 p.m. on Fox.