Since last fall we've known that Fox would be bringing a Gotham City-set drama to the small screen. In fact, the network seemed so intent to make the Commissioner Gordon-focused Gotham happen that they sent the project straight to series, leading us to wonder who would succeed Gary Oldman and those who came before him in filling the police commissioner's shoes? As it happens, the newly casted actor is no stranger to playing a man with a badge. Southland's Ben McKenzie has been cast to star on Gotham.
Warner Bros. passed word along today, noting that McKenzie will play Detective James Gordon in the Fox series, which is based on characters published in DC Comics and will be an origin story for James Gordon and the villains that made Gotham famous. The pilot has been penned by The Mentalist's Bruno Heller, who's on board to executive produce, with Nikita's Danny Cannon set to direct and executive produce.
Knowing that Gotham bypassed the pilot stage and went straight to series, we can skip the part where we cross our fingers for good news this spring and head straight to crossing our fingers that this drama will hit the mark when it makes it to air. Gary Oldman played the role of Gordon in the Dark Knight films, and he undoubtedly set the bar high. But it sounds like McKenzie is ready for the challenge, as he Tweeted this earlier today:
While some may remember him as Officer Ben Sherman in Southland, others may associate him best for his role as Ryan Atwood in The O.C.. This will be his next big TV role since Southland wrapped up and it's certainly a big one with the potential to take his career to the next level. It'll be exciting to see how he fits into the role. THR describes this younger Gordon as brave, energetic and honest, having been fast-tracked through the Gotham City Police Department ranks. THR also notes that this isn't McKenzie's first brush with DC or Gotham, as he voiced Bruce Wayne/Batman in the DC animated movie adaptation of Batman: Year One.
With a lead actor locked in, we'll hopefully start hearing more casting news about this series in the coming weeks. We know that Gordon won't be the only familiar face to appear in this series. There are obviously the mentioned villains whose origin stories will also factor into the drama, and there's also been talk of an introduction to a young Bruce Wayne who -- from what's been reported -- sounds like he'll be pre-Batman during this timeframe, as Fox's Kevin Reilly has been quoted as saying "We will follow Bruce Wayne right up until the point where he gets interesting." We'll be sure to keep you posted if and when there are more casting updates.
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