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Tonight marks the debut of Nicholas D’Agosto as Harvey Dent on Gotham, and as one of the biggest characters in the Batman mythos, the actor had his work cut out for him. Although the likelihood of dent becoming Two-Face on the show is slim, future episodes will feature him fighting as a public crusader while struggling with his inner darkness. There were many details D’Agosto needed to work on to effectively portray Dent on the small screen, but one of his biggest challenges came from something small, yet oddly significant: learning to flip a coin with his left hand.
D’Agosto told DC Comics that when preparing for the role of Gotham City’s assistant district attorney, it was difficult learning not use his right hand to flip the iconic two-headed coin, seeing as the duality-obsessed villain typically holds the coin in his left in the comic books.
“I can tell you one [decision], actually, that I really debated, but I made it because I felt like it was the real fan choice. In every version of every picture I saw of Two-Face, he’s holding the gun in his right hand and he’s flipping the coin in his left, but I’m right handed. I was a little bit intimidated by the idea of using my less dominant hand because if I ever dropped the coin, the take is ruined. But I did it.”
As a longtime reader of Batman comics, I’m surprised that I never noticed which hand he flipped with, but a quick search shows that D’Agosto is right. Most comic book artists show Two-Face flipping with the left hand, and Aaron Eckhart followed this model in The Dark Knight.
Most viewers probably wouldn’t have cared which hand he was using, but wanting to stay true to the character, D’Agosto set aside time to practice flipping with his other hand.
“If every picture was Two-Face with the coin in his left hand, well darn it, I was going to put that coin in my left hand. So I practiced all weekend, talking and flipping the coin, and I did all right, thankfully. I feel pretty good about it!”
Of course, not every adaptation of Two-Face has followed the left-handed model. Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face flipped the coin in his right hand in Batman Forever, but then again, that film might not be the best example of staying true to the source material. There have also been a few artists that have placed the coin on the right side.
Regardless, although it will be years until Harvey scratches out one side of the coin and starts using it to make even those most trivial of decisions, Harvey will still use the coin to make his own luck while fighting for justice in Gotham, and he’ll be flipping it in his left hand. So for any Two-Face cosplayers out there, make sure you keep your coin out of that right hand if you want to truly embody Gotham's tragic character.