June 18, 2019

‘Gotham’ Creator Promises The Joker ‘We All Know And Love’

The Joker Alex Ross Art Gotham Creator Promises The Joker We All Know And Love

There was one announcement eagerly anticipated by nearly every Batman fan once the Gotham writers wasted no time in introducing the likes of Penguin, Catwoman, Riddler, Poison Ivy, and most recently, the Scarecrow. And after last week’s episode, it was finally confirmed: the Joker is on his way to Gotham, and far sooner than fans assumed. At least, that’s what was implied.

At the time we warned that there was a risk of a bait and switch in the name of ‘teasing’ or ‘playing’ with fan expectations, and we obviously weren’t alone. Executive producer Bruno Heller he remains coy, confirming that the minds behind the series are thinking long-term with Batman’s archnemesis – but it does seem that the red-haired young man known as ‘Jerome’ will become the Joker “we all know and love.”

For those who may have missed the Joker’s first official tease, it came in the form of a TV spot for Episode 16 (“The Blind Fortune Teller”) warning that the next DC Comics villain was “no joke”, with actor Cameron Monaghan (Shameless) laughing maniacally. Despite the obvious references made, Heller explains to THR that the cat isn’t out of the bag just yet:

 “He may or may not be The Joker… All I can promise is that’s not a bait and switch. It’s a long game we’re playing here.”

Heller’s choice of words will likely confuse, since his claim that the “no joke” tease is NOT a feint or misdirection seems to make it quite clear that Monaghan is, in fact, playing the boy who becomes the Joker. For now all that’s known is that Jerome has a connection to the circus which includes The Flying Graysons, and some circumstances bring him face to face with a young Jim Gordon.

Those not already on board with Gotham‘s willingness to break from comic canon may view the entire prospect of a teenage Joker with skepticism, since both he and Bruce Wayne are still – traditionally – years away from forming their alter egos. Yet all things considered, any hint at a version of Joker in Gotham was going to be met with some serious challenges.

Heller confirmed early on that there would be multiple Joker hints to keep fans guessing, which ran the risk of distracting from the stories told week to week. Casting an original villain caused speculation over a potential Joker-in-the-making, which risks detracting from the new character’s own qualities.

Heller explains why the Joker’s comic book origin provides some creative freedom, but reminds fans that Monaghan’s performance should be judged entirely on its own:

“The great fun of this show is that it’s the origin story of these famous characters, and with The Joker, the wonderful thing is that nobody knows where he came from and what his genesis was… What I can guarantee is that you have to follow that brilliant young actor Cameron Monaghan down the line, and you will see how this leads to the character we all know and love.

“When the episode is aired, people will see it’s not an imitation of somebody else or an homage to anyone. It’s a performance in and of itself.”

Gotham Young Joker Trailer Reveal Gotham Creator Promises The Joker We All Know And Love

It’s hard to agree with Heller’s assertion that part of the fun for the cast is providing “hints” of the comic villains they will grow to become, since more often than not, they are too on-the-nose for even casual movie fans to miss. Even if the executive producer has his hands tied when it comes to spoiling the show’s take on Joker, skeptics will be pleased to hear that he knows the core of the character lies with Batman, and not before him:

“In the pantheon of villains, he’s the dark king of this world, so it would be cheating the audience if we didn’t get into that. On the other hand, as those who are deep into the mythology know, the actual Joker — the full-on villain himself — does not appear until after Batman appears. That’s both a narrative opportunity and a narrative problem at the same time.”

What do you think of Heller’s comments on the matter of the showrunners’ plans for Joker? Does it seem that Monaghan will give the first of potentially several performances taking Jerome closer and closer to becoming the Clown Prince of Crime years down the road? Or do the creator’s previous claims that he would “fool people in the end” when it came to the Joker leave you with doubts? Sound off with your own thoughts in the comments.

Gotham airs Mondays @8pm on Fox.

Source: THR

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‘Gotham’ Creator Promises The Joker ‘We All Know And Love’

'Gotham': What to Read Over the Holiday Hiatus

Gotham might be off the air until Jan. 5, but devotees of the Fox series don’t have to find themselves bereft of James Gordon, Renee Montoya or Selina Kyle until then. With more than 75 years of Batman comic book material to draw on, The Hollywood Reporter has come up with a list of recommended reading for you to spend the next few weeks digging through, with enough Falcone crime family and GCPD drama to tide you over until the new year.

Batman: Earth One

In many ways the motherlode when it comes to inspiration for the show, Batman: Earth One not only features a badass Alfred Pennyworth that Sean Pertwee would be proud of, but it also centers around the growing friendship between Jim Gordon, newly arrived in Gotham City, and Harvey Bullock, who settled into corrupt, slovenly ways some time ago. As the title suggests, Batman is in here as well, but otherwise this is pretty close to Gotham as you see it on a weekly basis.

Available in digital and print format.

Batman: The Long Halloween

For those who enjoy the crime family element of the series, this year-long story (written by Jeph Loeb, current head of Marvel Studios’ TV division) should be a destination. It takes place early in Batman’s career, when the Dark Knight works with Gordon and a pre-Two-Face Harvey Dent to prevent a crime war between the Maroni and Falcone families. Featuring a who’s-who of Bat bad guys — including Scarecrow, Poison Ivy and the Joker — this might offer some closure if you’ve been waiting for all-out crime family showdown on the show.

Available in digital and print format; also available as Batman: The Long Halloween Nos. 1-13 digitally.

Gotham Central Book 1: In the Line of Duty

If the police procedural aspect of the show is what turns your crank, then the entire Gotham Central series is a must for you, starting with In the Line of Duty. The series centers around two shifts in the Gotham City Police Department, with the show’s Bullock, Montoya and Allen playing substantial roles as the cops — nowhere near as corrupt as the ones in the show — and dealing with cases from the everyday to the super-powered. Think Law & Order but with costumed perps, and you’re halfway there. It’s a wonderful series, and highly recommended.

Available in digital and print format; also available as Gotham Central Nos. 1-10 digitally.

Catwoman Vol. 2: No Easy Way Down

While the childhood of Selina Kyle is one that’s been left relatively unexplored in the comic books, this collection of Ed Brubaker’s career-defining run on the character offers up enough drama to fulfill the expectations of any Selina fan from the show. As another plus, this collection sees her up against Roman Sionis, aka Black Mask, from the show’s “The Mask” episode.

Available in digital and print format; also available as Catwoman (2002-2008) Nos. 10-24 and Catwoman Secret Files No. 1 digitally.

Gotham Academy

A wild card choice, this current comic series is a young adult-focused, set in a prep school (partly funded by Bruce Wayne) that centers on a group of students and their potentially haunted surroundings. Beyond just being a good read, what might make this worthwhile for Gotham fans is the fact that the series is increasingly delving into the background of the Cobblepot family, suggesting that they have roots that go back to the very beginning of Gotham City itself. Who knew that Oswald’s family had such social standing…?

Available in digital and print format.

Excerpt from: 

'Gotham': What to Read Over the Holiday Hiatus

Two-Face Is Not Ready for His Close-Up, Gotham

Nine episodes into Gotham, the show has done a relatively savvy job of building its world for viewers, fleshing out the throwback versions of established Batman characters it introduced in the pilot. There are a lot of people to account for: Bruce Wayne, Alfred, Jim Gordon, Catwoman, Penguin, Riddler, even Poison Ivy (though she hasn’t showed up again). So why, why, why, so early on in the season, do we need to get a half-baked take on Harvey Dent, who will one day become Two-Face? His portrayal played into all of Gotham’s worst impulses: Everyone seemed to be winking madly at the audience for every second he was onscreen.

“Harvey Dent! You know, one day he’ll be Two-Face!” the show, essentially, screamed as Nicholas D’Agosto stalked around flipping a coin about as much as he possibly could. Dent has been portrayed a variety of ways over the years—there’s Tommy Lee Jones’s vaudevillian psychotic of Batman Forever, Aaron Eckhart’s fallen hero in The Dark Knight, the truly coin-focused crime boss of the ‘90s animated series, etc. D’Agosto is making the slightly unusual choice of lending him an unhinged air before his face is even scarred. His Harvey Dent screams in the faces of criminals maybe a little too gleefully, perhaps suggesting he’s halfway to schizophrenic even before any gruesome injuries.

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Gotham‘s Big Prequel Problem

I’ve feared the introduction of famous Batman villains since Gotham kicked off, because it’s one area where the show has struggled to strike a consistent tone. The characterization of the Penguin so far has been great, and lil’ Catwoman is hard not to like, but every time the future Riddler pokes his cackling head into the frame, I groan and wonder how the show’s writers plan on ever making him intimidating.

D’Agosto is not my favorite actor, but I recently enjoyed his work as Ethan Haas in Masters of Sex. Still, he’s an odd choice for Dent, lacking that character’s inherent magnetism. Even Tommy Lee Jones, slathered in purple makeup for Joel Schumacher’s cartoon vision of Batman’s rogues gallery, played him like a showy Southern lawyer gone off the deep end, down to his mellifluous monologuing. Every time Gotham takes a chance on an established villain, it needs to find a unique spin that leaves an impression, and so far this isn’t it. I continue to dread the Joker’s introduction, although I imagine that won’t come until the end of season one at the absolute earliest.

Probably the most compelling plot in “Harvey Dent” had nothing to do with Harvey Dent at all, but with Bruce Wayne’s burgeoning friendship with little Catwoman. By the way, with Dent introduced as an adult, it’s clear that everyone’s ages on this show are going to be out of sync with typical Batman chronology, and I’m fine with that. The more Gotham wants to mess with tradition, the better off it’ll be, since then it won’t just be telegraphing the same plot twists fans have been enjoying since they were children. So if Dent is a grown-up when Batman and Catwoman are teenagers, I can deal with that.

Alfred is trying to teach Bruce how to fight to toughen him up, but Catwoman knows there’s more to winning fights than simple boxing skills, and she gives Bruce a real runaround after Jim Gordon drops her off at Wayne Manor (for some reason). There’s a cute romantic element to their partnership that just manages to skirt being corny by virtue of their chemistry.

This Harvey Dent screams in the faces of criminals maybe a little too gleefully.

I generally like the idea of Catwoman’s corrupting influence on a young Bruce—if he’s staying in Gotham, Alfred’s boxing lessons aren’t going to be enough to turn him into a bat-costumed crime-fighter. Batman’s push and pull with Catwoman, who stands on the other side of the law while sharing a lot of his values, has always been an important one in the Batman universe, so I approve of the show getting to work on that early. Plus, it’ll give Bruce more to do than just mope around the manor getting his hair ruffled by his earnest butler.

You’ll note I’m skirting the actual crime of the week on this week’s episode. That’s because it was by far the weakest of Gotham’s crime plots to date. Perhaps our cops needed a week off from the real tough stuff after all they’ve been through with Carmine Falcone and Sal Maroni. Even Penguin and Fish were rather sedate as they continued to set up their plans for citywide domination. But on a show that has made an effort to carefully build out its world, “Harvey Dent” felt like the first huge misstep. Here’s hoping it was just a bad first impression.

This article was originally published at http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/11/put-two-face-back-in-the-oven-gotham-hes-not-done-yet/382885/

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Two-Face Is Not Ready for His Close-Up, Gotham

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