After a mixed bag of big and small screen hits and misses, DC Comics has a steady stream of buzz-worthy projects in development - including Fox's Gotham TV series. While Batman vs. Superman continues to be one of the most-anticipated films currently (and possibly ever) in production, the upcoming TV show, centered on Detective James Gordon (long before he allies with Batman as Commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department) houses a lot of potential - from an intriguing pre-Batman storyline, fan-favorite villains, to very capable casting additions.
Certain comic fans might have, at first, rolled their eyes when former O.C. star Ben McKenzie was cast as Gordon but anyone who saw the actor in TNT's Southland (or heard him voice Batman/Bruce Wayne in Batman: Year One) knows there's more to him than his days playing Orange County high schooler Ryan Atwood might indicate. After Gordon was cast, attention quickly turned to who would play the young Bruce Wayne. We offered five up and coming teen actors we thought could do the part justice - and now we're getting word that one of our picks has been hired for the part!
According to an official press release, Touch star David Mazouz will play Bruce Wayne in Gotham - exploring a time in the iconic future hero's life that is often skipped over in the comics. As indicated in our suggested casting, Mazouz is a smart choice for the role - at thirteen years old he's the perfect age to capture Wayne's pain while also hiding his frustration behind an innocent face. His portrayal of autistic kid Jake Bohm, alongside Kiefer Sutherland, in Touch was a strong addition to the Tim Kring (Heroes) series. The show only ran for two seasons but its cancellation should be no indication of what Mazouz can bring to Gotham.
The casting also gives us a few additional hints about the type of Bruce Wayne Fox intends to highlight in the show. At only thirteen, viewers shouldn't expect the young billionaire to be tagging along on too many of Gordon's police missions - though it's very likely he'll regularly find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Since Gotham is a serialized TV drama, expect the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne to be (at the very least loosely) connected to a larger conspiracy or crime organization - paving the way for the young Wayne heir to search for answers. Mazouz isn't a physically intimidating teen - meaning that, for now, he'll have to rely on brains and money if he does stage his own amateur investigation into his parents' murder.
Here's the official blurb from Fox:
David Mazouz (Touch) has been cast as the preteen Bruce Wayne, sentenced to a solitary life after the tragic murder of his wealthy parents. Serious and soulful, young Bruce relies on the guidance and protection of Alfred Pennyworth and James Gordon.
(Note: As has been reported previously, GOTHAM is the origin story of Commissioner James Gordon and not a “Batman” show. Please note for stories that David is playing the young Bruce Wayne — not Batman.)
The second paragraph, reiterating that Gotham is "not a Batman show," is certainly noted. That said, given Mazouz's age, fans shouldn't rule out the possibility of the actor getting more physical and adopting a pre-Batman vigilante persona (think Roy Harper on Arrow) if the series continues beyond a fourth season. It could even be interesting to see a more anger-driven variation of Wayne's attempts to fight back against Gotham's corruption - prior to disappearing and finding the self-control to become a true hero (as Batman).
The report also indicates that newcomer Camren Bicondova has been cast as a youthful Selina Kyle (and possibly future Catwoman) - who, in the logic of TV dramas, will likely form a fast friendship with Wayne.
Again, here's the official word from Fox:
Acting newcomer Camren Bicondova has been cast as Selina Kyle, a teenage orphan who is suspicious and wholly unpredictable. A street thief and skilled pickpocket, she’s dangerous when cornered.
The report doesn't elaborate on which version of Kyle's backstory will be featured but it's easy to assume, given the character's grey morality and mischievous ways, that she'll be key in pulling Wayne out of his mansion - and into trouble.
Now that the majority of the cast has been assembled, including supporting players Donal Logue (Detective Harvey Bullock), Zabryna Guevara (Captain Essen), Erin Richards (Barbara Kean), Sean Pertwee (Alfred Pennyworth), Robin Lord Taylor (Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin), and Jada Pinkett Smith (Fish Mooney), it'll be exciting to see how Fox intends to put their stamp on such an iconic comic book mythology.
We've seen numerous iterations of these characters before and focusing the storyline on Detective James Gordon is a clever starting point with loads of potential for a fresh perspective - but there are still plenty of details that fans will need to see before they'll be convinced that Gotham is a must-see (instead of an easy cash grab).
Gotham is in development and expected to premiere on FOX in Fall 2014.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for any future updates on Gotham, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.