Paloma Faith is the last cast member to join the Epix Batman Prequel Pennyworth. The series starts production Monday, Oct. 22 at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden in the UK and also stars Jack Bannon (The Imitation Game) as Alfred Pennyworth and Ben Aldridge (Fleabag) as Thomas Wayne.
Set in the 1960s, Pennyworth joins Batman's infamous butler after his departure from Britain's S.A.S. (Special Air Service) and forms his own security company. It's in this capacity he meets young billionaire Thomas Wayne and the two forge a partnership and work together on presumably clandestine operations in 1960s London. The series' pedigree is already promising, at least in terms of the Batman fandom. Gotham showrunner Bruce Heller penned the pilot and will serve as executive producer along with Gotham director Danny Cannon who will direct the pilot and also serve as E.P. That said, Epix has been very clear about the fact that Pennyworth will neither be a prequel to Gotham nor will it adapt any particular part of the Batman comics canon.
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Following that principle, actress and singer Paloma Faith has been announced to play an original villain named Bet Sykes - "a spirited, sadistic and sharp-tongued villain," according to a statement released by Epix this morning. While Faith rose to fame as a singer known for her Amy Winehouse-esque soul style, she's no stranger to film and television. Over the years she's popped up in supporting roles in films including The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Peter Pan adaptation Peter & Wendy as Tinkerbell and the teen heist cult hit St. Trinian's (alongside a young Jodie Whittaker 12 years before her current turn as the first female Doctor in the Doctor Who franchise).
Not only has Faith's body of work proven she has a significant range, she also boasts a look that lends itself to the 1960s mod era that will serve as backdrop for Pennyworth. It's hard to imagine her playing anything other than a femme fatale, though that's purely speculation at this point. It does feel safe to say that Pennyworth stands to offer a look at Thomas Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth in a much different light than we've ever seen them. Both men are in their 20s, presumably single and probably largely unburdened by the demons that promise to haunt them in later life (or in Wayne's case, the bullets).
While it's hard to imagine Alfred ever being anything but a staid, caring father figure to the most famous vigilante in the world, it's possible Pennyworth could stand out from previous Batman adaptations by offering a more colorful, psychedelic and carefree look at the lifelong Wayne servant than has previously been attempted. After all, Thomas Wayne was known for his optimism and philanthropy, and that's an attitude that he probably exhibited to a greater degree in his youth. It's tempting to think that perhaps the two will have some lighthearted (relatively speaking) adventures that wind up bonding them and influencing Alfred's lifelong loyalty to the Wayne family. Or maybe it'll be that London serves as just as gritty and dystopic a backdrop as Gotham and the two men will have to fight as hard to hold on to sanity and hope as Bruce later will. Time will tell when Pennyworth premieres in 2019.