It’s getting so people who play various superhero roles must pass on the lore to younger versions of the roles. Thus when Gary Oldman—the essentialist Commissioner Jim Gordon of the Nolan Batman trilogy—was asked if he had any advice for Ben McKenzie, who will play younger Detective Gordon on the new TV show Gotham, he was to the point: “Go back to the comic books. That’s what I did…There’s great stuff about Gordon. He had a whole other life.”

And McKenzie, bring smart, did so, or at least he said he did on Twitter:

Looking at the books by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka and Frank Miller McKenzie has assembled, we’d say he’s in for some FINE reading! Lucky.


  1. Why shoudl he read comics? Either the script will be good or it won’t. His knowing that Gordon used to enjoy a pipe won’t somehow fix a bad script or shine new light on a good one.

  2. Zach, in theory I’m kind of the same way about film / TV in general. I tend to side with the writer and director in most cases. And actor should be able to perform what is written.

    However… in today’s world of acting the performers are more and more adding their own layer of depth to the work. Everything from bringing their own clothes and ignoring the costumes to adding their own lines when they are *in character*. Some of this comes from external influences and some of it comes from their interpretation of the script after they’ve read it.

    So perhaps, if this actor is the type that likes such influences, then the comics can help him… in some kind of way. If anything to at least cement in his mind that he’s portraying a character with some history. But overall, I actually agree with you. A bad script is still a bad script. The thing about Television is that it evolves over the season, unlike a film which is all on the screen for 2 hours. So a TV show that has a bad start can pull it out of the fire with new writers and a new direction. Some of us are still hoping Agents of Shield will do just that.

  3. Zach, think of it in the same way an actor prepares for a biopic. They read biographies or watch footage of the character they’re playing (or when possible, speak with them one-on-one) to get a sense of their background and motivations. A good actor won’t seek to do an impression of a historical figure, but they still gather as much data as possible to inhabit that character on the screen.

    It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, because we’re talking about a fictional character here. But preparing for that kind of iconic role can be a similar process.

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