[ For God’s sake, there are SPOILERS in this! Read at your own risk.]
Fox ran a promo trailer and a full length panel. In attendance were Executive Producer Danny Cannon, and cast members Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Robin Lord-Taylor, Sean Pertwee, and Erin Richards.
Fun Facts: Did you know Danny Cannon, Bruno Heller, and Erin Richards are all British? Well, now you do. It’s also the 75th anniversary of Batman this year. Woohoo!
Impressions: There was a lot of love in the room for Robin Lord-Taylor and his portrayal of Oswald/ Penguin. He was the clear break-out star. There was also a lot of love from the panel itself for Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon. Given the responses, it felt very genuine. Everyone seemed to get along well, and there were a few side conversations and shared smiles off-mic.
Notable Mentions: At 24 minutes we got a exclamation of love for the O.C., with which Erin Richards concurred. At 34 minutes, for Donal Logue in Sons of Anarchy. Apparently, at the TCAs a critic asked Logue what it was like to be working on a show as violent as Gotham. Oh, the irony. At 43 minutes there was a nod to Sean’s father Jon, aka the Third Doctor. Sean pumped his fists. Finally, at 44 minutes we got our first and only question about the Joker (see spoilers).
That one geeky trivia question someone asks the whole panel, but half of them struggle with the answer: Who was your favorite superhero before Gotham?
[BM] Batman (this is not surprising – link to Year One)
[ER] Batman (She would dress up as Batman as a kid, put on plays, and make her family watch.)
[DL] Spiderman and Green Lantern
[RL-T] Michael Jackson (at which point Donal mouthed that he’d dropped the mic)
[SP] probably Batman (not, as suggested by someone in the audience, his Dad)
[DC] The Avengers (Somehow I think he’s being disingenuous. Judge Dredd links)
Character and Aesthetics: [very light spoilers]
[Danny Cannon] When asked what time period the show is set in, his response was, “Does it matter?” He compared it to more modern productions of Shakespeare in which time periods and settings vary, but the dialogue is left intact.
[DC] When asked about the show’s aesthetic he name-checked the movies of Sydney Lumet and William Friedkin, and 60s and 70s “old New York,” Dickensian London, and Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Nolan’s Batman informed the tone in that it showed that you could have these fantastical characters and plots in a “realistic” setting. When they were looking for inspiration for the Penguin’s costumes, they turned to “old rock and roll books.” So, they “tried to put rock and roll in Dickensian, 70s New York.”
[DC] Regarding Alfred: We will start to understand why the richest family in the world hired Alfred to take care of their only son. This Alfred has a military background, and, to quote, “he’s a badass.”
[Ben McKenzie] Bruno Heller wrote this Jim Gordon with Ben in mind.
[BM] This Jim Gordon is a military veteran, back from war and trying to live up to his father’s legacy.
[BM] Because this is a young Jim we will see him make mistakes. Lots of them. Ben described him as young, bullish, forceful, and headstrong.
[BM] Jim and Alfred will continue to mentor Bruce. They’ll “offer [Bruce] two different versions of what it is to be a man.”
[Donal Logue] He tends to look to a show’s creators for guidance in how to interpret characters.
[DL] He cautioned not to worry too much about where the characters are now in development and appearance. They have plenty of time to get to be the characters we know.
[Sean Pertwee] He acknowledges that his Alfred is a terrible parent. He sees Alfred as Bruce’s enabler.
[SP] Both Alfred and Bruce are traumatized, and we will begin to see the effects of that on both of them soon.
[Erin Richards] After the audience praised DC and the show for their strong female characters and ethnic diversity, Erin gave praise of her own. The women on Gotham aren’t just developed on a basic level, but are actually three-dimensional. She sited Barbara’s ability to be confident and intelligent in certain situations, but still lonely and confused in others. You know, like real people.
[ER] She read, and loved, Batman: Year One for research, and has been a fan of the Burton Batman since she was a kid. Both informed her take on the role.
[Robin Lord-Taylor] He had a very quick audition process. He did one reading, and they stopped his audition there because they loved it. Next thing he knew he was in LA reading with Ben and Danny.
[RL-T] The costume and hair really inform his performance. He’s happy that the walk is the result of a real-world injury instead of something supernatural or affected. It makes it easier to build off of.
SPOILERS: (And not all are the vague kind. Proceed at your own risk!)
[Danny Cannon] Episode 7 will bring us Victor Zsasz
[DC] Episode 8, Harvey Dent
[DC] Penguin’s “Machiavellian rise to fame” set the path for season 1. There will be casualties. The moderator asked about Penguin’s eating “Fish,” and Danny hedged, but smiled.
[DC] Look for hints of the Court of Owls towards the end of the season, and Danny hinted that if they get a second season they would factor in heavily.
[DC] No Harley Quinn yet. She’s too close to Bruce’s age. But they want to introduce everyone eventually, so “we’ll get there.”
[DC] Selina and Bruce will meet. Probably soon.
[DC] The comedian in the pilot was a nod to the Joker, but not the Joker…probably. They’re “gonna go way, way back” for their inspiration. That’s all he would say.
[DC] The introduction of bats, and Bruce’s fear and fascination with them, is still far off. To quote, “What’s under Wayne Manor will stay hidden a while longer.”
[DC] Dialogue from Episode 8 between Alfred and Bruce:
B: I’m angry all the time. Will that ever stop?
A: I don’t know
B: Will you teach me how to fight?
[Ben McKenzie] He hinted that Bullock will definitely go down the comic route to become Jim’s ally.
[Donal Logue] At some point “Alfred will go off!” When pressed, he jokingly said,”toward 2014.” And Alfred will begin to interact with characters not named Bruce or Jim very soon.
[Erin Richards] Barbara has dark secrets she’s keeping from Jim, and Montoya is trying to protect her.
[ER] A sort of love triangle will develop between the three of them. (This did elicit a couple of light boos from the audience. Make of that what you will.)
CONSTANTINE [There are SPOILERS!]
There was a pre-screening of the pilot, and a short Q&A with producer/ writer David Goyer, and stars Matt Ryan and Angelica Celaya. These are notes from the press room interviews. I have seen the pilot, but won’t post a review until it officially airs.
[David Goyer] Will stick very close to the original comics, including characters from Swamp Thing. He’ll “weave in and out” of the various comics and stories that feature the Hellblazer. There are adaptations, but Goyer is clearly an old-school fan. He once wrote a letter that was published in Swamp Thing.
[DG] When asked if he’d been tempted to set it in London with a more punk soundtrack, Goyer countered that he does have a punk soundtrack. Look for The Buzzcocks, The Ramones, and episode 3 will feature the Sex Pistols, possibly for the first time on US network TV. (Spike sang along to Gary Oldman’s cover of the Sex Pistol’s “My Way,” so it doesn’t count.)
[DG] First season will already see them outside the US. It will take place all over the world, but not in London yet.
[DG] They share a timeslot with Hannibal, which has probably given them more freedom. They haven’t been held back much. NBC seems to be a good fit for them.
[DG] Goyer really feels like Matt Ryan has John Constantine down by episode 4. The network was not on board for his casting at first, but Goyer even sabotaged other auditions to buy time to gain support for Ryan.
[DG] They wanted a British actor [Matt Ryan is actually Welsh]. He fought to make sure Constantine smoked. He will give a nod to the cancer storyline at some point. He will be sexually fluid. The was a reference to how poorly he treats the men and women he sleeps with. Goyer confirmed that “they never said he wasn’t bisexual.”
[DG] If they continue long enough you will see the Nelsons/ Dr Fate, Jim Corrigan’s Spectre, Phantom Stranger, Swamp Thing (if they can pull off the make-up)
[DG] On why they got rid of Lucy Griffith’s Liv storyline: They first thought that a POV character would be helpful as an introduction to this kind of occult world, and realized it just looked tacked on. They decided an actual comic book character who could challenge Constantine “toe-to-toe” would be a better fit.
[Matt Ryan] His current favorite run of the comics is the Garth Ennis Dangerous Habits run of Hellblazer.
[MR] He likes the “nasty bugger” part of his personality.
[MR] Didn’t focus on the Scouse accent, but tried to make him a bit “Northern.” [Ryan does use a northern Welsh accent, as opposed to his natural southern Welsh accent, so that’s something?]
[MR] The show will get darker and darker as they go.
[MR] The comic book gave him nightmares when he tried to read before bed.
[Angelica Celaya] She feels Zed plays as scared at first, but she becomes tough as the show goes on.
[AC] She read the stack of comics the writers gave her for research. What stood out to her was how “refreshingly sarcastic” Zed was.
[AC] Grew up more on Saturday morning cartoons than comics. She role-played She-Ra and He-Man with her brother.
[AC] She loves and identifies with Zed’s need for a “real” family and protection.
[AC] She has brought a Latina sensibility to the role, and based Zed on kids she new growing up who had issues at home. She as a “big , Latina girl” she doesn’t know how to play damsel in distress. She was taught to fix things on her own as a kid. Don’t cry, fix it.
[AC] She loves that this isn’t about objectification. Her character happens to be Latina.
[AC] When asked about Zed going “toe-to-toe” with Constantine, she clarified that it was in personality and attitude. She won’t put up with his crap.
[AC] This was her first real experience with special effects. She became very curious about how it worked, and it was difficult for her at first not being able to know what a finished scene would look like.
ELEMENTARY [light spoilers]
CBS aired the season 3 premiere, and a very short panel followed. In attendance were Producer/ Director John Polson, and cast members Johnny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, and Ophelia Lovibond who plays newcomer Kitty Winter. I have not seen this episode yet.
Impressions: Everyone loves Lucy Liu. Even after they aired the episode, Lovibond got very tepid applause. The atmosphere seemed convivial, but professional. There wasn’t any real communication off-mic, but the actors seemed in good spirits and friendly towards each other. Having said that, they seemed a bit defensive about the new character and how people will react to the change. Miller’s reaction when a fan mispronounced Benedict Cumberbatch’s name (as “Cumberbunch”) was humorous and genuine. There is clearly no animosity there.
[Johnny Lee Miller] On why Kitty could be the next Joan Watson: In his time away Sherlock had some experiences with Kitty that mirrored those early experiences with Joan.
[Lucy Liu] On if Watson could also mentor Kitty, and how that will effect her ability to repair the relationship with Sherlock: She finds the tension created a good way to “layer what’s going to happen in season 3.” “It’s about change, and change is hard for everyone.” There’s a lot of hurt for Joan when Sherlock tells her that she’s essentially replaceable, and Joan tries to mask it by going independent. There is a possibility for mentorship of Kitty by Joan, but it would have to be done delicately.
[LL] Sherlock doesn’t see how hurtful it is. Just that he’s a teacher who has a new student.
[Ophelia Lovibond] On Kitty’s personal agenda, and how it shakes up the “team:” Kitty finds Joan threatening at first, but that gets smoothed out over the series. She never answered the first part of the question.
[Jon Polson] On how Kitty came to be, and why Ophelia: The felt at the end of S2 that Sherlock would have to come back with a new protege at the start of season 3. They got the character name and basic idea from ACD’s “Case of the Illustrious Client.” The producers are excited that it worked out.
[JP] They can’t say much, but they are looking for ways to bring back Moriarty, Mycroft, and others. [JLM] We will definitely see Clyde.
[JLM] He’s received positive feedback from organizations on the show’s portrayal of a recovering addict. He doesn’t think that running off to London was as big a mistake as a relapse would have been.[
[JLM] When asked about Cumberbatch playing a Holmes brother in this version: If he were in charge, it would happen. In his words, it would be “fantastic.” But he’s not in charge.
[JP] Received praise for writing of Gregson and Bell, and will they develop more: Will definitely see more of them, and they won’t become just foils for the other leads.