Ben McKenzie’s Jim Gordon may be the face of Fox’s Gotham, but it’s the journey of young Bruce Wayne that will draw many to the prequel series, and Sean Pertwee tells SciFiNow that Alfred Pennyworth is a crucial part of his development.
“You become aware of how important and how intrinsic he is to the upbringing of this young man who’s in a very dark place,” the star of Dog Soldiers, Event Horizon and Elementary tells us.
“We’ve turned a corner with the scripts, because we shoot chronologically you see the development, trying to find the hook to bring Bruce out of his shell, his distress. And a corner is turned and you suddenly realise how much of an enabler, for good or for bad, Alfred is. Their relationship becomes a very strange one but having shot eight of them I’m very proud of our relationship, which comes from working with this extraordinary young actor David Mazouz who plays Bruce Wayne who’s just awesome in it.”
“Our development, our relationship is developed over the episodes and we turn this corner which is going to be quite shocking! We turn this bizarre corner where you suddenly see the beginnings of the man, the young man and the man he is to become.”
While we’re all familiar with the incredible performances by Michael Gough in Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher movies, not to mention Sir Michael Caine in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, Gotham shows a much younger Alfred whose experience in the military has a much bigger part to play.
“When I auditioned for the part I didn’t know what it was,” Pertwee remembers. “But I know it was extremely well written and well realised, it was a speech about a guy going into a pub and stepping up to this guy and breaking his larynx or something like that but I thought this is somebody who really does know London, because I come from London, and they wouldn’t tell me what it was, and then of course I was given the script and I got called into the room to read it and I thought ‘My god, it’s going to be Alfred!’
“And in many respects it doesn’t balk against versions that have existed in Earth One and all these other ones that it’s been hinted at going as far back as ’43, that he’s been in the Secret Service and he was a master of disguise, all of these elements. They tapped upon it with the Michael Caine portrayal saying that he was SAS, in this one he was a Royal Marine commando unit, but seconded to the SAS, and he goes to aid his ailing father who was the valet to the Waynes. And then he sort of inherits the position in many respects.”
With the first episode drawing huge audience figures in the US, Pertwee tells us that the show will go from strength to strength.
“It’s all about keeping our heads down and continuing the way we’re going, it’s all about the quality,” he enthuses. “I think this is why the show is so good, the quality, there’s no drop-off. It gets better and better and better.”
Gotham begins on Channel 5 on 13th October at 9:00pm. Read about the comics that inspired the TV series with the 100 All-Time Greatest Comics Bookazine.