We’re still a few months away from the premiere of Fox’s new Gotham series, but the director has opened up about what it takes to create a pre-Batman world — plus another major villain we might get to meet.
Danny Cannon (Alcatraz, Tomorrow People) is the man who put together the eagerly anticipated pilot we’ll see this fall. He chatted with HitFix about the films they looked to for inspiration when laying the groundwork for this new-look Gotham. Basically, imagine if New York had continued to get worse at the end of the 1970s, and that’s Gotham. We kind of dig it.
Here’s an excerpt:
“It's scary. I was on something and Bruno was on something and we met at Thanksgiving and he'd just pitched the story and it had gone very well and he instantly knew that he needed a visual partner and we talked on Thanksgiving, that morning, extensively about where to place this. I had not heard the pitch and I did not know what was in his head, but instantly I knew -- And we shared this, thank God -- I'd watched ‘Serpico’ again when I heard the concept, and ‘The French Connection’ and ‘The Warriors,’ and I said, ‘If New York had not been gentrified, if there was no Koch, if there was no Bloomberg, if there was no Guiliani, and New York had just spiraled downwards after 1979…' we were very interested in that. That was Gotham to us. It was like a romantic version. When I visited New York and Bruno visited New York, we wanted to go to that place. We wanted to go where Al Pacino was. We wanted to go where Popeye Doyle was …
Greek tragedies were always performed by a group of actors and every night, to every village, it would always be different, but the stories were so good that everyone would always enjoy it. I think the Batman franchise is just so vivid and beautiful and visceral and, unlike other superhero things, it is based in reality. He's not a superhero. It's not supernatural. It's not sci-fi. He's a real man, a vigilante. I think, with our feet on the ground, the great thing about it was if we kept it real, our version of it would just be us singing a Rolling Stones song. It's still a good song. I just hope you like our version.”
Along with that fun bit of world-building, Cannon also revealed the character he’s fighting to get included in the series: Mr. Freeze. Cannon said he has “a big pitch” about the character’s origin story, but he’s still trying to win over DC bigwig Geoff Johns. That could be either really campy or really cool, but we have to admit we’re curious.
Gotham will premiere this fall on Fox.