Donal Logue Talks GOTHAM Setting, Playing Harvey Bullock, Conflicts With Jim Gordon And More

Last week saw a number of additions to the cast of Fox’s Batman prequel series Gotham. One of these was confirmation of Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, which was previously rumored. Now, speaking with The Nerd Repository, the Sons of Anarchy actor talks in detail about landing the role, the show’s setting and timeframe, and much more. Firstly, he discusses the rumor of his being offered the role of Jim Gordon – a role recently filled by Ben McKenzie – as well as being up for Bullock and the talks he had about the show. “It’s funny because I don’t know how that went down. The truth is that I had met them a long time ago to talk to them about the project. All we had was a conversation, and it was funny when these rumors came out because they were unfounded in that Gordon was always supposed to younger and Bullock was older, so it was never a possibility for Gordon. Bullock was a possibility, but it was part of this vague conversation, and there never was an offer or something like that.

“It also puts them in a tricky spot because on something this big, with Warner Bros. and DC and everything, there are a lot of different people that weigh in on who’s going to be in it,” Logue continued. “When I finally did get an offer, which was very recently, they were very apologetic because they felt in a weird way that it was dragging through a weird rumor mill that was slightly awkward, you know? I knew that they were interested, I just knew that there were other people in the mix too, and until certain things were taken care of they couldn’t make decisions.

“So it was slightly humorous at the end when I got it and people were like “I told you so!” and it’s like “dude, you don’t even know how much of a possibility, how not a fait accompli this was.” I was one of a number of people, it very easily could have been someone else. It’s funny to be part of a project that is under such scrutiny because it appeals to a group of people who are very active and a fanbase that’s incredibly vocal, and really emotionally involved. It was kind of neat to go through it because I really hadn’t before.”

Logue then discussed his version of Harvey Bullock in comparison to iterations seen in the comics and Batman: The Animated Series. “It’s dangerous, because my kids watched the animated series and I remember listening to it over the speaker on road trips up to Oregon, I would hear it. It’s that tricky thing where I’m not that guy, I don’t look visually like the guy even in the cartoon. Then there’s that weird thing where I don’t want to take someone’s choice from the cartoon and match it. I want to create a character, no different from Lee Toric in Sons of Anarchy or King Horik [from History’s Vikings] or Hank Dolworth in Terriers. They’re all uniquely different scenarios and I don’t want to feel forced to do an impersonation of something else, which is a difficult thing to keep up over the course of a longer series. So we’ll have those talks. … It’s interesting that there’s something that exists that you can watch, but Ben obviously is not going to be tied to the cartoon and who Gordon is in that. I’m going to have to take a little bit of license and bring Bullock more towards me, and not me more towards the dude in the cartoon.”

Talk turned to the setting of Gotham, which Logue calls a mixture of old-fashioned elements and a Blade Runner-esque tone. “What I do love about Gotham, that I can say so far, is that it creates this incredible world that, for me, you can step into things that almost feel like the roaring 20s, and then there’s this other really kind of heavy Blade Runner vibe floating around. It has this anachronistic element to it where it feels like it’s either New York in the 70s, or it kind of exists independently of time and space in a way, and you can dip into all of these different genres. So I’m excited by it. There are elements of it that are completely contemporary and there are pieces of it that are very old-fashioned. I’m excited to see which way they go with the production design and wardrobe and all that kind of stuff. My main concern to start with, I was just going over this relationship between him and Gordon, just to find out how that dynamic plays out. Just to do my homework, basically.” 
Logue is then asked if the timeframe of the show is ambiguous, and replied, “You know what, that’s hard for me to really get into, I don’t want to say. But there were a couple of examples of modern technology, but maybe an antiquated version of it, that gave me a little bit of sense that it’s certainly not the 50s and the 60s. No one’s making a joke about how “there’s no way you can press a telephone button and have a piece of paper show up in another machine.” There is an acceptance of a certain technological reality. But it’s not high tech and it’s not futuristic, by any means.”

Additionally, Logue goes into detail on what to expect in Bullock’s partnership with Jim Gordon, confirming that there will certainly be conflict between the two. “Not only do I foresee it, I guarantee that is the complete and utter core of the conflict. One guy’s been around Chinatown for a long time, and knows how it has to work. Someone who’s come in from a more idealistic world – not to say non-violent, he’s coming back from the war – steps into it, and absolutely there’s a huge moral quandary.” He then states that in Gotham, there is “…kind of an ambiguous line between good and bad. We have to let certain bad guys do certain things, in order for the greater good, for this machine to keep working. And then someone comes in who’s like “no, I have a much more black and white view, I’m not into this notion of moral relativism. There’s right and there’s wrong.” And what is law? Is law this platonic form of truth that floats in space that is fixed, or is it something that’s this arbitrary thing where it’s like “the law is me and you, right now, in this car. Whatever we determine, that’s the law.” And that’s the kind of thing that will be a conflict in this show.”

Logue also affirms that Bullock will be a recurring character, but Gordon will still be the star of the show, which will additionally feature younger versions of iconic Batman villains. “Contractually, I’m obligated to be there. I’m gonna be around, for sure. But the story falls squarely on Jim Gordon’s shoulders, and this awesome world where we get to meet the super infamous villains of Gotham City for the first time, when they’re young. For me, that’s the really interesting part: “oh, so that’s where you come from, Riddler.”” Finally, the actor comments on the pilot’s hints towards new incarnations of Gotham‘s inhabitants. “Absolutely. I don’t know if I’m not supposed to say it, but yeah. I think it’ll be fun. There will definitely be Gotham villains that you’ve come to know and love being shown in a light that… maybe it’s the first time that light’s been shone on them.” Props to The Nerd Repository and Logue for this top-notch interview.
Gotham stars Ben McKenzie as Detective James Gordon, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth, Zabryna Guevara as Captain Essen, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean, and Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin. The pilot is expected to premiere on Fox next fall.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of WOBAM! Entertainment.

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