Fox Casts GOTHAM's JAMES GORDON ... and He Once Played BATMAN!

Ben McKenzie in Southland
Ben McKenzie in Southland
Credit: TNT

Ben McKenzie, the former star of TNT's cop drama Southland and Fox's teen drama The O.C. has been cast in the lead role of James Gordon in Fox's Gotham. Interestingly, the 35 year-old McKenzie also once voiced Bruce Wayne/Batman in 2011's DC animated adaptation of Frank Miller's Batman: Year One.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, McKenzie's Gordon is a "rookie detective for Gotham City Open Police Department's Homicide Squad. A college football star,?and a war hero, Gordon was fast-tracked through the GCPD?ranks. He's brave, energetic and honest. Driven to live up to the classical virtues of a father he barely knew, he's an idealistic soul, to the point of naiveté. That virtue is tempered by analytical intelligence and an ambitious alpha male ego -- he'll back up his naive ideals with action."

McKenzie will share the screen with a still-to-be cast teen or pre-teen Bruce Wayne, and Gotham will be as much of an origin story for Batman as for Gordon, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly reportedly confirmed last month at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. "It's Gotham teetering on the edge," Reilly reportedly said. "This is all of the classic Batman characters."

Characters like Alfred, the Joker, the Riddler, Penguin and Catwoman are all expected to eventually find their way into the series.

"This is not one of the things where you bought a franchise and then none of characters people know," Reilly revealed according to THR. "We will follow Bruce Wayne right up until the point where he gets interesting."

Meaning the series is designed to ultimately end when Bruce becomes Batman, as Smallville ended when Clark Kent finally became a full-fledged Superman.

Reilly also reportedly revealed that the series will be very serialized and not an "adjunct companion" show. "This is the Batman franchise just backing it up," he reportedly said. "It gives a real focus as to what this show is about and what stories we're telling."

The Warner Bros. Television project, which already has a series commitment from Fox, is being written and executive produced by The Mentalist showrunner Bruno Heller with CSI's Danny Cannon directing and executive producing the pilot.

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