Jeffrey Wright has spoken out on being the first African American to portray Commissioner Gordon in the upcoming DC superhero film, The Batman.
Since Batman first appeared in both live-action, the character of Commissioner Gordon has appeared in nearly every adaptation. He has been played by numerous actors over the years with a prominence that typically changed depending on the creative teams. In the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher films the character was played by Pat Hingle and more or less acted as a liaison between Batman and the police. In The Dark Knight Trilogy, Gordon was portrayed by Gary Oldman and functioned as something of a co-lead. Jeffrey Wright’s tenure as Gotham’s police commissioner, however, will mark the first time an African America will portray the character.
In September of 2019, reports came out that Jeffrey Wright was set to portray Commissioner Gordon in The Batman before director Matt Reeves confirmed it. Since then Wright has appeared in the first and only trailer for the upcoming film. In a recent interview with Haute Living, the actor spoke at length about being the first African American to portray the character and how the franchise and society itself has changed and evolved over time:
“If you give it a little bit of thought, Batman and the characters within Gotham City are fluid, evolving creatures. It would be doing a disservice, in fact, to these stories and to the history if we were actually beholden to the details of the original. When Shakespeare wrote female characters, they were written to be played by young boys. Are we to hold on to that tradition now in the 21st century because that was the limited lane that people were allowed at the time? It’s ridiculous. Beyond that, Gordon is many things. He’s relative to Gotham City, to the Gotham City police department, to Batman, to justice and to corruption — and none of those things require that he be white.
There have been some who I think have made more of it than they probably should, which I think reveals some deficiency [in our country]. In its first iteration in 1939, Gotham City was fashioned after an American metropolis much like New York City or Chicago. In 1939, New York was 90 percent white. The power structure in law enforcement in that city at that time would not have been inclusive of someone who looked like me; that’s the historical fact. But as these stories have continually evolved over these many decades, not only through the comics but also through the films, they’ve been reinterpreted through writers, directors and actors to be more contemporary to the times than they were made. Right now, if we were to imagine a Gotham City based on an American metropolis, to think of it as a place that’s only inhabited by white people is to be pretty idiotic. To be beholden to the demographic reality of 1939 urban America — what the f–k is the purpose of that?”
The plot of The Batman is being kept under lock and key, but we know the film will follow Robert Pattinson as a younger version of Bruce Wayne, chronicling Batman during his second year as the Dark Knight of Gotham City. The film will also show off the hero using his skills as a detective more than what we’ve seen before in previous versions of the hero. It is also expected to be the first installment in a new trilogy of films with Pattinson.
Directed by Matt Reeves, The Batman stars Robert Pattinson as the titular hero, Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as the Riddler, Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner James Gordon, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, Peter Sarsgaard as Gil Colson, Jayme Lawson as Bella Reál, with Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, and Colin Farrell as the Penguin.
The Batman will hit theaters on March 4, 2022. Stay tuned for all the latest news surrounding the upcoming film and be sure to subscribe to Heroic Hollywood’s YouTube channel for more original video content.
Source: Haute Living