One of fall’s most anticipated series, “Gotham” takes a new look at the city that will give rise to the likes of Penguin, Riddler and, of course, the Dark Knight himself. While the show centers on Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), we meet a ton of other familiar faces in their younger days, including the very notable presence of Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) and Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova).
The 13-year-old Mazouz is best known for his role as Kiefer Sutherland’s son on “Touch”, while 15-year-old Bicondova’s background is primarily in dance, but it’s safe to say nothing in their careers has been quite like the spotlight “Gotham” will put on them.
Last month, shortly after the “Gotham” trailer had played to big cheers at the FOX Upfront event, I had the opportunity to speak to the two young actors about what it was like to play such beloved characters and how they approached portraying them years before they transform into their full costumed identities.
I should note that Mazouz was originally not present as Bicondova and I began speaking, but joined us a couple of minutes in.
IGN TV: You’re playing such an iconic character. What was it like finding out you got this part?
Camren Bicondova: I was actually pretty shocked, because she’s, you know… she’s great! But she’s not quite Catwoman. She’s in the teenage part of her life, so she doesn’t really know that she’s Catwoman yet. That’s a cool part to play.
IGN: She’s already a bit of a criminal though, right?
Bicondova: Well, yeah, in a way. It’s kind of interesting because she steals so she can survive, but she doesn’t steal maliciously, if that makes sense. It’s not like she’s like, “I’m bored. I’m gonna go steal something.” She just needs it, so she steals it.
IGN: What’s your relationship like with Jim Gordon, because we know he’s kind of at the center of the show?
Bicondova: As of right now, since we just shot the pilot, it was more like an introduction, so I haven’t officially met Gordon. But as far as I know, further down the road, I think their relationship gets close — with Gordon and Bruce Wayne.
[Editor’s Note: As Bicondova was answering this last question, Mazouz joined us]
IGN: A lot of people are wondering about that, about Bruce Wayne, and whether you two will interact and what that will be like, given what the future holds for both of you. David, are you excited to see that?
David Mazouz: Yeah, I mean, it’s going to be great. Camren’s awesome — well, she’s okay.
Bicondova: Well, he’s okay too! [Laughs]
Mazouz: No, Camren’s awesome, so if I can do a scene with her, that would be amazing. I don’t know where they’re going to take the show. I have no idea. I’ve only read the pilot. I’m interested to see where it all goes too.
IGN: I asked Camren, but what was it like for you finding out that you were playing this iconic character that obviously has so much history to him?
Mazouz: Well, playing Bruce Wayne sucks. [Laughs] No, let me ask you this question: What 13-year-old boy doesn’t want to be Batman?
IGN: [Laughs] It doesn’t stop at 13, I’ll tell you that!
Mazouz: He’s the coolest superhero ever. That’s what I’ll say, and I’m sure you can figure out the rest.
IGN TV: Is it interesting for both of you guys, because you know where your characters end up, but you can’t be there yet? You have to hold back and maybe show that little hint of who they’re going to become.
Bicondova: That’s a good question.
Mazouz: I think that it’s pretty cool knowing who your character is because, you know, I’m going to turn into Ben Affleck.
IGN: [Laughs] Yes, you’re Ben Affleck and Camren, you’’re Michelle Pfeiffer… or Anne Hathaway.
Mazouz: Yeah, I think it’s going to be cool — because it’s going to be hard knowing what your character acts like and who he emotionally becomes as an adult. That’s why I’m not trying to study too much of Batman, because I’m not him yet. I’m his kid self.
Bicondova: You’re Bruce Wayne.
Mazouz: I’m Bruce Wayne. It’s going to be challenging, and it’s going to be cool also because you know, by the end of the show — which will run for six or seven seasons, fingers crossed [Laughs] — but, by the end of the show, I have to have that same emotional strength as Batman. So it’s going to be a challenge, and it’s going to be cool. I’ve been working with the directors. [Executive Producer] Bruno Heller and [director] Danny Cannon were amazing, working with me on the pilot. But I have to, progressively throughout the show, become that, from just a regular rich boy — who isn’t so regular — to becoming Batman, basically. So that’s going to be a challenge, but it’s going to be cool.
IGN: For you, Camren, I assume your dance background has to be helping with a character that is known to be pretty physical and agile.
Bicondova: Yes, a lot. Actually, for the pilot, there were some stunts. I didn’t do the intense stunts — my stunt double Laurie did that stuff — but when you have to go down the fire escapes and stuff like that, it’s really helpful. Sometimes it’s like, “Can you do this? Can you do that?” Most of the time you would think, “No, I can’t do that,” but with the dance, it actually makes me feel more confident in myself, because I’m more comfortable with my body, and I know how it moves.
IGN: What’s it like for you now that the trailer’s out there and just to see all the excitement about this show? Is it pretty amazing?
Bicondova: Yeah, it’s really amazing. I can’t stop watching the trailer — like most people, they can’t stop. I think it’s weird seeing myself on the television, but it’s great! It’s so eerie and so intriguing, you just can’t stop watching it. It’s great. I’m excited about it.
Mazouz: For me, the trailer’s been out for a week — six and a half million views*, which is amazing. Whenever I get sad, I watch it again, and I get happy again. [*Editor’s Note: It’s now at 7 and a half million!]
Mazouz: I’ve watched it at least — I want to say 33 times, probably more. It’s awesome. It’s one of the best trailers I’ve ever seen. Just the way it’s shot…
Bicondova: It’s shot like a movie almost.
Mazouz: Yeah, I’ve gotten that from people, like my friends that I’ve sent it to, they’ve all said that — Danny Cannon did an amazing job shooting it. The quality is so, so, so good.
IGN: It looked really good shown on such a big screen today [at the FOX Upfront], I thought.
Bicondova: It’s almost like a living comic book, in a way.
Mazouz: Yeah, yeah, because all of the characters are comic book-y.
Bicondova: Yeah, “comic book-y.” That’s a great word. [Laughs]
Mazouz: I don’t know if it’s a word. Well, “comic” and then “book-y.” Is “book-y” a word? I don’t know.
IGN: Why not?
Bicondova: Now it is.