We present an exclusive interview with the young actor David Mazouz, who plays the role of Bruce Wayne in the Fox tv serial Gotham. David worked on many tv series like Mike & Molly, Criminal Minds and Private Practice. In 2012, he became known to the general audience for his role as Jake Bohm in Touch, alongside Kiefer Sutherland.
Did you receive specific guidelines to develop your character on the set? Did they suggest you to get inspired by the various actors who played Batman over the years? I did not receive specific guidelines to develop my role as Bruce Wayne. Since I’m not playing Batman but Bruce Wayne as a 12 year old boy, it just meant trying to imagine how a boy like myself would feel watching his parents murdered before him as he stood helpless and scared. So I think I just tried to put myself in his shoes. If any Batman inspired me however, it would have to be Christian Bale who has a strength that shoes no matter what he’s doing, just in his presence.
Do you read comics? Did you know the character in a deeper way than the “ordinary” one that everybody knows? I was of course familiar with Bruce Wayne and Batman in movies and comics but I was not a big comic book reader. After I was hired to do this role, my friend, Austin, who’s a master editor gave me a Batman book for my birthday and then shortly after, Stephanie, one of my Studio Teachers bought me another Batman; encyclopedia for my birthday. Best birthday ever! I began to read and uncover everything there is to know about the real stories of Batman, Gotham and all the villains and good guys in the comics. No I think it’s safe to say that I’ve given this character a lot of thought and studied about all there is to study about his experiences as an adult. His childhood story though is one that I will get to develop myself which is really exciting!
The series seems to have a gloomy atmosphere. The young Wayne faces the beginning of a difficult period of his life and his mental health seems to be in danger. How difficult is it to play such a difficult role for a young actor like you? It’s not a difficult role to play even though he’s complex and dark. He’s dark but it’s easy to understand because I think most of how he reacts is pretty normal given what he’s seen and gone through. I love challenging roles and complex ones are much more interesting for an actor to play. Young or old, I think that most people can relate to him even though he’s dark.
How was it to work on set? Can you tell us some good stories about your experience? This is the first time I’ve worked with this many regular actors. I haven’t worked with that many of them directly but I see them on the lot and we do things socially together as well as press things and I can honestly say that they are an amazing and warm group of people and each is super skilled at what they do and bring to their roles. I’ve worked with Sean and Ben the most so far and each of them has a warmth and it was very easy to connect to them and it made me feel like I had known them for a long, long time! I don’t have any outrageous stories YET but I’m sure they’re coming if you give us a little more time.
In the series, your character and detective James Gordon soon become close friends and, above all, they soon come to trust each other deeply. Can you describe us, without spoilers, how this relationship is going to develop later on? I don’t have a lot of insider information about what will happen in the next episodes and I don’t think it is a spoiler to say that Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne become close and learn to trust one another as good influences amongst a lot of bad in Gotham. Ultimately we have the same goal in mind and we are made up of a similar desire and way of going about our business. One is just more traditional than the other who wears the cape. They have mutual respect that starts early on. You will just see how the relationship develops naturally the way you’d expect after watching the pilot.
Besides Gordon, Alfred is a strong presence in Bruce’s life and he represents a kind of “guardian angel” for him. His character seems to be somehow different from the character portrayed in the comics, though. How would you describe their relationship? Alfred is not just a “Guardian Angel” he’s also a “Guardian” In the comics, Bruce Wayne is Batman and he’s an adult so naturally he’s portrayed differently to the comics but also he’s feistier in the show than in the comics where he’s a knowledgeable holder of a secret and helps Batman and Bruce Wayne but is clearly quiet and less influential but this Alfred is charged with raising Bruce in the way his family wants him raised and he comes from a military background so he has some fighting chops as well. He’s a father and a guard all at once.
Were you worried about playing the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, given the long and important past that this character has developed along the years? I wasn’t worried at all about playing Batman although people keep asking me that and I’m wondering if I should be. I’m not Batman after all ! I’m his early self which I’m not really duplicating cause it’s never been done before so I’m doing something brand new. People who do Bruce Wayne after me might have to worry but this is a first really so I can create this character as I go. Now when I put on the cape for the first time, then maybe I will worry about holding the standard of the greats who came before.
Ben McKenzie, Sean Pertwee and Camren Bicondova. How is it working with each of these actors on set? What things have interested you the most?
Ben, Sean and Camren; working with each of them is of course always interesting. First of all Ben has worked on two other big TV shows and done films as well as theatre and studied something completely different in College so I have a ton to learn from him. Sean has a family legacy in entertainment as his Dad played Doctor Who and Sean has had a long career behind him already of both film, TV and stage so it’s always interesting to listen to other people and learn from their experiences cause I’m so young and there is so much I have to learn about acting and the business too. Camren has been a dancer most of her life so she has alot to offer as well in terms of a different perspective and how she approaches her role. It’s all interesting and a pleasure to work with all of them.
Besides Gotham, what upcoming projects do you have planned?
As far as upcoming projects; I have a movie that was made in Argentina last Summer called the Gamesmaker that was actually a joint canadian, argentinian and italian film venture for Disney Latin America. It will premiere in Brasil soon and I’m not sure when in the states but the set decorator and the actress who played my Mother, Valentina, were both brilliant and so much fun!!!!! I also have a movie coming out with Aaron Eckhart called Incarnate as well as a film with Kevin Bacon and Radha Mitchell called 6 Miranda Drive as well; both of those in 2015.