The Star Malaysia - Star2

Visual absurdity

Oscar winning director makes sure his TV series, rectify, has the right tone and pace.


ROBin lord Taylor (pic) remembers seeing the Batman film starring Michael Keaton and Jack nicholson on its opening night in 1989.

But the film Penguin isn’t the one he’s channellin­g in the Batman prequel Gotham.

instead, he says, the comic version of Oswald Cobblepot – yes, that’s The Penguin’s real name – inspired his performanc­e.

“i’m definitely influenced by Danny DeVito’s performanc­e and even Burgess Meredith’s performanc­e (in the 1960s Batman TV series), but since we’re starting with him as a younger kid, it was just (DC Comics) in particular that were incredibly valuable,” Taylor says.

after Taylor landed the role, he says DC Comics chief creative officer Geoff Johns sent him the issues Penguin: Pain And Prejudice, Batman: Earth One and Secret Origins Special Vol. 2. Taylor says the comics set the background for him, dealing with The Penguin’s early years, his name, interests and his difficult childhood when he was teased mercilessl­y by other kids.

“(That) just sort of crystalise­d where he’s coming from,” Taylor says.

Gotham, starring Ben McKenzie as Detective James Gordon, begins with the murder of young Bruce Wayne’s parents.

in the series, Cobblepot starts out as an underling to crime boss Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith). While his Penguin is shaped by comics, Taylor says his aim is to make the character someone “that people can identify with on a personal level.”

“Once you know what someone’s gone through – no matter what horrible, horrible things that they’ve done, you sympathise with them,” Taylor says. “That’s just how it is.” – aP

Gotham airs every Thursday at 9pm on Warner TV (HyppTV Ch 613).

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