With world of the pre-Batman series now guaranteed to unspool for a second season, the veteran character actor spoke candidly with CBR News about taking on the GCPD’s increasingly less corrupt cop and the discoveries that he’s made along the way, the surprising effects of taking on such a high-profile project and frankly feeling a bit flummoxed that breathing life into the role isn’t, in fact, a little bit harder.
CBR News: Now that you know you’ve got more road to go with this character, what has you excited about his journey ahead?
Donal Logue: I don’t know! I don’t have any clue. I have no clue what his journey’s going to be, and I stayed pretty flexible. And I think he’s been all over the map a little bit: I think he’s inherently a good guy, but he’s kind of a dirty cop. And you saw a little bit of his private life, in the fact that he takes care of Dix — I’m just open. I just like any time he shows a crack to his internal life, and I think that there’s an episode coming up where he finds himself kind of falling for somebody and revealing a little bit about himself. And I like that. I think the crass, crude, whaa-whaa, stuff is a little easy. Sometimes you get rewarded for doing the easy stuff, but it’s got to be both.
Tell me some of the discoveries you’ve made since the beginning of the series.
It sounds absurd. It sounds crazy, but part of what I feel guilty about with Harvey Bullock is I really feel like it’s so easy — that I’m like, “Oh, you’re doing a good job.” I’m not doing shit! I’m not even trying. It’s so easy. This was a coat that was so — I knew what it was immediately when I put it on. And now I’m like, “Maybe that’s what it’s supposed to be. Maybe it’s not supposed to be so tortured a process.”
It was hard to do “Vikings.” It was hard to do “Copper.” Part of that was, like, there’s dialect and other things. But Harvey was just like “Boom — I know this dude. Wow, I know this guy.” And I also know really well, that it doesn’t have to always clock in the most emotionally logical way from episode to episode. Sometimes it’s like, “Dude, you just need to bring some energy in the scene or some humor into this world.” And I get it. That’s my job, you know. And so it’s a theatrical world, and I like that.
I feel like I’m really lucky because I get to sometimes maybe vibrate at a frequency that’s a little deeper and darker than people anticipate. So I’m pretty lucky. And I have to get over too what it’s like to just not being everything and not feel bad about someone else like Ben [McKenzie]’s pulling a lot of the heavy lifting for stuff — I think it’s chilled out for certainly me and for him a little bit. And sometimes that’s okay too, you know.
Do you want it to still be hard on occasion?
Oh, yeah, totally. I’m a happy human being when I’m overloaded with stuff to do, but I got stuff to do… I’m trying. I know that we deal with this dirty cop, Dash Mihok, that I’m old friends with. And there’s a cool episode with this woman, Maria Thayer [who plays Scottie Mullen] — Bullock falls in love, and with someone other than Jim Gordon. [Laughs] And so yeah, wow, it’s a big world for [Executive Producers] Danny [Cannon] and Bruno [Heller] to have to juggle, and all the writers. I just want to be of service to the piece whichever way I can. And I think Bullock is — not me, but a color to have in that world. I think you would feel the absence almost more than you [might think] — it’s kind of a grounding, because he can be funny as shit, but he is dirty like the old city.
He represents Gotham as it’s been, but he sees the potential of what Jim Gordon wants Gotham to be.
Do you get to play with some of the regular cast more than you have?
I don’t know. Honestly, we got Episode 18 yesterday which I didn’t read — I was with my kids last night — so I only know what we’re shooting for [Episode] 17 this week, and I don’t know what the next five episodes are. I don’t even know what the arc of the end of the season is. I’m hoping that it’s big. I’m hoping that Montoya and Allen come back and people that we haven’t seen in a while. I’m sure it will tie up something stuff. There’s just a lot. I feel for those guys, because what do you say when Richard Kind and John Doman, some seriously good eff-ing actors, [are also in the mix]. So hopefully, we’ll see everybody for the next half — I’m sure there will be some kind of like three-episode arc or something to close it out.
Has there been something intriguing you’ve found in the fan response to Bullock?
I’ve stayed away from it. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as kind of isolated — I live across the street from where we work in Brooklyn, and I feel like I’m in “Gotham”-world with my workmates and I’m living in another city where my family’s not. And I think this is the most I’ve felt isolated. I know that the marketing campaign as massive. I know that there’s a big wave of stuff. I know that it’s probably bigger than anything I’ve been involved with in my life. But I weirdly have been separate from it.
So it’s almost disconcerting sometimes — even from my kids’ lives. They’re like, “Dude, ‘Gotham’ changed stuff.” Just the way their friends treat them and stuff. “Oh, your dad’s on ‘Gotham.’ You don’t have any fucking problems. Why don’t you buy me this, dude.” Like, weird shit. And I’m like, “Oh, ‘Gotham’ is the next level — no complaints. It’s not a big deal,” and all that kind of stuff, and it’s all cool.
I’m just, like, it’s interesting psychologically to be involved in something that was that Front Street. I’m kind of used to being like, “Oh, that dude was great in ‘Terriers.’ Real shame that it died.” “Oh, man, I was rooting for that dude.” “He’s like the kiss of death.” Whatever — which never was the case and not true and all that kind of stuff. But I was involved in some kind of underdogs that were really lovable but not quite [successful]… this is different. This thing, it’s a big world. And it was known before we came along, so we just had to not eff it up. We had the responsibility to keep the franchise going and do our bit.
Were there any notes you saw in your comic book research that you’re still hoping you get to play?
Yeah, a couple of the things in this Bullock story where he really goes dark and dirty. And then when he’s really heroic and saving people from fires. There’s a level of crassness to that Bullock that we could never play at 8 o’clock on a Friday night. And I don’t know if I’d necessarily want to. There’s kind of a homophobic side to him and all this stuff that I don’t — I also don’t disagree with playing characters like that because if you’re an asshole, you’re supposed to play like a straight-up asshole, because the message to people is this guy’s a dick. Not trying to make assholes in the world seem like kind of nice guys, too. But I think certain dark tones, you just can’t lean on it for a long time or else Bullock wouldn’t last that long, you know?
The project is so interesting because it’s got a kid appeal because of the superhero element, but you’re taking it very serious, very adult and frequently very dark.
It’s hard. You’ve got to strike that tone. They’ll talk about it. It’s 8 o’clock, and things I haven’t had to worry about for a long time, but it’s just like, wow, you’ve got to be dark and scary, but you can’t get that dark. We can’t do what the “Walking Dead” — there’s limitations to what we can do. It’s okay. It’s all storytelling. But striking a tone balance is really interesting challenge.
What has been the best part of your “Gotham” experience so far?
I think when you’re in a van, and you’re working with them, and you’re driving home at night, and it’s been a cool day on the set, which I never take for granted, and you’re driving over the Manhattan bridge back to Brooklyn, and the lights are twinkling. Man, pinch me, New York. Wow. My Jujitsu dude — I go to this dojo in Brooklyn, and he’s like, “There are no good old days. Today is the good old days.”
And today is the good old day, because I will at some point in my life, whatever happens, I’ll be, “Man, I remember when it was crazy. I used to live in LA, and I was working on this stuff, I was working in New York and we’d be doing press junkets at fancy hotels…” And it will be part of a story. Even when someone might be like, “Bullshit, dude.” I guess it’s hard not to look up — you can verify or whatever. Now, you can’t really talk that much smack because you can just look it up. But today’s the good old days.
“Gotham” airs Mondays at 8 on Fox.
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