The “Gotham: Secret Stories” panel at 5:30PM in the Marriot Atrium Ballroom on Saturday was not only full to near capacity, it was packed with guests, too. David Mazouz, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor, Chris Chalk, and Drew Powell joined moderator Tony Gowell to answer questions and tell stories from the behind the scenes of Gotham.
The questions from the audience were a little slow in starting, and Taylor was amused by the idea of a panel where we all just stare at each other in the dark for 45 minutes. “And then we’d leave going, ‘That went pretty well,’” he added.
One of the early questions went to Mazouz. He was asked about this being his first con, but he corrected that this was specifically his first Dragon Con, which he added was awesome. He said, “You guys are like San Diego on crack!” That made everyone laugh (because it’s true). Mazouz was also asked what it meant to him personally to play a young Bruce Wayne and said that initially it was just another job to him. But then they went to San Diego Comic Con before the show had even aired, and people were so excited to see it. That’s when he realized it was a big deal. Now, as he’s become a fan of Batman and learned a lot about how Bruce Wayne has been portrayed previously both in the comics and in the movies, it means everything to him to play a Bruce Wayne that’s never been seen before. “Really, it’s just the opportunity of a lifetime.”
The theme of playing these characters that are familiar but very different recurred during the panel. Where this show carves out its niche is that it’s telling a story at least 10 years before there even is a Batman. So while there are certain character traits about The Penguin and Alfred Pennyworth, for instance, that are evocative of the movies and the comics, the show has allowed the portrayal of them to evolve from a new place. Mazouz gave a shout out to Taylor during the panel for bringing redeeming qualities to The Penguin. “You feel for him and that’s all Robin!”
Powell noted that for most of them, Gotham is a life-changing job, and they are all genuinely thrilled to be on the show. Chalk told a story about when his father passed away during the show, he and Pertwee and some others just sat around, telling stories of their fathers. He went on to say that when you work with people who are joyful, then you bring that joy home with you. “Having family at home and at work is ideal,” he added. Pertwee chimed in that they all care so much that they still get nervous on the show. They don’t want to be the one that forgets a line or messes something up. Taylor added that since they’re all such good friends, it’s weird when you’re talking to your friend dressed up in a weird outfit, but then stopped himself saying, “Wait, who am I talking to?”
Chalk, it turns out, it the biggest comic book fan of the group, and he noted that he does love Marvel more than DC. Everyone seemed happy to learn that in the upcoming season his character, Lucius Fox, would have more to do and we’d be seeing much more of him.
One of the final questions was about any other projects they had done or were doing that might be coming out soon. Chalk has a recurring role in Underground and is in a short doing the festival circuits called Four Pounds of Flowers. He is also in a film called Come and Find Me. Mazouz can be seen in a horror movie coming out on December 2 called Incarnate. Taylor is in a film currently doing festivals called The Long Home, and can be heard as the voice of The Outsider in the game Dishonored 2. Pertwee hasn’t been doing much in addition to the show and the voice acting that he does for games in the UK. Powell is in a movie he hopes will be released eventually called Geostorm, and he has shot a short web series called Man Jam, about the garage band he has with his friends. The series can be found at manjamtheseries.com, NOT Powell stressed, at manjam.com.
About halfway into the panel, Gowell asked each of them to think of a single word they could say at the end that would be a little teaser for the new season. Even though he gave them all a half hour to think about it, Powell still struggled a little. He eventually came up with “torn.” Pertwee said “allegiances,” Taylor said “bromance,” and Mazouz said “owls.” Chalk ended with “man jam.” It seemed like a fitting way to end the panel.