Gotham’s Michael Chiklis on his career, his series and Comic-Con
We sat down with Michael Chiklis to discuss his career, his series, “Gotham” and San Diego Comic-Con.
Michael Chiklis is no stranger to comic fans. You’ll remember it was “Clobberin’ time” back in 2005, as Chiklis played Ben Grimm on “Fantastic 4.” Fast forward a decade and, with a lot less makeup, we see that his Marvel Comics character was a great warmup for his DC television character of Nathaniel Barnes on “Gotham.”
A lot has happened in that decade and Chiklis remembers his first San Diego Comic-Con with affection. “I remember my first Comic-Con in 2004,” Chiklis said. “We thought it was huge then, but it has grown and grown and grown. It seems to be reflective of the times. It brings a lot of joy to a lot of people and it’s a real magnet, drawing people in.”
Since that time, Chiklis has appeared in the follow up to “Fantastic Four” with “Rise of the Silver Surfer,” as well as his hit series “The Shield” and “No Ordinary Family” where he appeared as Jim Powell, a typical American father whose family gains special powers after a plane crash. He co-starred with “Modern Family” star, Julie Benz.
Geek culture seems to love Chiklis. He’s been a part of “American Horror Story,” “Sons of Anarchy” and even a spot on “Robot Chicken.”
When asked about his character of Barnes on Gotham, Chiklis didn’t hold back.
“The reason I took this gig will play out this year. Had Barnes been the character that we’ve seen (so far), I wouldn’t have been interested in it. But because we discussed the arc of the character, I was like, ‘Oh! I can get behind that!’” Chiklis continued, “Now my character’s going to undergo a transformation that the audience is going to eat up.”
If you are behind on “Gotham,” Barnes was injured toward the end of last season, leading to a downward spiral for Jim Gordon and a shakeup in the department.
“At the beginning of the season, Barnes is badly hurt, coming back to the precinct really diminished and down.” Chiklis said. “Here’s this kid (Gordon) he looks at as his son and he wants to keep him from becoming something he is not. Gordon is wanting to fight fire with fire, right? My guy, Barnes, is trying to pull him out of that and not having a lot of success. I think one of the interesting ironies is what his own zealotry leads to.”
“And then something crazy happens. Terrible crazy.” Chiklis hinted. “Then it’s a different dynamic, entirely.”
Chiklis has been acting in television since the days of “Miami Vice,” as NYPD Detective Jeffrey Whitehead in 1989. He’s been in nearly 40 television series with little time off. So why “Gotham?”
It’s been great. It’s been wonderful. It’s also been wonderful to have a life (outside of entertainment), because there are so many people on this show.” Chiklis is able to avoid being the primary character on “Gotham,” giving him time off between appearances. “I get to go see concerts, go to Central Park, just have a blast.”
For Chiklis, “Gotham” is a timely series. “I’ve always said this. The thing about comic books and graphic novels is that they speak to very broad and very real themes about humanity. This innate struggle between good and evil. That’s how it draws people in.”
Comic book fans always want to know if an actor was a fan of comics before taking the role in a film or a series. Chiklis makes it very apparent that he is and that he has a massive respect for comic books and their impact on our culture.
“On the one hand,” Chiklis said, “comics are very escapist, where we’re able to go away for an hour or two and be entertained, but at the same time, it speaks to this incredibly dark aspect in human nature and this desire for heroism.”
Gotham returns to FOX for season 3 on Monday, September 19, 2016.