Exclusive: Here’s our interview with actor Donal Logue, Harvey Bullock on Gotham, who discusses the similarities and differences between Harvey Bullock and other characters he’s played, the impact of Ben McKenzie’s Jim Gordon on his character, the burden of comedic relief and the future broadening scope of Gotham. You can listen to the podcast below with all of our interviews from New York Comic Con or read on for Donal Logue’s interview
Question – From pretty heavy independent films to a pretty heavy character on TV do you feel it’s a natural evolution?
Donal Logue – When you’re younger and you do college theatre or something, I remember we would do something like a Joe Orton play and then you’d rehearse a Sam Shepard play you’d do next and then you’d do the play that night. That’s just being an actor. Especially in the old school. Look at guys like Burgess Meredith and those kinds of careers. Your job is to go all over the map it’s a little tricky but that’s what the fun is.
Question – just a follow up. Some people have said the process of TV is different than the process of film that’s why I ask.
D.L. – I’ll give you a good story on that one so when I first auditioned for anything ever it was a mini-series about “Common Ground” which was the Pulitzer prize winning book about the Boston Busing Crisis in the mid-seventies and so Meg Simon who cast the show with Warner Brothers discovered me in Boston, I was a theatre actor at the time. I was reading (the script) and I said I dunno I’ve done a bunch of plays and I hear stories, am I supposed to be smaller I hear the process is different and (Meg Simon) said “Just act the F’ing scene”. If you think that way you’re thinking the wrong way. Every medium is it’s own thing. I did a sit-com which originally wasn’t supposed to be in front of a live studio audience and when that changed I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. John Lithgow said “It’s a two act play in front of an audience, it’s fantastic” and I said OK so it is it’s own animal. By the way John Lithgow to me is the king, when you talk about bouncing between all the mediums. He’s an amazing guy, super super great guy.
Question – What’s your take on this character? I mean he’s so complicated and so layered and you do a great job.
D.L. – Thanks. I think my take on that is the same as most people the difficulty I have is that he also seems to have carry a little bit of the burden of comedic relief. It’s about finding that balance of when it’s real serious when it’s dark and when it’s kind of goofy. I’ve done comedies in the past and your living fully in the sunshine of that side of the street and then I went to Sons of Anarchy, Vikings and Copper so you’re comfortable in that cause you know it’s dark. With this one it’s a little tricky to bounce back and forth almost arbitrarily so.
Question – and do you see him as corrupt?
D.L. – I think a lot of people are corrupt. Over the course of your career luckily you get to meet people who work in law enforcement, you get to meet criminals, you get to meet people who work in the military and they say “you know it wasn’t cool but we had to do a deal with this war lord to get through this”. That’s the world. I’m sure a lot of young idealistic people have walked into places like Washington DC into a police department and said “Well I know what the culture is but I’m gonna change it”. It’s not that everybody is corrupt there’s gradations of it. There’s big T truths and small t truths. I think now when you catch him (Harvey) he just wants to get to the finish line. He may want to stash some money on the side, legally or not and wants to add to his pension and then Jim Gordon comes in and (Bullock) has seen fifty of these guys but none of them have been Jim Gordon. They’ve never had the moral fiber of this guy. Jim Gordon is such a strong character that it changes Harvey which reminds him of who he used to be I think.
Question – What’s the appeal of police shows for you such as Life? What’s the appeal for you as an actor or is it just a different role?
D.L. – I would say it’s just a different role, trying to stay as flexible as possible. I have respect for all roles and professions but there’s something so iconic (here). When I did the pilot for Gotham I was doing what I thought was a really thrilling run on Law and Order: S.V.U. which I loved a lot. There’s something so iconic about being able to play a New York Detective. There’s a million amazing stories happening every night, every day there’s stuff going on here (New York) and these guys get to beeline straight to the strangest, darkest part of the human condition and I think there’s something fascinating about it.
Gotham TV Podcast Question – Will we get to see the story behind why Crispus Allen is no longer partnered with Harvey Bullock?
D.L. – We haven’t gotten to it yet. But we get more back story on Montoya and Allen and the M.C.U. and what’s nice too is that the show is starting to breathe more into the worlds of Selina Kyle, Bruce Wayne, Alfred Pennyworth which I like. It was fun to have so much focus on Gordon and Bullock’s partnership. It’s such a big world that I think people will be excited to see it breathe and open up a little bit.
Question – Are you a fan of comic books?
D.L. – I wasn’t a huge fan growing up but since I started working in Blade in 1997 I got into comics. Partially just to understand the world I was representing and i have for the last twenty or so years.