Jeffrey Wright Speaks About the Significance of Playing James Gordon

Earlier this month, Jeffrey Wright headlined Batman: The Audio Adventures as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Wright will also be the first African-American actor to portray Commissioner James Gordon in The Batman next year. Now, Wright is opening up about breaking new ground for the character on the big screen.

Via Heroic Hollywood, Wright told Haute Living that his role as Gordon represents the evolution of Batman and his mythology.

“If you give it a little bit of thought, Batman and the characters within Gotham City are fluid, evolving creatures,” said Wright. “It would be doing a disservice, in fact, to these stories and to the history if we were actually beholden to the details of the original. When Shakespeare wrote female characters, they were written to be played by young boys.”

“Are we to hold on to that tradition now in the 21st century because that was the limited lane that people were allowed at the time? It’s ridiculous. Beyond that, Gordon is many things. He’s relative to Gotham City, to the Gotham City police department, to Batman, to justice and to corruption — and none of those things require that he be white.”

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Wright also noted that “there have been some who I think have made more of it than they probably should, which I think reveals some deficiency [in our country]. In its first iteration in 1939, Gotham City was fashioned after an American metropolis… In 1939, New York was 90 percent white. The power structure in law enforcement in that city at that time would not have been inclusive of someone who looked like me; that’s the historical fact.”

Additionally, Wright doesn’t feel that filmmakers have to be beholden to choices that were made 80 years ago.

“As these stories have continually evolved over these many decades, not only through the comics but also through the films. They’ve been reinterpreted… to be more contemporary to the times than they were made,” added Wright. “To think of [Gotham] as a place that’s only inhabited by white people is to be pretty idiotic. To be beholden to the demographic reality of 1939 urban America — what the f*** is the purpose of that?”

The Batman will hit theaters on March 4, 2022.

What do you think about Wright’s latest remarks? Are you looking forward to seeing his take on James Gordon on the big screen? Let us know in the comment section below!

Recommended Reading: Batman: Year One

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