Nicholas D’Agosto plays gambling man Harvey Dent on Fox’s “Gotham,” but in real life the actor is hedging his bets. He was especially coy when TheWrap asked him about the character’s devolution into one of Batman’s most notorious arch-nemeses, Two Face.
“I don’t even know if it’ll happen,” he said Monday, the day of his debut on the crime TV series. “I would be surprised if it didn’t.”
D’Agosto believes his character needs to establish himself as one of Gotham City’s good guys before he can make the turn toward darkness. He said viewers might well be in for multiple seasons worth of do-gooding Dent and Det. Jim Gordon (Benjamin McKenzie) playing for the same team.
“I’m not quite a villain yet, which is actually one of the exciting things about my character,” D’Agosto also explained. “There’s fun in having Harvey be an ally of Jim Gordon for a long time — there are so many villains in this world.”
The villain has been portrayed memorably on several other occasions. Christopher Nolan‘s “The Dark Knight Rises” featured a menacing Aaron Eckhart as Two Face/Dent, while Joel Schumacher‘s campy 1995 film “Batman Forever” saw Tommy Lee Jones play the role with much more panache.
But D’Agosto doesn’t seem to be channeling either.
“I did look at Aaron Eckhart‘s [portrayal]. I didn’t actually go back to Tommy Lee Jones‘ stuff partly because I had very little time to prepare, to be honest with you,” he explained. “But I find if I try to watch other people’s performances — if I try to be like somebody else — then I’m not doing what’s required of me on the page.”
And certainly much will be required of him. Dent is a a beloved character within the DC Comics universe and Monday night’s introduction may be heavily scrutinized. But D’Agosto isn’t buckling under the stress.
“There’s always going to be criticism. But if there isn’t criticism that means there’s silence. If there’s total silence that means no people aren’t watching,” he explained. “If fans are staying in it long enough to talk about what they love and don’t love about a show, then that means they love enough to stay with it.”
If anything, the actor looks forward to the challenge of following in Eckhart and Jones’ footsteps.
“They’re big shoes to fill, but the truth be told I don’t think of it that way — I’m excited by the challenge,” he said.
“Gotham” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.