Misha Collins plays Harvey Dent in “Gotham Knights.” Photo courtesy of The CW
LOS ANGELES, March 14 (UPI) — Misha Collins confirmed that his portrayal of Harvey Dent will evolve into the villainous Two-Face in the first season of Gotham Knights, premiering Tuesday on The CW.
“The character that we all know as Two-Face, with all of his trademarks, emerges in this season,” Collins, 48, told UPI in a recent phone interview.
In Batman comics, Two-Face is the alter ego of Gotham City District Attorney.Harvey Dent, represented when half his face is burned. Tommy Lee Jones portrayed Two-Face in Batman Forever and Aaron Eckhart did in The Dark Knight.
Billy Dee Williams played Dent in 1989’s Batman, but did not suffer the disfigurement in that film. Collins said viewers will start to see Dent’s decline in the first third of the season.
“Rather than having one traumatic incident that suddenly causes him to snap and become a villain, we see all of the cracks in his psyche emerging over a long period of time,” Collins said.
Gotham Knights begins with the murder of Bruce Wayne, aka Batman. Wayne’s adopted son, Turner Hayes (Oscar Morgan), finds out his father was Batman after his death.
Turner teams up with his hacker friend, Stephanie (Anna Lore), Robin (Navia Ziraili Robinson), and three teens (Fallon Smythe, Tyler DiChiara and Olivia Rose Keegan) framed for Wayne’s murder to solve the crime.
As the Gotham City D.A., Dent is on the case, too. Collins said he researched identity dysmorphia to bring a more clinical approach to Dent’s eventual condition.
“We get to see him wrestle with his own inner demons and try to hold it together, trying to do the right thing but ultimately succumbing,” Collins said.
“He had a very traumatic childhood and all of the antecedents that would lead to, in real world, somebody actually having that kind of mental break.”
That includes, Collins said, scenes in which Dent talks to a therapist. Until such time as Dent turns, he is an ally to the Gotham Knights.
Dent was close to Wayne and his crime-fighting alter ego, so he is just as interested in finding the real killer. Suspect Cullen Row (DiChiara) is a trans man, and Dent steps in when an officer calls Cullen by his dead name.
“It just has this powerful normalizing effect that lets the audience get to know characters and love characters who have disparate identities,” Collins said. “I’m happy that my character was an ally in the show, but I’m also proud of the manner in which the show has dealt with representation.”
In its attempt at a more grounded portrayal of Gotham City, Gotham Knights does not refer to Dent’s transformation as Two-Face in the first season. Collins said there may be some passing references to being a Two-Face in dialogue, but Dent does not take on comic book histrionics.
“He doesn’t actually take on that moniker in this season,” Collins said. “But the character that we all know as Two-Face with all of his trademarks emerges in this season.”
Gotham Knights does use Two-Face’s comic book trademark, a double-sided coin. Collins said the coin is introduced in the series premiere.
“The coin is one of the stars of the show,” Collins said. “The coin ends up playing a pivotal role.”
The show marks Collins’ return to the CW family after playing Castiel for 12 seasons out of Supernatural‘s 15-season run. Collins said the filming schedule of Supernatural, plus weekly travel to fan conventions, burned him out.
Collins said he was actually considering retiring from acting. He saw Gotham Knights as a test to see if he still enjoyed his chosen career, and it proved he still does.
“The character is so iconic, but also the manner in which the writers wanted to approach this particular unraveling. It was like, well, if I don’t like doing that, then I definitely should get out of this business,” Collins said. “It renewed my excitement in this job.”
Gotham Knights airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EDT on The CW.