Monday, October 06, 2014

Male on Monday - Benjamin McKenzie

Pink Heart Society Editor, Ali Williams, joins us today to extol the virtues of Benjamin McKenzie's protrayal of Jim Gordon in Gotham.  WARNING:  Comic book geekery ahead...

I'm a big fan of comic books; particularly those which are simultaneously dark and funny.  I love the way that superheroes are the ultimate alpha male, and the way that female superheroes are no less strong, brave or empathetic than their male counterparts.

But more than anything else, I have a bit of a thing for origin stories.

So you can imagine my delight when FOX announced that they were developing GothamGotham is the ulitmate origins story, looking at superheroes and villains alike (including a very young Bruce Wayne and characters who will develop into Catwoman, Penguin, Poison Ivy amongst others).  But this isn't limiited to the household names that we know and love.

Gotham feeds off comics such as Gotham Central and places those in the police department at the very centre of its narrative.

And this is where today's Male on Monday - Benjamin McKenzie - comes in.

McKenzie plays a young James Gordon - Gordon before he's wizened and a legend in the force; a Gordon who is passionate and a firm believer in "doing the right thing", even when faced with the impossibility of the corrupt police force of Gotham.

Ben's been fairly rigorous in prepping for the role, reading comics and watching previous adaptations.  But when asked about what will surprise audiences about his portrayal of Jim Gordon, he highlighted the fallibility of his character:

It's a constant struggle for him to understand how he will ever possibly succeed in a city that seems to be beyond redemption. He can be surprised at his own ability when confronted with evil to cut a deal with the devil to get things done. That is going to be a large part of him: How does he survive in a city that is as immoral as Gotham and still get things done?

There's nothing quite so attractive as a man doing the whole "saving the world" thing, and that's what Jim Gordon is all about - especially when he becomes a mentor to the very young Bruce Wayne.

As for Ben himself, he was born in Texas in 1978 and came into the limelight as Ryan Atwood in The O.C.   Since then, he's starred in Junebug with the-then-unknown Amy Adams, and dropped out of Snakes on a Plane to film 88 Minutes with Al Pacino.  In 2009 he took on the role of rookie officer Ben Sherman in Southland, a series that looks at the moral compass of the police force - experience that will surely be of help as Gotham continues - and put in an outstanding performance as the conflicted police officer.

Gotham is being broadcast in the US now, and begins in the UK on Monday 13th October:

And what about Ben as romantic hero? Well, there are any number of alpha males whose careers are in the police force in romantic suspense novels.  Do you think that Ben McKenzie's Jim Gordon is such a hero?  And how do you feel about having police officers as romantic heroes?

Ali Williams grew up in Croydon and spent her teenage years in a convent girls' school. She then fled to university where she discovered champagne cocktails, a capella singing and erotica.

These days she blogs about perceptions of romance, chick lit and women in society and spends an extraordinary amount of time coercing male friends to pose with her favourite Mills & Boon books to the bemusement of the Twittersphere.

Genre reporter for chick lit and erotica at For Books' Sake and guest blogger for Mills & Boon, she defies you to slam romance novels within her hearing!


  1. Loved Southland... Wish they hadn't cancelled it. And Ben? Yum!

  2. Right?! Southland was amazing!! I was totally hooked on it and v disappointed when it ended.

    And when it comes to Ben...yeah, I like my men gruff and with a saving-the-world complex. :P