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Fox's 'Batman' prequel casts 'Southland' star in lead role

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Gotham has found its Gordon.

Ben McKenzie has landed the lead role in Fox’s buzzy Batman prequel series. The actor is going from The O.C. to Southland to Gotham City, playing Detective James Gordon (who, of course, eventually becomes Commissioner Gordon).

The series focuses on Gordon and explores the origin stories of Gotham City’s most legendary residents, including a young Batman, The Joker and The Penguin. Bruno Heller (The Mentalist, Rome) wrote the pilot script and serves as executive producer. Danny Cannon (CSI, Nikita) will direct and executive produce the pilot from Warner Bros. Television.

Last month, Fox’s entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly told reporters that Gotham will be a true origin story, with the characters largely not wearing their iconic costumes. “We’re not starting in that world where the villains are in costume,” he said. “You see markers for it that are delicious you see where the evolution and eccentricity where they become those characters. We don’t start off with capes and costumes.”