'Gotham': How this Harvey Dent will be different
The newest star of Fox’s Gotham reveals the plan for the show’s portrayal of iconic character Harvey Dent/Two Face. Below, Nicholas D’Agosto (Masters of Sex and Heroes) talks about his take on the ambitious coin-flipping assistant district attorney who eventually becomes the hideously scarred villain. D’Agosto will make his debut in Monday’s episode.
EW: What’s unique about Gotham‘s Harvey Dent?
NICHOLAS D’AGOSTO: What’s unique would be that this is the origin story so [the writers] have this freedom to follow their imagination for the foundation of this guy. I looked through what were the through-lines for Harvey Dent in his history and I thought it was really important to latch onto his early parental abuse by his father. What’s nice about this origin story is that although he’s going to look a little different than other pre-Two Face Harvey Dents, there’s foreshadowing of his darker nature—there’s going to be a little bit of that you’re seeing early.
So, in contrast to the Aaron Eckhart version in The Dark Knight—where he’s a very pure person who, with a sudden light-switch flip, becomes this evil character—there are some darker tendencies lurking under the surface?
I don’t want to go so far as to say they’re written. I don’t want to stress that too much. The character does get established as a positive character that Jim Gordon [Ben McKenzie] can get behind. But there’s an ambition in his Harvey Dent, there’s almost a craven ambition to him, and that can lead to his more angry episodes. It lends itself to a darker element to him that most people will know. Dent is still a pure and genuine character who switches with the accident.
What’s his relationship like with Jim Gordon?
Gordon is really mistrustful of pretty much everyone at this stage. Harvey Dent emerges as this ally out of the blue that’s had this previous relationship with Montoya and Allen and he brings a kind of new element to solving the Wayne murders. It’s a very positive element, but as things do on this show, they go awry we’ll have to see where Gordon and Dent end up.
There’s a been a little criticism of villains on the show foreshadowing really heavily what they’ll become right out of the gate. Does your Dent have any obvious Two Face qualities? Like, is there any coin flipping involved?
Oh, yeah. It’s a facet of the television world. It’s important to speak to a larger audience and to speak to have these kind of [touchstones] because people have their minds in so many different shows. Definitely from the first scene you’ll see me flipping a coin. I hope it comes across like in Eckhart’s version where it was used by Harvey as a tool to subtly manipulate people into getting his way.
Any potential love interest?
I’m hoping for a really big Ben McKenzie love scene—no, I really don’t know. There’s nothing at this moment, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is. This is going to be a long story of who he is, and there’s been love relationships in previous iterations of the franchise, so I wouldn’t be surprised.
Who do you think did the best Harvey Dent before your take?
I really want to go through all the movies. [The casting] happened really fast. I didn’t have a lot of time. But I really loved the Aaron Eckhart version. It was a resoundingly successful franchise for this generation of moviegoers … and will say I also listened to the animated series, how [actor Richard Moll] differentiated Harvey Dent from Two Face.
Will he be Dent for awhile, or will Two Face emerge this season?
I don’t know. They always keep us actors in the dark. I think it would be at least a couple of seasons. They’ve taken certain license with certain elements of the story, like they’ve played up a large age difference between Harvey Dent and Bruce Wayne. So who knows where they’ll go with it? I hope I get to be Two Face somewhere in the middle of the run, so I can really explore these two halves.