Lucius Fox is cutting ties with Wayne Enterprises — at least for the time being. The gadget wiz has had it with the corruption of Gotham City and aims to work alongside with the GCPD to clean up the streets, says actor Chris Chalk. We recently spoke with Chalk about Lucius’ growth in season 3 of Gotham, his ideas for potential fight scenes, and what Lucius’ number one priority is. Find out all the details below.
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What can you tell us about where we’re picking up on Lucius in season 3?
“Well, the good thing about Lucius is he’s a little bit more developed. We start to see that he’s fallen out of love with Wayne Enterprises for this moment due to their corruption, which we saw towards the end of season 2. Since he can’t find the direct source of that corruption, he’s left there and has started to use his services at the GCPD. That’s where we start to slowly get to see him developing into the Lucius Fox that we all know he’s going to become.”
On that corruption at Wayne Enterprises, is he just dealing with that by completely removing himself and just sticking with the GCPD?
“As far as we know, he is just sticking with the GCPD. But knowing Lucius, he’s probably up to something.”
Will we possibly get to see the birth of some of Lucius’ infamous gadgets this season?
We’re going to see some of those gadgets start to develop, for sure. We’re going to see him start to use that part of his brain and find his way of helping. I think at the end of season 2, being thrown directly into the fire with Mr. Strange, he’s now starting to realize how he can help solve crime and clean Gotham City up from its evil.”
Speaking of him getting thrown into the fire — with everything he went through in season 2, is Lucius a little wiser about when he needs to get involved and to what magnitude?
(Laughs) “Yeah, let’s hope so, right? I think he will start to be a little wiser about how to get involved. I think he’ll always want to get involved at this stage, but it’s the how. When you’re forced to learn your skill set. I think he learned that getting lucky diffusing a bomb might not be the way to go.” (Laughs)
Do you look at Morgan Freeman’s movie version of Lucius at all as where your TV show version of the character would end up, or do you have to disregard that rendition entirely?
“Because we’re an alternate storytelling, you know, just like the comic has different canons of Batman, the Dark Knight, it’s different ways to get through the story to end up at the same place. I’m only beholden to the text, which is whatever the writers write and what’s already written in the graphic novels or comic book. I love Morgan Freeman’s portrayal, but it’s not where we’re going necessarily. Like, we’re not obligated to go in that very specific direction that they so wonderfully did. We get a chance to do our own thing. So, absolutely loving those movies, that’s what they are. They’re just movies and another Lucius Fox. And that’s great, but it doesn’t affect where I feel like I have to go if we’re on for 70 years.” (Laughs)
Knowing where Lucius ends up, have you seen a moment that graduates or transforms him into the character we know from the comics?
“I don’t think we’ve gotten to that part yet in the show. I think the good thing about being pre-Batman is no one knows this part of the story. The only time it’s really talked about is in flashbacks in the comic books and graphic novels, but there’s never been a straight narrative of this part of the existence of Gotham. So I haven’t yet seen the thing that makes [Lucius] go, ‘Oh, that’s how I can help. That’s who I am in this world.’ I don’t think we’ve gotten to that point yet, because we’re all kind of bumbling and stumbling into becoming these people.
If we were already smart enough to make all the gadgets and strong enough to be Batman, there would be no need for this story. But we’re stumbling, we’re making all the mistakes and we’re not quite up on how dangerous these villains are. So we’re taking risks and failing. Also, the city has to get so disgusting, so violent and so broken that there is a need for Bruce Wayne to become Batman. For Lucius Fox to really aide who becomes Batman. I don’t think Gotham is destroyed enough for him to see the likes of who he’s going to be.”
Will we get to see more of that process of Lucius aiding Bruce into becoming Batman? Is there more interaction between the two?
“I believe in the second [episode] which we haven’t gotten to yet, there’s going to be a lot more of those two coming back together. Once the Court of Owls rears its head, they’ll be back together as a team.”
So what does that dynamic look like, between Lucius and Bruce and Lucius and Alfred?
“Well, Alfred and I are good friends now that we trust each other. We both have the same objective, which is to keep Bruce Wayne safe. Mine is because of my dedication to his father and Wayne Enterprises, and Alfred’s a butler father figure. His job is to keep [Bruce] safe. So as long as we’re both doing our jobs. We always talk about being Bruce’s left and right brains. Alfred wants to solve things with his fists, I’m thinking of the most logical way out. So I think those are sort of the ways that Bruce starts to learn from both of us. I’m like a teacher figure to Bruce. People often ask if I’m a father figure. Certainly not. I really can see the intelligence in him. I really can see that there’s something very special in him, so I regard him as a peer who I also want to take very good care of.”
That’s an interesting way of putting you and Alfred’s roles in Bruce’s life, him teaching him to be more physical and you more mental. Are you interested in any physical fight scenes with Lucius?
(Laughs) “I want Lucius to fight so bad, man. I do. Because we get to tell this part of the story, wouldn’t it be dope if something happened where Lucius does, or something is done to him, that is then the reason why he doesn’t fight so much. It’s not written, but I just want to get it out there as much as possible, that idea. (Laughs) Plus I studied jujitsu, so I want to fight! Wouldn’t that be great? If Lucius just lost his mind for a little bit and then went, ‘I’m so sorry, I’m never going to do this again.’ It’d be a great story.”
What’s your favorite difference between the young Lucius that you play and the older one that we know, which you love to explore?
“I’m excited about the younger version of Lucius because he’s going to still make mistakes. I do regard him as one of the smartest men in the room, but he’s still not as smart as he’s going to be. So there’s a lot of mistakes. There’s a lot of not knowing how to fit in or where to fit in. Discovering the journey of how to be useful in Gotham. The end of season 2, for example; the older Lucius would have known exactly what to do with that bomb. But you see Gordon and Lucius being idiots and just happen to accidentally solve a problem. In the beginning we get to make a lot more mistakes, where when the city gets more dangerous, there are less mistakes that can be made. So he’s just smarter. I mean a dumb version of Lucius is still a genius, but it’s fun to get to play a less smart version of what I know he’ll become.”
Do you pick up on any of the Easter eggs that Gotham lays out about Batman?
“Yes. They always say that I’m the one comic book nerd on the show. I loved to read comic books. Mostly Marvel, but you can’t avoid reading Batman and Superman if you’re a comic book person. So yeah, I love seeing the litter reveals and when they talk about the plot lines. I’m like, ‘Oh yes! We’re gonna get to that!’ I get a little excited about that on panel stuff. It makes me happy. Escpecially because I’m so used to doing like 12 Years a Slave, Homeland, all this very serious stuff. So it’s very fun to be serious, but in a different way. In a way that really connects to my childhood. It’s great.”
Do you find that there’s a different approach when you play Tom Walker in a grounded show like Homeland as opposed to a grounded character in a fantasy show like Gotham?
“No, it’s the same approach because it’s not a fantasy world to Lucius. It’s very real, the stakes are high. Just like Tom Walker in Homeland loved his kids and loved his wife and that’s all he wants to do is see them. Lucius Fox, he loves Bruce Wayne, he loves Wayne Enterprises and he loves his town. So all he wants to do is keep it safe. I feel like most characters, there’s something that they really love which they’re fighting for. If you can find that, it’ll work. So it’s kind of the same process; what they want, what they love. And then it’s like you said, keeping it as grounded as possible. Even if I’m in the broadest, multi-cam comedy, I want it to be as grounded as possible. Because that’s what makes it entertaining and believable.”
So what would you say is that one thing that Lucius wants then?
“To keep Bruce safe. Keep Bruce safe. That right now as we’re speaking is it, keep Bruce safe. So even as he’s working in the GCPD, there is a reason. You know? There’s a story that will ultimately connect to keeping Bruce safe.”
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Are you excited about Lucius heading to the GCPD or do you think he should stick with Wayne Enterprises? Let us know in the comments below!
Gotham season 3 airs Mondays at 8/7c on FOX. Stay updated on all things Gotham by following our Gotham Insider page on Facebook.
(Image courtesy of Jenny Tunberg)