THE DARK KNIGHT IN TRAINING
words by HIKO MITSUZUKA
David Mazouz may be the latest incarnation of Bruce Wayne on Fox’s origin series Gotham, but don’t expect the 13-year-old actor to hop in the Batmobile anytime soon (he’s got a few more years before acquiring that driver’s license). And don’t expect his character to don that iconic black cape and mask just yet. Any fanboy will tell you that all good mythologies take time to unravel and develop, and David is making sure to soak up as much as he can while adjusting to his role as a key player in the DC universe…even if it includes an occasional happy dance.
What went through your mind when you found out you nabbed the role that would essentially allow you to say, “I am Batman”? Describe that day.
It’s tough to answer that question because the audition process was an intensive one. Shortly after the New Year, I had a 103-degree fever and went in for my first test. The next day I was asked to come back and test again, and funny enough, I was asked to come back again, which was my third time in a week. On that day, a hair stylist cut my hair much shorter than it had ever been – cut all the curls off – and I was dressed in a very “Bruce Wayne” type of jacket, and I tested again on tape. I waited for what felt like a couple of weeks. I finally was told I got the role. After all that build up, I was in shock and so happy, yet it felt unbelievable. I was very excited and even screamed! But it really wasn’t until we shot the pilot three months later that it started to seem real. When we were in the hotel one night in New York while shooting the pilot, it sunk in. I danced on the bed and screamed while I did a happy dance. Finding out about this was one of the best days of my life!
Some of the material on Gotham is quite dark. What do you do to shake it off when you wrap up an intense scene?
The show is quite dark, but I don’t really feel like I go into a dark place for very long when we’re shooting. There is a lot of camaraderie among the cast, so in between takes, we try to have a good time and lighten things up. I have had most of my scenes with Sean Pertwee, and he’s particularly good at having a laugh with me. All the actors on set are really a lot of fun, and we have all done quite a lot of socializing, especially since many of us have moved to New York to shoot. We know how to have a good time together. It’s hard to be dark around these amazing people!
What’s one thing that has surprised you about being on a huge mythology-driven show like this?
I think it’s the commitment and support from the fans. I saw all the Batman movies, and Batman was always my favorite superhero, but I never really read the comics. However, when I booked this role, I did all kinds of research and read every comic book I could get my hands on. I received Batman books and read about all the villains and many characters I didn’t know about before. So now I understand how complex these stories are and how committed the fans are and how supportive they have been. What surprised me is how excited the fans were at [San Diego] Comic Con, and it just makes me want to work that much harder to be the person they see as the prequel to Batman.
Speaking of Comic Con…got any crazy stories from this past summer?
I don’t! We were all really busy going from one place to another, and at the end of a long and amazingly fun day of press, autograph signings, and the awesome Gotham Zip Line, we had a DC panel where I got to meet the rest of the Justice League, including cast from The Flash, Arrow and Constantine. It was really awesome and also kind of unreal. People were completely decked out as all these different comic characters and even dressed their babies! It was crazy! I LOVED it! Just wished I had time to go shopping, too!
Ever think you’ll swap some Batman stories with Ben Affleck (who will be starring in 2016’s Dawn of Justice)?
I don’t know if I will have anything to share with Ben Affleck, but I would LOVE to hear stories from him! I would love to watch him shoot and see him go in and out of scenes and character. I am sure Ben Affleck and Christian Bale would have a lot of stories to share, and I could learn so much from them, especially how to say “I am Batman” correctly. I have years before I would need to work on that!
How (and when) did you know you wanted to become an actor?
I didn’t really have a moment when I knew I wanted to be an actor. My sister and I were stopped in a mall about taking acting classes. My mom said no at first, but my sister really wanted to, and I was only six [years old] and followed her everywhere. My mom found us a teacher who is still my coach today. We just took classes together every week for three hours. About a year later, my commercial agent wanted to represent me, and then he referred me to my theatrical agent, and I began to work theatrically. I always loved it! I loved working from the very beginning, and I still do. I can’t imagine doing anything else. Now I’d love to write and direct one day.
Got any favorite holiday traditions you’re excited for?
We have a lot of holiday traditions in my family and usually have a lot of friends over. This year, because I’m working away from home, I’m not really sure what we’ll be doing, if we’ll be home in L.A. or if my sister and dad will be able to join us in New York. If we are there, that’d be a new tradition!
photography AMANDA ELKINS www.amandaelkins.com
styling TOYE ADEDIPE www.toyeadedipe.com
grooming MELISSA DEZARATE at EXCLISIVE ARTISTS using KEVIN MURPHY
special thanks to THE DELGADOS
location ROLLING HILLS ESTATES