Where we interview the stars, write about comics, TV, movies, books, music, games and anything fandom related.
Subscribe to this blog
Follow by Email
Exclusive: Jack Bannon – Alfred In ‘Pennyworth’ Live From MCM Comic-Con London
Article by Steve J. Ray
Jack Bannon is a British actor who had already appeared in movies alongside the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch and Brad Pitt before being cast as the lead in Pennyworth, playing Alfred himself. He’s known for his roles in The Imitation Game (2014), Fury (2014) and Endeavour (2012).
Jack was one of the stars attending the recent MCM Comic-Con in London, where I was fortunate enough to talk to him and attend the Pennyworth panel. He’s an incredible talent and you couldn’t hope to meet a nicer fella.
His version of Alfred has already become a favorite, and his love of the character and the universe he inhabits really comes across when speaking to him. The news that Pennyworth has been renewed for a second season, and will start filming in January 2020, is very welcome indeed.
Why play Batman’s butler?
Jack Bannon: I hadn’t thought about it before, and then, when we’d read the premise of (Pennyworth), and particularly for me, Bruno (Heller)’s brilliant script…. that was what grabbed me. The S.A.S. background’s quite cool, and all the action…. the fashion of the 60s. Everything about the show grabbed me. It was fantastic.
His name is Michael Caine… what’s that all about, Alfie?
JB: (Michael Caine) said “I’ll play a butler, as long as he’s ex-S.A.S.” so it wouldn’t have felt right to do an S.A.S. story without giving him a nod. Also, personally I think he was probably the best (Alfred). He was also the archetypal film star of the 60s, so, with this being set in the 60s that sort of felt right as well.
Surprise twists to established relationships
JB: The thing about (the relationship with Thomas Wayne) is, it quite easily could’ve been a sort of bromance kind of thing, but they don’t really like each other, you know? They’re wary of each other, and each one has something that the other one needs. Thomas has money and status, which Alfred needs to get his business of the ground, and Thomas is a wimp, so he needs Alfred’s street-smarts.
60s research and inspiration
JB: There was a bit of that, because all of this was before the comics. I decided, as good as they are, rather than read thousands and thousands of comics, I watched some of the Michael Caine films; The Ipcress File, and things like that. There was a Spotify playlist, that nobody else seems to have heard about, but Danny Cannon made a playlist which I listened to a bit.
Popular culture was much more of a starting point, research-wise.
JB: It was good fun.. though you need to be careful don’t you? Saying, “Oh, it was great! all these guns” and whatnot… but it was.
There’s a fantastic place in London, on the outskirts, where it’s a street of terraced houses, and you go down a sort of alleyway, behind which is the biggest armory in the country. It has weapons from medieval times through to modern day. Fantasy, real things… it’s about four floors! So if there’s a zombie outbreak, I know where I’m going!
We got locked in there for a couple of days with weapons specialists, and they taught us how to use everything… it was fantastic! Yeah, so that was good.
A bit of trivia, the gun that Alfred uses was made for Roger Moore in The Wild Geese, but he didn’t want it. It didn’t get used, so I ended up with it!
Alfred has brains behind the brawn
JB: Exactly, that was always a thing. You know, he says “I don’t like violence”, but unfortunately sometimes that’s the only way that he can get out of a situation… but he’s always looking at the greater good. If it means he has to do bad things to eventually get there, then he’s prepared to do it.
His sharp wit is almost a lot more dangerous than any physical thing he’s carrying.
We shot for six months, and towards the end there were a couple of occasions where I sat in a pub, in London, as me… as Jack Bannon, in real life, and something was happening at the bar. I’d be looking, and going like (he eyes the area up and down, as if judging the scenario, and assessing the risk)… and friends would go, “No. No, no. You are NOT capable of sorting this out! Sit down! Don’t get involved”, and I’m thinking (in a forlorn voice) “Well, I could go over there and say… something.” Luckily, I never did.
Alfred’s unknown past… and well known future
JB: It’s sort of in the back of your head, but, without getting to “actor-y” about it, Alfred himself doesn’t know that yet… where that’s going. He’s discovering it as he goes on. So I’m trying to do that with him, if you see what I mean. We don’t know what’s gonna happen, do we? I never thought I’d be at London Comic-Con. In life strange things happen, and discovering that with him keeps it a bit fresh.
Season two and beyond
JB: Am I looking forward to it? Of course! This is the best job I’ve ever done; we get to shoot it in London, where I live, and where I love… yeah, I can’t wait.
For anyone who hasn’t seen the show
JB: There’s grannies with guns, which is quite fun. Felicity Kendal as a saucy sorceress… there’s lots. The richness of the world is worth looking out for.
Batman in the 60s and meeting previous Bat actors for inspiration
JB: I thought you were gonna say “Did you go to the Batcave?” which I did. Paloma (Faith)’s friend in L.A. took me to the original (1960s Adam West) Batcave, where they shot it. So, I’ve been there. It’s an amazing place, but it’s essentially just a tunnel, and we had to hike up there, which took hours. We got there, and I was, like… without Batman it’s just a hole in a rock.
Did we meet them? No… and I’d like to. So, if you know any of ’em, that would be great! I like Christian Bale, I think he’s my favorite.
Thank you very much, Jack.
JB: Thank you.
Jack Bannon is kind, funny and has a very bright future ahead of him. It’s amazing the way that actors can put a part of themselves into the characters they play, yet still transform themselves almost completely, sometimes to a point where the only thing the actor and character share is their face. Speaking to Jack after seeing him as Pennyworth made me a bigger fan of his as an actor, but I left liking the man himself too.
“Detective Comics #1000” Writers: Peter J. Tomasi, Tom King, Geoff Johns, Brian Michael Bendis, Christopher Priest, Denny O’Neil, Warren Ellis, Paul Dini, Kevin Smith & Scott Snyder Artists: Dough Mahnke, Tony S. Daniel, Joëlle Jones, Álvaro Martínez Bueno, Kelley Jones, Alex Maleev, Neal Adams, Steve Epting, Becky Cloonan, Dustin Nguyen, Jim Lee, Mikel Janín, Jason Fabok, Amanda Conner & Greg Capullo Inkers: Jaime Mendoza, Raül Fernandez, Derek Fridolfs, Scott Williams & Jonathan Glapion Color Artists: David Baron, Tomeu Morey, Brad Anderson, Paul Mounts, Michelle Madsen, Dave Stewart, Elizabeth Breitweiser, Jordie Bellaire, John Kalisz, Alex Sinclair & FCO Plascencia Letterers: Rob Leigh, Clayton Cowles, Sal Cipriano, Josh Reed, Willie Schubert, Andworld Design, Simon Bowland, Steve Wands, Todd Klein & Tom Napolitano Review by Steve J. RayBatman’s Longest CaseWhen DC revealed the incredible talents that would be contributing to Detective Comics #1000, I was understanda…
DC Comics’ imprint for younger readers, Zoom, has produced some beautiful books recently, each one accompanied by its own trailer. Today the comics giant revealed the latest video, for their Dear Justice League graphic novel. Check out the press release: TRAILER REVEAL! GET A FIRST LOOK AT ‘DEAR JUSTICE LEAGUE’ BY MICHAEL NORTHROP AND GUSTAVO DUARTENew Middle Grade Original Graphic Novel from DC ZoomHits Stores Everywhere Books are Sold on August 6, 2019Available to Pre-Order Now DC revealed today a new book trailer and preview artwork for DC Zoom’s forthcoming middle grade graphic novel, DEAR JUSTICE LEAGUE, by New York Times bestselling author Michael Northrop (TombQuest) with art by Gustavo Duarte. In DEAR JUSTICE LEAGUE, I wanted to explore who these DC Super Heroes are behind the masks and answer the kinds of questions kids would have for these larger than life figures,” explained Northrop. “On a personal note, comics helped me become a better reader, a better …
"Batman Universe #4"
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis Artist: Nick Derington Color Artist: Dave Stewart Letterers: Josh Reed and Tom NapolitanoReview by Steve J. Ray Batman Universe #4 feels like the ultimate tribute to Bat-Lash, Jonah Hex, and all the other wonderful DC Comics western characters, from back in the day. It’s also the Back To The Future tribute I never knew I needed. I love this silly, fun, guest star-packed, universe hopping, time-jumping craziness sooooo much. From Faberge eggs to fantastic fashion choices, this issue delivers. Both Hal Jordan and Bruce Wayne look great in clothes from the old west… in fact, this could be one of the coolest Batman looks ever! Nick Derington and Dave Stewart must have had a great time designing and coloring those threads. There are no lantern or bat symbols to be seen anywhere, but you just know that we’re looking at Hal Jordan and Batman.