Interview with Milo Ventimiglia from "Gotham" on FOX - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Erin Richards and Milo Ventimiglia

Interview with Milo Ventimiglia of "Gotham" on FOX 4/8/15

It was awesome to speak with Milo. I really loved him on "Heroes". Heck, he made that show. He was also really good on "Chosen."  He couldn't have been nicer on the phone. I look forward to seeing him on "Gotham," even though he's playing a villain.

Final Transcript
FBC PUBLICITY: The Gotham Conference Call
April 8, 2015/9:30 a.m. PDT

Joanna Wolff
Milo Ventimiglia


Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to the Gotham Conference Call with Milo Ventimiglia. (Operator instructions.) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

Iíll now turn the conference over to Joanna Wolff for opening remarks. Please go ahead.

Joanna: Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining the Gotham Conference Call with Milo Ventimiglia, who begins his multi-episode arc on Gotham on April 13 at 8 p.m. on FOX. Now I will turn it over to Milo, who will begin taking questions.

Milo: Hey, guys. Howís it going?

Moderator: Okay, thank you. Weíll go first to Jamie Ruby with Go ahead, please.

Jamie: Hello. Thanks so much for talking to us today.

Milo: Yes. Definitely, Jamie.

Jamie: So, my first question is, obviously, the version of the Ogre that youíre playing is quite different from the comic book. Can you kind of talk a bit about what you did take as inspiration and kind of what you added yourself to create the character?

Milo: You know, of course, he is different than whatís in the DC universe. I took what was on the page, written by Bruno Hellerís team, and I pretty much went off of that. And my understanding of what they were looking for in a serial killer that was kind of a guy who was just looking for love, and as simple as it sounds, but as complex as it may be, and I just wentóeverything was off the page as was written, knowing that it wasnít a direct pull from the DC universe and the original Ogre. So, it was actually exciting and fun and simple, because they wrote a really, really complex, dark character that was a lot of fun to play.

Jamie: And how did you start working on the show? How did you come to this part?

Milo: I got a phone call. I got a phone call from my agent saying that they wanted me, and I said great. Iím a huge fan of Bruno Heller, his work, and Iím longtime friends of Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue, and Iíve been watching the show. And it was just one of those things where I had those connections, and then I went, ďIím free at the moment. So this sounds like a lot of fun.Ē

Jamie: Okay, great. Thank you so much. I canít wait to see it.

Milo: You got it, Jamie. Definitely, thank you.

Moderator: Thank you. And next we have Andy Behbakht with Go ahead, please.

Andy: Hi, Milo. How are you doing today?

Milo: Iím very well, Andy. How about yourself?

Andy: Iím doing pretty well. Iím pretty excited about this. Just based on descriptions and information about the villain youíre playing on the show, is anything going to be shaking up the world for some of the main characters? And if so, what ways can you tease some of those shake-ups?

Milo: So, Jason Lennon, a.k.a. the Ogre, is a serial killer. He is, like I said, a guy whoís looking for love, but the love that heís looking for is unconditional. And I think, as nice as that sounds and romantic as that sounds, his expectations are probably a lot more fierce and a lot past the line of what usual love is. So, he getsóI think from the setup that you guys might have seen from the featurette, he targets women for love and he also targets loved ones of cops that will investigate him. So itís only natural that heís going to run into a guy like Jim Gordon, who is the hero cop of Gotham. So yes, itís two strong forcesóone for good, one for darkógoing up against each other.

Andy: And just as a follow-up, having seen you on Heroes and having seen you in the geek roles and so on, how big are you into the DC universe as a fan yourself? Are you a huge Batman fan for several years, or howówhat is your interaction with the geek world, basically?

Milo: I mean, I was raised on comic books. Every Wednesday my father would take me to a comic book shop in Orange County, California, Freedonia Funnies, and so I was raised on it. Batman, funny enough, was always my favorite. I loved the fact that he wasnít an alien from another planet or injected with some kind of super-serum. I loved the fact that he was a man like anyone else, and he used his resources and his intellect and his body beyond what those other people would stop at.

And he did it for a bit of vengeance, but alsoóor vigilantism, but also, he did it for the people he saw were caught up in a horrible society, a crime-filled society. So, Iíd always been a Batman fan, Iíd always been a DC fan, I grew up with Superman. I grew up on comic books, so there was everything in there. There was DC, there was Marvel, there was everything, man. I mean, and even the offshoot books of other, smaller press.

Andy: I canít wait to see your episode and hopefully more episodes, maybe, in Season 2.

Milo: Definitely. Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you. Our next question is from Collin MacGregor with

Collin: Hi. Thank you so much for speaking with us.

Milo: Yes, definitely.

Collin: I was wondering, with DCís, and specifically Batmanís, colorful cast of villains, how do you think Ogre is going to be able to stand out among, like, the Joker, and Scarecrow, and Penguin?

Milo: I mean, look. Those, you know, Joker and Scarecrow and Penguin and Riddler, I mean, theyíre all staples. The Ogre, I think, you kind of have to just look at what the show is, and itís a different version, a pre-story of a story that we already know, of characters that we already know. So if youíre adding somebody new, hopefullyóI think the writers have accomplished this, but hopefully the character is interesting enough, and seeing my silly mug up on the screen is going to be fun for audiences to say, ďOh wow, this guy is bad. Heís not the usual that we know.Ē But, at the same time, what the writers had created, and what I was able to do with the creative team on set, people, hopefully fans will enjoy it and say, ďWow, the Ogre is just as bad as the Penguin, or Scarecrow, or Riddler. Or anybody.Ē

Collin: Awesome. And with all those characters, is there anyone in the future you would love to kind of team up with or play with again, like work, team up with Penguin or something?

Milo: I mean, for selfish reasons of liking the actors, I think itíd be fun to team up with Robin, who plays Cobblepot, or Cory, whoís playing the Riddler, whoís beginning to go dark. Just because thereís a lot of fun and good guys. But, I mean, I kind of wait until the pages come in, the scripts come in, and just go, ďOh, okay. This is the fun Iím going to be having, this is who Iím going to be having the fun with.Ē

Collin: Awesome. Well, I honestly canít wait to see it.

Milo: Thanks, bud.

Moderator: Thank you. And next we have Suzanne Lanoue with The TV MegaSite. Please go ahead.

Suzanne: Good morning. Itís great to speak with you.

Milo: Thank you. How are you?

Suzanne: Good, thanks. I was a huge fan of Heroes, and you really made the show.

Milo: Thank you.

Suzanne: I was wondering. Weíve seen you play mostly good guys, heroes, and do you thinkówas there any particular challenge for you playing a villain for these episodes?

Milo: Is it scary if I say no, there wasnít a challenge playing a bad guy? No, that is the nice thing about just being an actor. You get thrown into a lot of different roles, so you get to embrace the good guy when youíre playing the good guy, and you get to embrace the bad guy when youíre playing the bad guy. This guy is pretty horrible.

Itís hopefully one of those things that my mother wonít ask me questions about my upbringing, when she and my father werenít around, when they watch it. But itís always fun to play the villain. Itís always fun to play the foil to the good guy, the dark to the light, and the Ogre was probably about as much fun as you could have with playing a villain.

Suzanne: And how do you think that fans might react to your playing a villain when theyíre not used to seeing you as one?

Milo: I mean, I think some fans of my work, I think theyíve seen me go pretty dark and be pretty bad, but I think theyíll hopefully enjoy this version of it, which is a little smoother, a lot more charming, but then flips on a dime and is evil, evil, evil.

Suzanne: All right. Well, thanks a lot. I look forward to it.

Milo: Definitely, thank you.

Moderator: Thank you. We have a question from Craig Byrne with Go ahead, please.

Craig: Hello. Itís very nice to talk to you. Iím curious what kind of interaction your character is going to have with Barbara Kean, because some photos were released in the trailer. It looks like theyíre kind of cozy.

Milo: They are cozy. A guy picks a girl up at a bar and you see what happens. But if you kind of look at who the Ogre is, and what his motives are; yes, heís looking for unconditional love with a woman, but also, when detectives are investigating him, he kills someone close to them. So, you have to ask yourself, heís possibly close to Jim Gordon, and what, without him, that would entail.

Craig: Great. Thank you very much.

Milo: Sure.

Moderator: Thank you. Weíll go next to Jamie Steinberg with Starry Constellation Magazine. Please go ahead.

Jamie: Hi, Milo. Itís such an honor to speak with you; thank you so much for your time.

Milo: Definitely, thank you.

Jamie: Iíve been a long-time fan, so Iím glad to get the chance to talk to you about this recent project. I was wondering. You play a lot of dark, dramatic characters. Is there something about these roles that continues to draw them to you?

Milo: I donít even know if theyíre drawn to me or if Iím drawn to them, or vice versa. I pretty much get the phone call and show up. I donít know, or maybe itís the dark hair, dark eyes, I really donít know. Or maybe itís because they think Iím teen vogue. I might have said at one point that I was dark and moody. Who knows?

I mean, luckily, though, good opportunities like this keep coming my way. Thankfully there are great writer-producers like Bruno Heller that take a chance on a guy and say, ďLook, we think you can pull this off, and you can pull this off better than anybody else can.Ē So, for me, Iím just honored that people choose me to work with them and want to bring a character to life. So, when I get a juicy one like this, itís always a lot more exciting.

Jamie: Youíre a part of social media. Are you looking forward to the instant fan feedback youíll receive when the episodes premiere?

Milo: You know, itís funny. When Iím on set, I do it for the crew, I do it for the cast that Iím with, and then you just kind of hand it off to the fans. And some people are going to love what you do, some people are going to pick apart what you do. But, at the end of the day, itís like, I feel really good about the work, and I had a lot of fun. I mean, this cast and crew of Gotham is just, theyíre the best. Thereís a lot of laughter and a lot of fun had. And I think, looking on Twitter, or something like that, and seeing the fansí immediate reaction, of even just the featurette, itís all pretty positive so far. So, I think people are going to enjoy seeing what we put together.

Jamie: Wonderful. Thank you again, so much.

Milo: Definitely.

Moderator: Thank you, and weíll go next to Monique Jackson with Go ahead, please.

Monique: Hi, Milo. Thanks so much for taking the time out to speak with us.

Milo: Definitely, Monique.

Monique: My question is: what drew youóI mean, do you prefer playing the villain as opposed to the good guy? Which one is more enjoyable for you to play?

Milo: You know, good roles are good roles. It doesnít matter if theyíre the bad guy, if theyíre the good guy, if theyíre the sideline guy, theyíre anything. Itís just, good roles are good roles, and I think, right when Ióprobably, after I come out of playing the bad guy, sometimes youíre like, ďOh, maybe I want to be a bit of a golden heart on the next one,Ē and then you play the good guy and youíre like, ďOh, maybe I want to go dark for the next one,Ē but, you just kind of have to, or I have to, just take the roles that come at me, and embrace what it is, and put my heart into it and paint my heart with a lot of gold or a lot of shadow. So, for me, I justóI play them as they come. And I enjoy the h*** out of all of them. I really, really do.

[Line Temporarily Dropped]

Moderator: Right now we do have Chrissy Piccolo with Blogcritics Magazine.

Milo: Okay.

Chrissy: Hi, Milo. Iím a huge fan of yours, so Ė

Milo: Hello, Chrissy. Thank you very much.

Chrissy: Sure. Now, this version of the Ogre is suave-seducer-serial killer. How do you prepare for this type of character in trying to get into the mind of a killer?

Milo: Is it wrong that I said I was just being myself? Honestly, it was likeóthis guy, heís relaxed, heís sincere, he is much darker than me as a man, but I was just trying to be myself, because he is a man. Heís affected by things that happened to him when he was younger, and heís approaching his life the way that he knows how, and heís operating off of wants that he has, which may not be very good to the majority of people, but to him, itís what his life is. So for me, I think I was just trying to be a human being onscreen and understand what this guy went through to make him who he was.

Chrissy: So, in other words, trying to give background to the character and playing off of that as opposed toójust, anyway, making it more in-depth as far as being a serial killer.

Milo: Iíll tell you what I didnít want to be was a villain twisting his mustache while thereís a dame tied up on a train track. Thatís what I didnít want to be. What I basically wanted to do, I think, I was lucky because I had this amazing material, these great words and these good scripts. I was able to just follow that, and follow my instincts, and follow my want to just be an honest person. Honest with what he wants, like I said, even though what he wants is horrible and kind of odd, and how he gets it, what measures he goes to. Heís a sociopath.

Chrissy: Right. Well, what was the toughest scene for you to do?

Milo: Gosh. I mean, there were a lot of scenes, a lot of tough scenes, but I think the first one is always the hardest one, just because youíre on a set, youíve got a bunch of new people, Iím always trying to learn everybodyís name, and do my job. The first scene that I shot, it was not even as the character. It was the character within the character within the character. So, I think that might have been the hardest one. But it was just because youíre the new kid at school. Youíre the new kid at school, and you just want to go in there and do good work and not get noticed in a bad way, so the first scene is always just the hardest scene. Everything after that you settle in, youíre relaxed, youíre amongst friends, and youíre among the people that want you to do good work. You want them to do good work. So then you just do good work together.

Chrissy: Great. Well, Iím really looking forward to the episodes, and thank you so much for your time.

Milo: Of course, thank you.

Moderator: Thank you. And weíll go back now to Monique Jackson, if youíd like to re-ask your second question.

Milo: Monique, Iím so sorry. Iím so sorry.

Monique: No problem, no problem. It happens.

Milo: I was getting another phone call on my phone and I tried to end it, but I ended the wrong one, to be honest. Iím such a dork.

Monique: No problem. My question was, because I actually missedóI wrote everything down: playing such an evil serial killer, the Ogre, is he likable at all? Is there any trace that you actually like about playing the character?

Milo: Yesó

Monique: Him as a person, I mean. Is there anything besides being a serial killer thatís actually likable?

Milo: I think thereís a lot to be liked about the guy. Heís looking for love, I think, which is something we can all connect with in one way or another. Weíre looking to be accepted. And heís a guy who is looking for that. Heís charming without being arrogant, but there is arrogance in his way of being, because he canít see outside of himself, and what he imposes on women that ultimately lead to him killing them.

So, I think there is something that is true in his search, but his means of doing it are completely wrong. And what heís asking for, to the degree that heís asking for, is just, itís skewed, itís off, itís not right, itís not kind, itís not good. But his kind of way of being and talking to a girlóI didnít think, as I was reading the scripts, and as I was playing it, it wasnít an act to get the girl so he can just kill the girl. He doesnít want to kill the girl. But he eventually will, because, well, theyíre not quite who he thinks they are. Heís already pushed them past the point where heíd probably be in trouble. So, why not just discard this woman and find another one? So, I think that there are small redeeming qualities about him, but the majority of who he is shadows any other good thatís possibly in there.

Monique: All right. Well, thank you so much for answering my question.

Milo: Definitely, Monique. Have a good one.

Monique: You too.

Moderator:. Thank you. Then, our final question will come from Kate OíHare with Patheos. Go ahead, please.

Kate: Hey, Milo.

Milo: Hi, Kate OíHare.

Kate: How are you?

Milo: Iím good, darling. How are you?

Kate: Not bad. Youíre being very careful in describing this guy to avoid words like Ďevilí and stuff. Heís just a guy looking for love, heís just slaughtering people on the way. So, does that come into your thought process when you get someone who tells you this guy is just looking for love, and his way of doing that is killing women?

Milo: Well, I think killing women is the byproduct of things not working out, where a normal human being could just break up with the girl and say, ďListen, this isnít working out. I think youíre lovely; youíre going to find the right guy, youíre going to be great for him. Itís me, itís not you.Ē Jason Lennon justóI think he canít handle the idea that this person, this woman that things didnít work out with, exists. And I think he also knows in his demented mind that he goes too far with these women, and what heís asking of them, even though inóI guess itís semantics in saying that heís just a guy looking for love. Heís really looking for the most heinous of partners possible.

But he, I mean, heís just off. Heís just off, but I didnít want to paint the guy as not having any kind of sense of humanity inside of him just because thatís, I guess, me as an actor. I had to humanize the guy in some way. But heís just mentally off in how he views the world, and I think, so selfish. So, so selfish that he believes that he can do whatever he wants to whoever he wants because of his charm or his nice Gucci suits or money. But ultimately, I mean, itís power. Itís wielding a power.

I think, when I was thinking about this role and I was kind of researching and looking at other serial killers, like Ted Bundy was someone who kind of stuck with me, and how he approached people in life, and women, and what other people had crossed his path that he didnít kill said about him; that he was charming. You could talk to him, and he was engaging, and that was the way to pull you in. But Ted Bundy, he was all about possession, having possessions.

And in this unconditional love that Jason Lennon is looking for, I think he wants to possess. Not like say a spell and be a witch, but he wants to actually own every thought and part of a person, of a woman, that he can. So that they are completely entrusted and enslaved, and he feels unconditionally loved, but itís not that because thereís zero partnership in the way that heó

Kate: Yes. But weíre told by Fifty Shades of Grey that thatís just fine.

Milo: Yes. I guess, I donít know. For some people, sure. For some people, sure.

Moderator: That does conclude our Q&A session. Do you have any closing remarks?

Joanna: Thank you, everyone, we really appreciate you joining the call. And Milo, thank you for your time.

Milo: Definitely. Thank you, everyone. I appreciate it. Good talking to all of you.

Moderator: Okay, thank you then. Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude our conference for today. Thank you for your participation and choosing AT&T Executive TeleConference. You may now disconnect.

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